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10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

{Our guest blogger Barbara’s two very adorable, VERY L.A. children Leo and Matisse out on the town}

For the latest edition of Coffee With Friends, I’m SUPER excited to introduce this guest blog by one of my best friends, Barbara King. She’s an actress, mommy extraordinaire, member of my bridal party and mother of Matisse, our flower girl/child I pretend is mine when Barbara’s not around. If this video of Tony and me asking Matisse to be our flower girl didn’t already convince you she is an L.A. baby destined to be a starlet like her mama, this blog sure will… Anytime Barbara and I get together, the conversation inevitably turns to the topic of raising kids in L.A. I’m terrified of it, and she is rocking it. She’s got a pretty hilarious take on motherhood here in Hollywood, so I asked her to write a series about it for Heels in the Hills. Here is her first installment!

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

{Pic Meg Smith took of us three amigas at Tony and my wedding}

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

by Barbara King

I didn’t grow-up in a city. In fact I grew-up in a very small east coast college town – the type of town where everyone left their front doors unlocked and said “hello” to strangers they passed in the grocery store. Drivers didn’t honk if the car ahead failed to notice the green light and if there was ever any graffiti, it was quickly painted over within a day. We did have one homeless person but he was only slightly dirty and politely ate cans of tunafish outside our local library. I felt safe and comfortable in my suburban bubble and I’m sure my parents felt that way, too.

I guess I always imagined raising kids in that type of environment. I certainly NEVER thought I would raise my kids in Los Angeles. This was just a city my husband and I thought we would “try out” after we got married but before we settled down and had kids. No way would we have kids in L.A.

Well, life thought otherwise and now we are raising two kids in Los Angeles.  I’m trying to raise them with my strong, traditional east coast values, but sometimes I overhear kids (including my own) say things that shock me into the reality of the SoCal life we live. Here are my ten favorite questions:

1. What TV shows have you done?

I was at an audition for a commercial and was sitting with my assigned husband and two kids. And then this little kid actor from a different fake family wanders over to us and with a shake of his perfectly coiffed hair asks, “what TV shows have you done?” Then, before I could answer, the little kid starts spouting off all the shows he had worked on and commercials he had starred in. His resume was about five times longer than mine. The truth is, living in L.A., run-ins with kid actors are common and playground chats among moms often turns into a who-booked-what type of “friendly” rivalry. My own agency begs me to let my kids audition even though my husband and I are trying our BEST to avoid that route and try to casually toss around phrases like, “BE A DOCTOR SO YOU CAN PAY OUR MORTGAGE.” Anyway, my fake family didn’t book the commercial but when I saw it on TV a few months later – neither did the mini-future-A-lister.

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

{This adorable friend of ours is a kid model – hello college fund!}

2. What is snow?

At some point every L.A. parent has been asked this question. Snow is like magical winter dust that exists only in books, movies, and at the Grove twice each evening during December. It was 88 degrees on Halloween this year. It thundered twice a few weeks ago and my cellphone blew-up with texts from friends whose kids thought the world was ending. Scarves are solely accessories. Mittens – my kids just think that’s a made-up rhyme for kittens. You get the point. There are no seasons in L.A. and when there is anything that resembles “weather,” it can be terrifying.

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

{My friend’s daughter rejoicing in a very rare L.A. weather phenomenon known as “rain.”}

3. Is Elsa coming to your birthday party?

One of my daughter’s friends asked her this before her birthday party this year. In L.A. – it’s ALL about the Pinterest-worthy birthday party, starting from their very first birthday. (I didn’t have a birthday party when either of my kids turned one and I got more than a few, “you are ruining your children” glares when I mistakenly admitted so at the playground.) When I was a kid I think I had a birthday party at every single chain restaurant in my hometown. McDonald’s? Check. Burger King? Check. Pizza Hut? Check. Well, in Los Angeles you can forget about the backyard games, juice boxes, and pizza. Los Angeles birthday parties are a really big thing. If you don’t have a bouncy house, taco truck, cake pops, and either a Disney Princess or a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, then you must be denying your kid a childhood because every kid’s party I have been to in the past year has had some version of those extravagances. My friend went to her son’s friend’s 5th birthday party and even the parents went home with goody bags. What the hell is in a parent goody bag? A mini-bottle of vodka and some Eos lip balm? And I don’t even want to know how much these parties cost. But L.A. parents don’t seem to mind shelling out the dough to make their little 3-year-old happy. For the record, Elsa did NOT come to my daughter’s birthday party. Cinderella did.  And then 1950 called and asked for their birthday party back.

