The Seven-Year-Old Silver Screen Star.

Noah turned seven today.

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And it’s been a long, arduous, lifetime of work for him to achieve his (not-so-much) dream of being a television star, which also happened this week.

All because being a blogger has weird side effects. Such as your images being super searchable, and sometimes your most random image can be the very one that a Supervising Post Producer of an NBC television show is looking for.

Such is the case with this image, which I posted here in 2012.

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I got an email months ago, asking me if NBC could purchase the rights to this Noah to use on the show Better Late Than Never. She explained the idea of the show and the context in which the image would be used, and it seemed fairly harmless to me – even if Noah would probably not be allowed to watch the entire episode (because it’s a family tradition to be a Child Star in things too indecent for children to watch – I was.)

I said sure, and what transpired were many emails, contract signatures, legalese, and sending back and forth of files.

The contract I signed stated clearly that NBC had the right to use this photo in any way they wanted – in this universe (not just this earth) – in perpetuity (or in the after-life) – and in so doing, they could speak of it any way they wanted, including but not limited to defamation, exploitation, and slander.

Seemed reasonable. Especially since they also asked for a picture of me – I’m sure to give visualization to the mother they planned to shame.

I didn’t mention this process to anyone but Chris for quite some time because I know how these types of things work. They take months to finalize, and then the whole thing gets scrapped by the Supervising Post Producer’s Producer who says something along the lines of “I think we need something a bit more airy, teal-minded, and incandescent.”, and then the Supervising Post Producer comes back to you and says “Hey I’m sorry we don’t need your image after all.”

But eventually, I received a check postmarked from Hollywood. And as I was going through the mail that day, I murmured offhandedly while never taking my eyes off the stack of envelopes, “Oh hey Noah, a picture of you is going to be on a television show.”

And because The Year of Six has held record-setting highs of contrariness, HE WAS NOT AMUSED.

“WHAT?!?!? I DON’T WANT TO BE ON TV!!! GET THE PICTURE BACK NOW!!!”

“Sorry. Can’t. Got the check for it right here.”

“NOOOOOO!!! I WILL NOT BE ON TV I WON’T I WON’T!”

“Actually, you will. When you’re 18 you can decide on whether you’ll be on TV or not. But for now, sorry kid.”

“I AM SO SO SO MAD AT YOU!!!!”

He stomped off in an overworked, fake rage.

That night, he told Chris about my sins. And got even more lack of sympathy.

For the next week, Noah continued to randomly remember my trespasses and would offer me a bit of sulky rage just to remind me how supremely awful I am at this whole motherhood thing.

I finally got around to heading to the bank to deposit the check. Just because I’m extra cruel, I reminded him about it as I drove into the bank parking lot. I received in return a Hulk-Like howl from the back seat. In fact, he was acting eerily like the photo that was sold…irony is lost on him.

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Then I had an epiphany.

“You know what? Any time I sell a photo of you kids, it seems like I should pay you a commission. Don’t you think?”

There was a chorus of “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” from all members of the backseat.

“How much do you think I should pay you?”

Ali: “Five dollars?”

Noah: “I was thinking ten dollars.”

Me: “Well, I was thinking a 10% commission is a industry-standard rate. And since I charged them $150 for the photo, that would be fifteen dollars. How’s that?”

“I love you Mommy I love you Mommy I love you Mommy!!!”

“Hold on though. There’s fine print in this agreement. If I pay you commission on photo sales, you have to agree to a.) never grouch about it again, b.) not complain if I tell anyone about it, and c.) not get embarrassed when it airs.”

“Okay!! You can tell TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE!!! I agree!!!”

In case you wanted to know how much a severe bout of contrariness costs to reverse, it’s fifteen big ones.

Even better, I didn’t have to fork over a single cent of cash. He wanted $5 worth of diamonds on an iPad game (usually deemed an absolute waste of money but hey – he’s a celebrity now so if he wants intangible diamonds, he can afford intangible diamonds) and he used the other $10 to buy back his Kidizoom watch from me (which he had previously pawned because he JUST HAD to have a GX Pokemon card which cost $5 and he asked me “Look around – isn’t there anything in my room I could sell you for $5??” And I was all like “Uh, no.” and he said “How about my watch? Would you take that??”, and I was so sick of him having a tiny screen on his wrist that he was always staring at that I was all like “DEAL, baby. But to buy it back you have to pay me $10.” – because I’m a Loan Shark Mother and I think it’s important to learn the pain of predatory lenders at an early age.)

For the rest of the day, he begged, “Mommy can you put me on TV more? Can I be on TV all the time? What else can you put me on TV with??”, and that night as I put him to bed, he gushed my praises again. “You’re the best, Mommy. AND IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF DARN MONEY!!!”

