(From Rachel Burstein, TODAY Producer)
Much to the annoyance of my friends, family, in-laws, and in particular, my mother, I have turned down every opportunity to have my 18-month-old daughter on the Today Show. And there have been plenty. I should know, it's my job to recruit people.
As a producer here who also works in our booking department, I am constantly looking for real people to be in our segments -- particularly the ones that need babies. The mass e-mails that I blast to everyone I know -- with a tagline asking that they forward the e-mail to everyone they know -- have made me somewhat well-known in certain New York circles (and in a few Chicago, Washington, Palo Alto, and Sleepy Hollow, Illinois, circles). Six degrees of separation for me in Manhattan is measured by whether someone has received one of my e-mails: "The Today Show seeks...." I recently was at a friend's daughter's first birthday party, and when I introduced myself to her great aunt, she said that her next-door neighbor was the woman I used for a segment about vegetarian kids. (In fact, as I type these words, a producer has asked me to help her find families who let their kids watch TV and those who don't!)
I've recruited my playgroup twice (to work or not to work), my parents' neighbors (too much salt in your diet?), even my Dad's secretary (Christmas decorations), to be in our spots. Yet, every time a parenting issue comes up, I tell all my friends that they should definitely come on the show, but that I "can't really do it because the show won't let me."
In truth, it's all been a lie.
While I of course think my daughter is the most gorgeous creature on the planet, I'm chicken.
I could be on the show.
I could have brought my daughter on to demonstrate how to exercise with your child to lose your baby weight (Spandex on live television? I think not! Sorry Lorie!). I could have held her in my lap while I talked about whether I'm conflicted about being a working mother (In front of my bosses? Never! Sorry Kim!). And I could have gazed at her lovingly while debating the merits of breastfeeding. (Not a chance... It's all you, Karlee!)
So when someone at the show put out an e-mail asking for toddlers to try out toys, I reflexively hit the delete button. But then I spent an evening researching a possible segment about people who have lost their own parents and are dealing with being new parents themselves. They all wished they knew more about their childhood and were making a point of painstakingly documenting their children's lives.
On the way home, I thought about how cool it would be to have a snippet of my daughter's life chronicled on TV. I thought about how thrilled my family and friends (and their families and friends) would be to see my Maya on television. And the clincher: I thought about how perfect this would be for my mother and mother-in-law just in time for Mother's Day.
So on Tuesday, my daughter was among the tots throwing sand and playing with balls on the Plaza. She was the one eating green paint. Chicken that I am, it was a segment that only required kids. Oh well. Sorry Mom! But Happy Mother's Day anyway. WATCH VIDEO