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January 30, 2013

Maya: “I want to be on American Idol. Do you think I would win Mama?”

Obviously the correct answer here is: “Of course you would Maya. You could be a star!

But I’m not in denial. Or hard of hearing.

Lunch at Terroni Restaurant: Maya might not be able to sing a note but she has good hair. And that's half the battle right there.

Lunch at Terroni Restaurant: Maya might not be able to sing a note but she has good hair. And that’s half the battle right there.

So here’s what I really wanted to say, “Maya, you can’t sing. Not even a little bit. You could never win American Idol. Sorry that your gene pool is so underwhelming.”

Harsh? Yes. But have you seen those poor kids that have the worst auditions in the world? Do you see the judges laughing at them? I can’t imagine anything harsher than letting Maya make a fool of herself.

More weekend pictures: Lunch at Terroni and Dessert at Bouchon

More weekend pictures: Lunch at Terroni and Dessert at Bouchon

But unlike the uncle who said to me (when I was a teen): “It’s a good thing you got the brains because your sister got all the looks,” I am not completely insensitive.

(As an aside: This explains a lot about me, yes? But I assure you I’m not in search of compliments. I just thought others needed to hear what a filter-less Indian uncle can come up with.)

Lunch at Fig & Olive with Friends

Lunch with friends at Fig & Olive

Anyway what I said is, “Sometimes, no matter how hard a person tries, they just can’t practice enough to be good enough for American Idol.”

Maya replied with: “Yes, but what about me?”

I’m hoping that by the time she’s old enough to be on Idol I will get through to her. And if not? I’ll just refuse to let her leave the house during audition season.

Whatever it takes.

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93 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2013 12:41 am

    Ha ha! It’s difficult to not say ‘you’ll be ammaazzzziinnnggg’ and then turn their dreams (that should just remain in their head) into false hope! I have the opposite issue – my niece is a great dancer but she doesn’t have any self confidence. Must work on that ……

    P.S – food looks amazing !

    • January 30, 2013 7:31 pm

      Confidence has always been my problem too…such a mystery how to achieve that perfect balance, right?

  2. January 30, 2013 1:24 am

    Perhaps the next reality hit will be called Hair Wars, and both you and Maya will take over and dominate the competition.
    In the meantime I grant you the Blogger of Whose Lunches I am Most Jealous Of. Terroni? Bouchon? Good taste!

    • January 30, 2013 7:32 pm

      Maya will dominate…I will if hot tools are allowed! :)

  3. January 30, 2013 1:56 am

    Hahah more and more you remind me of my mom- she didn’t sugar coat it when we were growing up and constantly tell us we’re “amaaazing”….just imagine the size of my ego and all the crazy things I probably would have attempted had she did! What you’re doing for Maya is called “tough love” I believe :)!

    • January 30, 2013 7:32 pm

      I grew up with tough love so that’s all I really know! Must be an Indian thing. :)

      • February 3, 2013 1:56 pm

        Have to regretfully agree :-)

  4. January 30, 2013 2:27 am

    Haha. Maya has the same gorgeous smirk/smile as you! :)

  5. January 30, 2013 3:21 am

    Hmm.. this is certainly ‘food for thought’ (no puns intended with all the lovely pictures with food in your post! As a parent you do not want to discourage them but at the same time you want them to be self-confident too- it’s fine line! My dad used to say ‘why don’t you take part and see what happens, if you win you win and if you don’t then it something you may need to work on or try something new’. I now think this was a clever way of encouraging me to work hard but not adding any unnecessary pressure.

    P.S. so jealous of Maya right now- she seems to have ‘amazing hair days’ in all her pictures!

    • January 30, 2013 7:34 pm

      I think your dad is really smart…I think I add so much undue pressure to everything Maya does. Will try to take your dad’s words to heart. :)

  6. January 30, 2013 3:59 am

    I agree in your approach but try this: ‘Tell’ Maya that if she goes then you will go for auditions. The embarrassment of having your parents make a fool of themselves may be enough for her turn direction. Fig & Olive – oh God – no further comments.

    • January 30, 2013 7:35 pm

      I’m guessing that one day I will embarrass Maya but that day has yet to come. Can’t wait!