The world kept turning, we got busy with trips and Christmas and surgery, and we all kinda forgot about his worldwide debut.

The Producer had said it would probably air in mid-December, but mid-December has been a Dark Time for me, so it came as a total surprise when I got a text from my neighbor last night…

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Turns out the episode aired last week.

…And Noah was such an integral mega-star of the show that no one even noticed him (or told us about it, anyway) for an entire week.

I pulled the show up online and, after Noah and Ali gasped at seeing Terry Bradshaw jump around naked and pixellated in the preview (Ali: “surely he’s wearing underwear!!”), I quickly found Noah’s tenth-of-a-second of fame around the 8 minute mark of the show and quickly cut it off after it was over.

Noah laughed. Then smiled sheepishly. For just a second.

Then erased his smile, got a world-weary look on his face and said dejectedly, totally forgetting our contract (because after all, those diamonds were long spent by now),

“I’m not happy that I’m famous.”

Which made me pretty happy. Because after all, it takes most actors decades to realize that very thing.

Happy Birthday, kid. Keep that solid, contrary, irritable head on your shoulders and you’ll do all right.

Editor’s note: If you’re astute enough to notice the difference in the photo and the one on the television screenshot, you also might find it hilarious that the photo they used in the show is not the one they asked for, nor the one I sent them, nor the one I signed away in perpetuity for all galaxies. Apparently the Supervising Post Producer’s Producer wanted one that was a little less screamy. And I guess that means my contract is invalid.

What’s That Sound, The Dozenth Volume.

Noah-and-his-Drinking-GlassesThese are Noah’s new “drinking glasses.” Hopefully this isn’t his idea of preparing for college.

Ali and Noah were discussing the pros and cons of their various babysitters with my friend Kelly. Noah explained that they have a system of points. Ali insisted the point system is based on a ten point scale, but Noah was quick to explain that more COULD be earned.

“Sarah is my favorite babysitter. And she gets 1000 out of 1000 babysitter points because she introduced me to my favorite cake, Red Velvet Cake, the time when she took us to Butt Cakes.”

Kelly looked at me.

I burst out laughing. And remembered where, exactly, Sarah had taught Noah about Red Velvet.

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Obviously, Nothing Bundt Cakes is now ONLY referred to as Butt Cakes in our house.


“If cigarettes are so bad for you, why are they allowed to sell them?”

I shrugged. “Well, because we live in a free country.”

I launched into a lesson about Liberty and Freedom and America and contrasted it with tyranny. I was pretty sure that Noah had tuned me out for my lecture, for he asked no further questions, which is, in fact, a miracle.

Until the next night, when we were on our way to dinner with Chris, and Chris was grumbling about how late the Alabama football game was going to be the next night.

Noah shrugged his shoulders, sighed, and said, “Well, it’s a free country.”


An unnamed friend’s dog was being quite loud and barky.

Noah rolled his eyes and said “I bet he didn’t cost hardly any money.”.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because he’s so ANNOYING!”


“Wrecking a car is better than killing a cat, right?”

…Not sure what he’s planning, but I’m glad he’s going ahead and wrestling with these issues of morality before he finds himself in the front seat of the car.


Me: “Noah! How are you? Are you loving life?”
Noah: “What do you mean…?”
Me: “Are. You. Loving. Life?”
Noah: “Well I haven’t been alive for that long, so…”

He needs more time with life to consider their relationship.


Noah and I were cuddling on the front porch swing, enjoying a quiet moment in a beautiful day.

Noah: “What are you doing?”
Me: “Just looking at your gorgeous eyes.”
Noah: “Are they pink?”
Me: “Nope. Just beautiful blue.”
(Noah stares into my eyes, rather lovingly…)
Me: “What color are they?”
Noah: “Greenish Brown. Like a ……. dirty lake.”

I gave him a hard time about his choice of metaphor all day, every now and then popping in a random comment, such as…

“So do you like dirty lakes?”

That one put him over the edge.

“No…..! Mom – it’s just a COLOR!!”

So mannish of him. To see no negative association in the facts of the matter. Because in reality my eyes are rather the color of a dirty lake.

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I was in bed one day with especially bad lady issues. Noah came to check on me.

“What’s wrong, Mom?”

“My tummy hurts. “

“Why?”

“Long story.”

He crawled up in bed next to me and got comfortable, propping up on his elbow and looking at me. “Tell me.”

“Uh, not today.”

“Did a watermelon fall on it?”

“Nope…”

“Did the house fall on it?”

“No.”

He finally gave up on understanding my ailments and left the room.

Hours later, that night, he came and found me with a look of eureka on his face.

“You should try to poop, Mom!”

