I had my first experience where I actually felt like the Department Store Santa Clause.
In taping Eebee's, we try to get footage of real babies doing the same thing that Eebee is doing. On Wednesday, I was scheduled to be the on-camera play partner for about 10 to 15 babies. Babies would arrive within 15 minutes of each other, and just be handed over to me on the set, one after the other.
Each baby held it together really well, but I could tell immediately what they were feeling...most of them were terrified. Imagine being in the loving arms of your mother, and then whisked away to a brightly colored "living room" 5 feet off the ground, with a very crazy play partner (me). Then you look out and see two giant cameras, lots of lights and dark faces staring at you, WILLING you to quack with the rubber duck and dance with the orange scarf.
When the babies couldn't see their parents (I was pretty adament about the parents remaining out of sight...even had a mini-fit over it when one parent showed their face and I lost the baby's happy personality), they usually turned to me for comfort. When I did achieve smiles, it was usually sandwiched with confused, sad expressions. It was like part of them wanted to be there playing with me, and the other part felt like they would just like to be held by mommy right now thank you very much. Totally understandable...and we didn't push any of the babies. As soon as they let me know they were done, they were excused to the warm embrace of their moms and a snack of animal crackers and juice boxes.
It was the first time ever that I could relate to the Department Store Santa. The parents and the kids are anticipating this moment, talking about, getting excited about it: "We're gonna meet Eebee's Mom!", but when it comes down to it, it's freaky to meet Eebee's Mom. She isn't supposed to be alive and singing me a song and tickling my toes. I like her to stay right there in my imagination and tv screen. So, there I will stay, and hopefully when they are older, they will look back at their first "film" experience with a smile and an animal cracker. Ho! Ho! Ho!