      And Fig & Olive is one of my favorites…

  7. January 30, 2013 4:31 am

    Having a little insomnia here. You know I am all about tough love and keep it real with my kiddos. My advice would be just tell her the reality of what it takes and let her decide if she wants to do the work. She’s so young it wouldn’t hurt to just throw her a bone because chances are in a few months she’ll be on to something else.

    Yes of course I loved Bouchon, I wanted one of everything. The only bakery we have here in Temecula is a Great Harvest. Luckily their stuff is really good, I just got a loaf of their spinach cheese bread last night to go with our soup.

    My Grandma Mitchell was like your uncle, honest to a fault, so I was hurt a few times by comments she made comparing my sisters & I. Obviously you are smart and beautiful, and really shouldn’t we be listening to all the wonderful things people say instead of giving such credit to the couple of negative comments?

    • January 30, 2013 7:36 pm

      People say nice things all the time and unfortunately it’s the negative things that stick out in my head. Not sure why I allow this to happen?

      Glad you enjoyed Bouchon…so tasty. We don’t have a Great Harvest near us but spinach cheese breads sounds amazing.

      Hope you get some good sleep Marie! Insomnia is the worst.

  8. January 30, 2013 5:18 am

    hahaha… it’s a phase for sure. I remember wanting to be a singer/songwriter (I needed to also write my own songs because I was “deep”). Now you can’t pay me to sing in public if you tried. Gotta appreciate the confidence kids have, though. :)

    PS- your uncle was wrong. you are beautiful. fact.

    • January 30, 2013 7:37 pm

      You are very sweet Amy…thanks for the kind words. Love your comments, as always.

  9. January 30, 2013 5:41 am

    What’s rotten thing for your uncle to say! You are beautiful too (and smart and funny!) And the rest of us with non-cooperative hair are right there with you in your hair envy. ;) I wouldn’t feel bad about telling Maya that she should try out for AI if she wants…by the time she’s old enough to do it, she will probably have a more realistic idea of her skills, assuming she still wants to do it and that the show is even still on then. I hate to discourage the dreams of a small person…

    • January 30, 2013 7:38 pm

      Thank you Mama D for the compliment and the thoughtful comment. I too hate to discourage someone’s dreams but the realistic side of me just won’t shut up!

  10. January 30, 2013 6:02 am

    OK, if your sister got all the good looks then she must be beyond stunning because you are absolutely gorgeous Ameena, and I’m not just saying that. Always thought so. Brains + beauty + sense of humor + GREAT hair – you got the whole package, well almost. You can’t sing, so there’s that. :)

    • January 30, 2013 7:39 pm

      Oh Heather…you are so unbelievably nice. I think all of these same things about you…and I mean that. Plus you are a mom of 3 and you do it so effortlessly. I just have no idea how?

  11. January 30, 2013 6:29 am

    Aww! Maya really is your mini-me! So pretty.

    And hey, if you don’t bring to light the fact that she can’t sing, someone eventually will. For me, that someone was my husband!

    • January 30, 2013 7:39 pm

      My husband told me as well but luckily I already knew because my parents weren’t shy about mentioning that I’m tone deaf either! :)

  12. Lydia permalink
    January 30, 2013 7:37 am

    Your uncle is wrong. You are as smart as beautiful with good humor and fabulous hair! So Maya definitely gets them all from you. That’s what I call winning!

    • January 30, 2013 7:40 pm

      Thank you Lydia…love the comment and the compliment!

  13. January 30, 2013 8:09 am

    your uncle must need some glasses, you and Maya are georgeous! What about singing lessons…maybe she’ll improve??

    • January 30, 2013 7:40 pm

      Not sure Amelia…I don’t think singing lessons can really help. Sad but true. :)

  14. January 30, 2013 9:23 am

    The absolute best thing you can do is be honest with Maya about her lack of talent. My parents let me grow up thinking I was an amazing singer, and I was so in love with my incredible skills. I can’t even tell you how disappointed I was when I finally realized I had no singing abilities at all. I’m still heartbroken about it.