“Um….why?”

He rolled his eyes. “Because your tummy is hurting!”

Thank goodness I have him to find all my solutions for me.


Noah was reading out loud “to me” one night, but I wasn’t paying much attention.

Until he said, “Maury Sharstmus!”

I looked up.

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And now I want to write a children’s book all about Maury Sharstmus, the poor gentleman whose name always gets mispronounced as a holiday.

And also I think I’ll be telling a lot of people Maury Sharstmus this year. No Happy Holidays from me!

On Finding Swagger.

I cannot communicate in barber language.

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to style Noah’s hair differently for pretty much his whole life. His hair refuses to do anything except exactly what it does. Which is to hang. In a straight line. No part. No body. No nothing. I’ve felt as if he was years too old for his haircut for quite a while now.

IMG_1546I’ve begged the barber to “give” him a part, or cut it closer, or anything. So the barber would cut his hair as if it’s going to part, and he’d part it for me while it was wet, and Noah will look like the perfect 1950’s gentleman. But then as soon as it dries, it hangs straight again – except with newly unimproved crookedly cut bangs.

I’ve fought with his hair. I’ve bargained with his hair. I’ve tried everything.

Finally I decided to browse the internet until I found a totally new ‘do. Something leaving no amount of bangs to fall straight. I pulled up the Google. And the Pinterest. And made the mistake of browsing with Noah.

Naturally, he liked none of them. None were good enough for him.

After my eyes blurred together from all the kid pictures, I found one that I liked. I begged him to like it.

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“It’s too messy.”

“Okay well how about this cut but fixed less messy.”

“Okay we can try it. BUT NO MOHAWKS.”

I wasn’t sure why this qualification had to be made, but whatev. No Mohawks it is.

I really didn’t want to pull up Pinterest for our male barber who still doesn’t take credit cards and has an old fashioned glass bottle coca-cola machine in his shop. He even has a shoe stand with what seems to be a full-time shoe shiner (who is usually taking a nap when we’re in there.) These people do not know about Pinterest. And I didn’t want to be laughed at.

But I took Noah in anyway, rather pensively. And the stars shone upon me. There was a woman working that morning that I’d never seen before, and we were assigned to her. Surely she’d heard of the internet.

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I told her it was time to try something completely different. I pulled up the picture and told her “this – but less messy. And a little tighter on the sides.”

She worked on him for a good 45 minutes – this was significantly longer than a usual snappy trim. I listened nearby as they discussed the weather and school and summer vacation and what was on the news. It was perfectly perfect.

Finally, she finished.

I’ve never told a barber or a hair person of any variety that I didn’t like a cut, so even though I wasn’t feeling like it was exactly what I was after, I took the blame upon myself instead (maybe Noah doesn’t have the right kind of hair) and thanked her profusely.

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We took an after picture in the blaring sunlight, then went to Target to finish our errands. I thought that maybe the haircut just needed a little help to be what I had envisioned.

Noah was indifferent, as he has always been about his hair. But I explained my plan to him anyway.

“I’m going to buy you some gel. I think we can make your hair do the right thing with it.”

“I don’t want gel!”

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t know what gel is.”

“Well that’s a terrible reason not to want it.”

“Does it look like Jell-o?”

“Definitely not.”

“Okay well we can try it.”

At Target…

“OOOOH here’s some ‘Swagger Gel.’ Do you want some swagger?”

“I don’t even know what Swagger is.”

“Well it’s time you learned.”

Clearly my kid needs to study up on vocabulary in first grade.

We decided on Aussie Hair Gel (because it was half the price of the Old Spice Swagger Gel – which Chris later said was no reason not to buy our kid some swagger) and tried it out when we got home.

By the stolen looks in the mirror and the impish grins I caught when he thought I wasn’t looking, I knew he loved it.

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And so did I. It was exactly as I had hoped. Even thought it instantaneously aged him by at least three years.

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That night, after his bath, he asked for gel.

“Well, we’ll probably have to do it again in the morning, but I can put some in if you want.”

“Actually, I want to learn how…”

We stood in front of the mirror, me standing behind him, giving him lessons on how to properly gel his hair.

“See, run your fingers through it. Then pull the bangs straight out, then give them a little flip upwards.”

He grinned and giggled at his newly unearthed forehead, jumped around with excitement, and made my day.

The next day after church, he found me and said “I’m ready for a mohawk.”

“Really?!? I thought that was the one line you wouldn’t cross.”

He shrugged.

I gave him what he asked for. He disappeared into his room to change his outfit to match – or at least his idea of matching. Then he swaggered outside where Chris was washing the car, leaned up against Chris’ Mustang, and asked me to take his picture.

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Vocabulary: Achieved.

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