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

{Oh, just a typical 4-year-old birthday party set-up. (The 5-foot tall ice mountain replica not shown.)}

4. Peux-je jouer dans la piscine a l’ecole aujourd-hui?

Probably more mind-boggling than any other parental experience in L.A. is the hunt for the perfect school. And it doesn’t start in kindergarten – it starts in preschool. If I wrote a book on the subject of L.A. schools it wouldn’t just be long – it would be Tolkien-long. I’ve spent hours with friends discussing the pros and cons of play-based preschool; I’ve gotten late night texts from overly-emotional pregnant friends who are freaking-out over their first choice daycare’s two-year-long waitlist; and I’ve painstakingly calculated how we could possibly afford preschool without selling a kidney. (Still haven’t figured that one out.) In the end, I myself totally drank the kool-aid. My own daughter attends a French-immersion, all-organic preschool that has weekly visits from exotic animals and sprays mist on the playdeck during the summer. Yes, my preschool uses misters just like a fancy Beverly Hills café does.

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

5. Can we go to Disneyland after school?

For kids in L.A., Disneyland isn’t the magical once-in-a-lifetime experience that most non-Cali kids have. Disneyland is in our backyard. Sure, it’s still an enchanting place, but most of our friends have annual passes so going to Disneyland becomes as novel as going to Costco. Disneyland is Costco with Elsa.

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

6. Can I like have a Grande three-shot Mocha Lite Frappuccino, nonfat milk, no whip?

So, for the record, “frappuccino” isn’t a word. It’s a made-up expression coined by Starbucks to help sell their sugary, icy, milky cups of sinful deliciousness. Also for the record, if you happen to hit a Starbucks around 3 p.m. and within 1 mile from a local L.A. high school, it will be teeming with hormonal high schoolers who drive better cars than you drive and will send five snapchats in the time it takes you to order your drink. My local Starbucks happens to share a block with one of LA’s wealthiest private schools. The kids are usually very polite but I also assume they must be very misguided purely based on their drink choices and affinity for the phrase, “on fleek.”

7. Do we have to take the 405?

One of my best friends has a daughter who asks her each time they get into the car if they have to take the freeway. Unlike my upbringing, when traffic was a term to describe the five extra minutes it took to drive through our two-block downtown, traffic in L.A. means you don’t move for two hours. A one-hour playdate with friends can turn into a day-long ordeal. A trip to Trader Joe’s can become an afternoon in the car. My son does better flying to the east coast than he does in his carseat on the 405.

8. WHY IS IT SO COLD?

This is a phrase I’m sure EVERY kid has said regardless of where they are from. However, my daughter just asked this question. It is 66 degrees.

9. Is it gluten-free?

One of my daughter’s friends asked me this question at her birthday party this year. The answer was: “No, the cupcake is not gluten-free.” However, being an L.A. party, we had gluten-free treats available as well.

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

{Delicious gluten-filled cupcakes.}

10. Can we give money to people who don’t have it?

My daughter asked me this today: the date I had to turn my article in. This unexpected show of selflessness proved to me that despite Los Angeles’ stereotypical quirks, goodness can prevail. Kids will be kids – both in the ostentatious hills of Los Angeles and the secluded calm of an east coast suburb. And yes, of course I answered that we can give money, and toys, and clothes to those who need it…as soon as I’m done with this non-fat, gluten-free, almond milk frappuccino.

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

{The author and her daughter}

Barbara King-Wilson is an actress and writer living with her family in Los Angeles. Follow her @TheBarbaraKing and visit her at www.barbaraking.com!


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