  15. January 30, 2013 9:58 am

    Love your answer! You don’t want to totally crush her dreams but at the same time you don’t want to give her unreasonable expectations of stardom. Honesty is best. She might not be able to sing worth a lick (like me) but surely she’s good at something else!

    • January 30, 2013 7:42 pm

      Maya is good at a lot of things…mostly she’s a creative person who is also really good at sports. Which is funny because I’m terrible at those things!

  16. January 30, 2013 10:18 am

    Jeez.. I can’t believe your Uncle said that.. that’s harsh, and also NOT true. I think you are realllly pretty.. you remind me of Gweyneth Paltrow, even the way you speak. Anyone ever tell you that? Second, agree with you on being honest with Maya, you can’t sugarcoat everything cause the real world isn’t always nice. OMG.. at Bouchon, you should try the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, it is divine. I’ll take recommendations from you too since it’s close to work. I love Fig & Olive.. their crostinis are so great.
    And that is such a sweet and pretty pic of Maya.. I don’t know, maybe you should just sugarcoat everything. lol.

    • January 30, 2013 7:46 pm

      Comparing me to Gwyneth is the best compliment ever. She literally is my favorite star in the world.

      Regarding Bouchon, I had the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie just this month at the Bouchon at Time Warner. Amazing cookie with an amazing view. Loved it.

  17. January 30, 2013 10:32 am

    Lets hope we have moved on from reality TV by then, really :) Your lunch looks fabulous!

    • January 30, 2013 7:47 pm

      I don’t know…reality TV seems like it’s not going anywhere!!

  18. January 30, 2013 11:11 am

    Heh, I get the feeling regardless of what you say, Maya’s grandparents have told her she can totally be on American Idol. Heck, not just be on American Idol, WIN American Idol. And I say this because I’ve heard Little Man’s grandparents tell him he will be the first Pakistani pro basketball playing doctor :) And I love love love all these fabulous food pictures! So much fun :)

    • January 30, 2013 7:47 pm

      “Pakistani pro basketball playing doctor…” so funny. The only thing that doesn’t make sense about this is the basketball versus tennis. Don’t all Indian dad’s want their sons to be tennis players? LOL

  19. January 30, 2013 11:25 am

    Good hair is more than half the battle. Helloooo- auto-tune?

    • January 30, 2013 7:48 pm

      So true…but your second sentence threw me for a loop. Auto tune?

  20. January 30, 2013 12:01 pm

    When my kids come up with something like that, I tell them,’Yeah sure, but that would mean HOURS of practice.’
    ” I can do a billion gazillion hours of practice.”
    “That’s great!”
    “Yeah and I’m also going to…….” zooms around the house imagining the win, until one of them bumps into the other, which results in tag and hours of practice (&whatever ambition) is soon, history.

    On the uncle’s comment – filter-less fits perfectly. I’ve had my share of those.

    The pictures are great – You look fab, so does Maya, so does the food and even the folks you hang out with look lovely! Time for me to make some good-looking friends I guess :D

    • January 30, 2013 7:49 pm

      So I basically need to give Maya a sibling so she’ll forget about her singing ambition? So funny.

      And thanks for the compliment. My friends appreciate it too! :)

      • January 30, 2013 8:56 pm

        Or I can lend you one for a little bit….. :p !! (lousy attempt- I know)

  21. January 30, 2013 12:09 pm

    You are AWESOME. Haha!

  22. January 30, 2013 1:41 pm

    I would tell my girl the same thing Ameena!! The way the judges make fun of the contestants is horrible. I guess it’s better for a kid to be disappointed than shattered.

    • January 30, 2013 7:50 pm

      The judges really surprise me sometimes…not sure if that’s why J. Lo never made it back this season. I don’t recall her ever being mean so I think she found the job too hard?

  23. January 30, 2013 2:05 pm

    See, I would’ve diverted that question with, “Do you really want to sing or just be on tv/famous?” Then, you could avoid the whole no singing ability thing altogether. =D

    • January 30, 2013 7:50 pm

      Good point. I think Maya just wants attention and lots of it. Maybe singing isn’t really the goal?

