I flicked on the television and carefully lowered myself onto the sofa. It was a hot July, I was eight-months pregnant and my bump seemed to be expanding at an extraordinary rate.
I skimmed through the channels and noticed, ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ was on. “Perfect,” I thought to myself. The children on the show were always so beautiful and confident. They had learned new skills, like dancing and singing, and I wanted my own baby to grow up with the confidence I never had when I was a little girl.
I rubbed by round belly. “That will be you soon, Luna. And we’ll be walking down the catwalk together.” I knew, even before my baby was born, when I saw her image on the screen at my antenatal session, I knew deep down, like all mothers do that my baby was going to be beautiful.
So, I entered by un-born baby into her first contest: The UK’s Prince and Princess International Beauty Pageant’s 0-2 year-old category. I sent in a picture of my 20-week scan of Luna and to my astonishment, she was accepted. I was over the moon and couldn’t wait to walk my little girl down the run way in the September pageant. Even though her scan picture looked nothing like a baby, and more like an alien, I knew she’d be a natural beauty.
Come August and my beautiful baby was born at Cross House Hospital weighing a healthy 9.6lbs. Five-weeks before the pageant, when Luna was nearly six weeks old so my mum, Luna and I went shopping for essentials. “I need three different outfits: an outfit of choice, a beauty dress, and a, ‘what I want to be when I’m older,’ outfit,” I said to my mum, Yvonne, 55. “What about this?” my mum suggested, holding up a little pair of horse riding boots and some really cute brown trousers.
“A horse rider? Perfect,” I thought. I bent down to adjust Luna’s booties in her pram. “You wouldn’t mind being a horse rider when you’re older would you?” I said, kissing her on the forehead. I also bought a red mermaid costume with a matching head band and a beautiful white flowing dress. It was finally the day of Luna’s first competition and my stomach tightened in nervous knots.
At the event in Birmingham I looked around at the other contestants, a flicker of competitiveness coming over me. “Look mum, that girl’s mother is slapping make-up on her,” I said in shock. “She’s covered her in fake-tan and stuck false-lashes on her. She must only be about 4-years-old!” “Everyone’s different,” mum said. “Luna’s you’re little natural beauty. She doesn’t need any slap.”
The event started and Luna had three wardrobe changes, but slept through the last one. To my delight, she came 2nd in the Princess competition and despite the rapturous applause, she didn’t even stir. Mum and I were over the moon. Luna was awarded her own sash and a big silver crown, and when she finally woke up, she lapped up all the attention she was getting.
And in true diva fashion, she yawned, let out a drool, and dozed right back off to sleep again, leaving the local press hanging. Pageants can be stigmatised and most people seem to think we’re bad parents for entering our children into them. The truth is it’s enriching for our children, and a doctor has already told me that Luna is above average for interaction for her age.
But a lot of the young girls wear make-up, fake tan, fake nails and spend a lot of money on outfits and styling their hair, which I’m dead against. But at the end of the day it’s up to each individual how much they want to do it. After all the fun we had at the first pageant, I entered Luna into ‘UK Dreams Glasgow,’ 0-2 year-old category, for her second pageant.
She seemed to smile as I walked her down the run-way five- weeks later in Glasgow, Luna was only 11-weeks-old and she managed to nab her second podium finish, runner up, where she received another crown and yet another sash. The judges were in love with Luna and her polka dot dress and she loved all the attention. At 14-weeks old, I entered Luna into her third competition, it was double competition, called ‘Once upon a Christmas Sparkle.’
She won first princess in the 0-23 month’s category and 3rd princess in the 2-4 years categories. She left the competition with yet another crown and two more sashes. It was safe to say I was a proud mummy. Her silver crowns already have pride of place in my living room and all of her sashes are hung around the house. Luna even managed to raise £200 for a children charity.
I don’t think I’ll stop entering Luna into pageants anytime soon, but when she comes of age, she may decide to stop doing them altogether, which is fine by me as it’ll be her decision, but for now I think it would be nice to keep adding to her collection.
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