If you read my last post then you know that I volunteered our families to be on the show Super Nanny. Before I go on, let me just say that I recognize that I am probably crazy for wanting to do this. I realize that I am like Lucille Ball on I love Lucy. Always cooking up harebrained schemes and getting myself into cartooninshly ridiculous situations. All I am ever really after is a little entertainment.
So back to Super Nanny, the casting director and one of the producers were interested in featuring Kristen's and my family for an episode because we have an interesting situation with the two households right next door. The kids have to deal with four different parents and two sets of house rules. The six of them are kind of being raised like siblings which brings a very unique set of advantages and problems. Like any family we have lots of issues we could use help with and I think we are a good mix of relate-able and entertaining problems. I have been corresponding with the producers for a couple of weeks and they decided to come film us to see if they could catch anything on film. In addition they have asked us to get home video of any behaviors that we would like to address. We have not been officially selected for the show, but we are very far along in the process. ABC flew two people out to get footage of us so at this point I would be surprised if they didn't go ahead with it. They are very hesitant to tell you that you will be on for sure because there is always the chance that when they tape the kids behave perfectly, or the parents don't pass a background check or a number of other things that are highly unlikely.
They came on Thursday afternoon and the plan was to film the after school routine and then do something that we would like to do on a regular basis but are prevented from doing because of our children's behavior. Kristen took all four of her kids to the grocery store by herself with a camera woman in tow and then we all met up for dinner at a restaurant. The Gartner's have literally never eaten out as a family. After dinner we were going to come back to the houses and film the bedtime routine. They told us to plan on them being with us until 9 or 10 pm.
Let me just cut to the chase: dinner went so awesomely horrible that before the food even got served Kristen and Rob had to pack up and leave the restaurant. Her kids were so crazy and all over the place that we couldn't even stay long enough to eat.
The best part was the two women from the show. They were so clearly horrified and just wanted to get away from us. Candra and Shannon are their names and they are ultra professional show-biz women. They are young (in their twenties) and gorgeous L.A. gals with graduate degrees and high paced careers. They travel all over the country and work 90 hour work weeks climbing the corporate ladder. They are both single with no children and are terrified of getting sick. Every time one of the kids sneezed or coughed you could see the two women recoil in fear. I don't blame them. These kids are a walking bio-hazard.
Here's a little breakdown of the dinner mayhem:
Emma threatened to puke because she wanted to get her way on something. Ella was at the tail end of a cold and had been on a field trip to a farm that day where she had contacted farm animals which triggered an allergic reaction so she was coughing and hacking so hard across the dinner table that the entire restaurant was staring. Between coughing fits she would get up and just wander around. Christopher cried and/or screamed literally the entire time. This is not an exaggeration. He hadn't had a nap that day and he absolutely would not shut up. He has some developmental delays and can't talk so he generally uses screaming as a means of communication. The camera seemed to make him turn the volume to eleven. After a while my husband couldn't take it anymore and hauled Christopher out to the parking lot even though its not his kid. Abe and Clark each took turns choking on pieces of tortilla chip and spilling drinks. I think in the 20 minutes we were there we spilled four full glasses of water and administered the Heimlich maneuver three times. The grand finale was when Emma made herself throw up. The camera was fixed on her and she vomited about a gallon of barf all over herself, all over her plate, and into a glass. I think I caught Shannon gagging a little. I know I gagged. I asked her if she got that shot on tape. She looked at me and said in disgust "Unfortunately, I got the whole thing"
The puking was the money shot. Especially in light of the fact that Emma wasn't even sick and had previously threatened to throw up if she didn't get her way. This is SuperNanny gold right? Well it will be if the producers can stick it out with us. We may have been too much. After Kristen and her family left the restaurant it felt (and looked) like a tornado had just passed through. Candra and Shannon told me that since there were a lot of sick kids they would rather come back when everything is normal. Little do they know that this is normal. They are coming back on Wednesday and I guarantee that someone will have a hacking cough and someone will puke. The problem is, it just might be Candra or Shannon.
There are so many things I could write about in regard to offering up our child rearing problems to a national audience. It is nerve wracking to scrutinize every word that comes out of my mouth. Am I being too lenient? Am I being too strict? My kids were pretty well behaved for the camera which is both a relief and a disappointment. I never thought I would be hoping that my child would throw a temper tantrum. Luckily Kristen's kids came through for us in the tantrum department. That twenty minute dinner had enough reality show material for an entire season and I didn't even see how the grocery store went. Kristen said her kids were "out of control", so that's good. Kristen and Rob's tolerance for naughtiness is higher than anyone I have ever known so it must have been bad.
I'll keep you updated on what happens. At this point I would be totally fine with it if we got rejected or accepted. I have yet to watch an episode of Super Nanny besides a few snippets here and there. I was thinking of going online to see what they are like but then I figured I would probably just freak myself out and decided against it.