  24. Shilpa permalink
    January 30, 2013 5:43 pm

    This is hysterical. I grew up thinking I had a wonderful voice. I sung all day and drove my sisters crazy, but I thought they were, um, jealous. My parents thought I was cute. I thought I’d be famous… yes. What a sad dissapointment 20 years later. I’m not famous and I can’t sing. Spare her the pain :-)

    • January 30, 2013 7:52 pm

      So sorry about the disappointment Shilpa… Glad that you concur that I honesty is the best policy here. :)

  25. January 30, 2013 6:10 pm

    you got all the brains? thats a compliment because he is basically calling your sis dumb – which is not cool btw

    • January 30, 2013 7:53 pm

      No, my uncle’s comment benefited nobody…but as a teen I’d have rather been considered the pretty one than the smart one!

      • January 31, 2013 8:53 pm

        you are right – i dont like indian uncles compliments either – never did me any good either.

  26. January 30, 2013 6:35 pm

    She does have GREAT hair! I can’t carry a tune either. She’ll get it eventually. But don’t you love that confidence?

    • January 30, 2013 7:53 pm

      Kind of. But it scares me too…I had none of that confidence when I was a kid. Don’t want Maya to have too many unrealistic expectations, you know?

  27. Jeena permalink
    January 30, 2013 6:43 pm

    I know you’re not looking for compliments, but OMFG. Also, how totally weird. You guys looked a lot alike, and were totally equally attractive. Nice way to insult everyone involved there. I’m sure your sister didn’t appreciate the converse of “You pretty, but duuuummmbb.”

    That said–about Maya and the pursuit of dreams. I remember that I wanted to be a writer (fiction) growing up, and my all-time mentor big-brother said that writing was great, but that not everyone was going to be able to make a living at it. So I should try to find something as my safe backup, and then pursue writing on the side and see how it goes. I really appreciated it, because it gave me some reality without crushing my teenage dreams. (That said, I think it’s funny that I turned out to be a writer (technical) anyway.)

    I agree that you don’t need to assure Maya that she would be an instant rock star, and I think it’s possible to say, “Maybe! But, it would take a lot of hard work and luck!” (And except for when audition contestants are clearly mentally OFF, I always think people are absurdly brave for trying out for things like that!!)

    • January 30, 2013 7:57 pm

      Actually, I could totally see you as a writer…technical or fiction. You are obviously well read, love books, and people pay you to write already. I think you should still do it! But in any case, your brother’s advice was good advice.

      And I totally agree that contestants are some of the bravest people out there. To audition in front of a zillion people plus famous judges? I can’t even imagine. I find it hard when people are singing me Happy Birthday.

      Love your comment as usual Jeena…

  28. January 30, 2013 7:22 pm

    I sincerely hope by the time Maya is old enough to audition that show is off the air. It should have been over about three years ago.

    • January 30, 2013 7:57 pm

      I will say that AI is a good family show…and is something I can actually tolerate. This is rare with family shows!

      • January 30, 2013 8:02 pm

        I can see your point. I just miss the old dream team of Randy-Paula-Simon. I used to be a huge fan. Definitely had pictures of Clay Aiken up in my locker during junior high!

      • January 31, 2013 6:44 am

        I miss Simon and his honesty but Paula used to drive me bananas! I wasn’t unhappy to see her go. :)

  29. January 30, 2013 9:59 pm

    My husband and I have discussed this in great detail: how do you respond in this situation? I’m glad I have your support in just delivering the truth. :) And Maya has great hair!

    • January 31, 2013 8:19 pm

      You have my full support…not sure if it’s the right approach but I’m sticking with it for now!

  30. January 31, 2013 3:44 am

    LOL I think the bigger question is – would you REALLY want her to go through THAT?! I struggle to understand parents who do, to be honest. But then, as a musician and music teacher, such things tend to be pretty awful for people like me, on the whole.

    That all said, just because she can’t sing now doesn’t mean she won’t be able to. Voices don’t mature until turned 18 years of age. Very few people in this world are tone-deaf. Almost everyone can be taught to hear their own voice and ptich correctly. I strongly recommend singing lessons just for the sake of training your daugher’s ear – not even to try and make her a singer or anything. Singers – or at least those that deserve to be famous for being one – are those who can go that extra distance. It is not simply that they can hold a tune – it’s that they have a quality of voice that is attractive and suits the style they sing. Those that do best in the business are those who have received the right advice and/or training in the past.

