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Dance Mom Did It

Dance Moms

Have you seen this show? Abby Lee Miller spends the whole show screaming at small children, telling them and their “stage mom” Moms that they’ll never be good enough to be contenders, children cry, moms threaten to quit, and they all come back again next week.

One mom, Kelly Hyland, now says that Abby Lee Miller forced her daughter to see a psychiatrist.

Yep.  It was all Abby Lee.

I’ve seen this show a handful of times, and I can’t sit through a whole episode.  It hurts me to see these kids get screamed at and belittled, but it hurts me even more that the moms not only sit there and let them have it, they come back for more.

My oldest daughter was a competitive Irish Step Dancer.  There was a time when I sat in a parking lot, listening to a dance coach yell at the children while they danced.  We didn’t go back.  Did his school win a lot of awards?  Did a lot of his students go to the world championships in Ireland? Yes to both.  Did I want my kid coming home crying from dance class? I did not.


When I saw the article today about Kelly Hyland accusing Abby Lee Miller of causing her child to have panic attacks, and then further accuse the reality show “Dance Moms” of exploiting (Really? A reality show exploiting someone for ratings? Who knew?) her child by shoving a camera in her face during these anxiety episodes, I had to shake my head.

For sure this child lost a small piece of her sanity under the direction of Abby Lee Miller, but really? Kelly Hyland owns this one.  You’re her mom.  It was your job to say, “You know what? I don’t like the way you’re being treated, and it’s not worth whatever amount of money this TV show is paying us.  Let’s go.” She didn’t.

For the record, Hyland’s children are no longer on the show, but she did file a $5 million lawsuit in February against Abby Lee for her treatment of the kids.

Who holds her accountable for the treatment of her kids?

Jack the Salmon Slinger – or Children Whose Moms Should Be Smacked

As I was sitting enjoying a lovely dinner out recently, I was introduced to the most stealth of toddlers.  It wasn’t a formal introduction, where I got to look him in the eye and shake his hand, tell him how much I admire his work.  Our introduction was a sneaky one.  What is that slimy feeling on my foot?  What is that fishy smell in my daughter’s handbag?  What is that wet stuff in my hair?

baby flinger

And there he was.  His back was turned to us, but we recognized him immediately.  Jack the Salmon Slinger.  We have encountered his kind before.  Cereal Chucker.  Spaghetti Shooter.  Lima Bean Launcher.  They are the babies who express their dislike of certain foods by flinging them – or even more stealthily, dropping them – on the floor around them.

What irked me most about Jack the Salmon Slinger was not Jack himself.  I’ve had my own babies try this sneaky route out of eating foods they didn’t like.  The person that pissed me off most in this situation was the Slingers Mom.  Let’s call her Wino-na.

As Wino-na downed copious amounts of African white wine, she blindly took the food from her own plate I don’t think she enjoyed and broke it into tiny, toddler sized pieces, and without looking, she dumped them on the plate in front of Jack the Salmon Slinger.  Faster than Wino-na could pile up mounds of salmon, Jack was snagging them off of his plate with his left arm, and as if it was spring loaded, the arm would snap back, releasing the offending salmon, propelling it in various directions behind him.  Where I sat.

My daughter, who alternately rolled her eyes and sighed in disgust, while picking pieces of salmon out of her handbag and off of her sandals, said, “What are you supposed to do to stop that?”

That, my sweet daughter, is called parenting.

You don’t sit there, completely oblivious to the tiny human being sitting in the high chair next to you, while you drink more wine than the college of cardinals during Papal election.  You glance over at the little guy once in a while, see how he’s making out, be sure he hasn’t flipped himself backwards out of the high chair – which Jack tried to do a couple of times as the mountain of salmon grew before him.

baby food flinger

Where was Jack’s dad, you might ask.  Well, poor dad was at the other end of the table, alternately running up to the beautiful Boma buffet and putting in his own best effort at keeping Jack the Salmon Slinger’s sister, Suzy the Chicken Finger Flinger, from making her own food throwing tornado.

Would it kill you to take a glance in the direction of your child?  Make some eye contact?  Put the wine down for a minute and chat with the little guy, maybe slipping in a bite sized piece of salmon into his mouth while he’s laughing at you entertaining him?

I hear people ask often what’s wrong with kids today.  There’s nothing wrong with kids.  Ask what’s wrong with their parents.  We’re so busy connecting with the global community anymore that we sometimes forget to slow down and connect with our own dining room table.

Where Jack probably does Sling Salmon.  But maybe if Wino-na glanced in his way once in a while, she’d know what those of us sitting near him knew in the first five minutes.

The boy just doesn’t like salmon.