    So maybe she will make it! You can’t tell. But hopefully, even if she turns out to have a wonderful voice (and you CAN’T tell yet), you can persuade Maya that there are BETTER avenues to go down than American Idol…

    • January 31, 2013 8:21 pm

      Since you seem to have a lot of knowledge on this topic I’m curious: in your opinion are great singers just born with an inherent talent? I mean, sure maybe J Lo can work real hard and her voice can mature to where she is now but she’ll never be Christina Aguilera. Just wondering what your thoughts are?

      • February 2, 2013 3:31 am

        Inevitably I find that what one person considers to be a ‘great’ voice another cannot bear. Both the singers you mentioned have a massive fan base and that means that SOMEBODY thinks each of them is great!

        I think that is the point really. The only definition that is quantifiable for a ‘good voice’ is: Do people like listening to it? Louis Armstrong, famously, only started singing because his doctor warned him playing the cornet was going to destroy his lips! By classical standards his voice is appallingly awful. But millions of us enjoyed and still enjoy his voice to this day. He’s a wonderful singer! But he couldn never have done opera…

        Roger Waters, the lead singer from my favourite rock group, Pink Floyd, can’t sing for toffee. But his voice matches perfectly the tone and style of the Floyd’s songs. The band lost something when he left.

        I love opera – ADORE it in fact. But when opera singers attempt to do musicals or pop/rock songs it is (for me) truly dreadful. They don’t have the voice for it and they will never be even a Karen Carpenter or Van Morrison. But then, that’s my opinion and others obviously disagree – their recordings sell, after all.

        So, no, I don’t believe in inherent talent – though some find it easier than others. Anyone can train to sing (I speak as a non-singer, by the way, who has actually trained many students to become good singers over 20 years). The trick is finding the right vehicle for your voice and having the perseverence to keep going. Those two things make most people stumble right from the start. I, for one, really could not be bothered to go through all the hard work it would take to make my voice decent. I wish I had had lessons when I was a kid. :(

        Some have such good voices that even without training they can ‘train themselves’. This is the common ground where you usually find the truly awful (they didn’t have a good voice in the first place but thought they did) and the truly wonderful that have remained undiscovered. The first step in any training is to learn to listen. Many fail to do this. For those that do, it is then up to putting themselves in the right environment so audiences hear their voice quality in the best possible way.

        Ultimately, it is that last sentence that dictates how ANYONE becomes famous as a singer. Even J Lo.

      • February 3, 2013 8:06 am

        Such a great reply Ken. So true that I’d there is an audience then there is a talent there. I guess the same goes for actors, writers, models…

        Thanks for the great comment. Love your thoughts on this interesting topic!

        PS: I had no idea about Louis Armstrong!

  31. January 31, 2013 6:27 am

    Isn’t it amazing how a compliment can be brushed off but the mean comments lasts forever? Funny I have a post for next week about compliments, in some ways I think our kids are over-complimented.

    • January 31, 2013 8:22 pm

      Totally think our kids are over-complimented….in general. Of course I don’t give them out freely because I am on the opposite end of the spectrum!

  32. January 31, 2013 6:51 am

    You’re so right about the hair, Ameena. I used to get comments like that from relatives regarding my weight. Phooey on them now, because I concurred it and they’re…well, I don’t know where they are but I’m healthy and doing just fine. I think your approach is better than some of the “supportive” parents I see on there who tell their children they can sing when obviously they can’t. May will find her niche…she’s young…and adorable.

    • January 31, 2013 8:23 pm

      Another oblivious aunt said to me, not too long ago: Looks like you’ve gained a few pounds since I last saw you.” Insane. Why do people ever talk about another persons weight? Ever!!

  33. January 31, 2013 6:52 am

    Yikes, of course I meant Maya in that last sentence!!

  34. anon permalink
    January 31, 2013 4:07 pm

    You always say you have a sister but I have not seen her on this blog at all.

    • January 31, 2013 8:24 pm

      I do have a sister and judging from the IP address of this comment I bet you maybe even know her??

  35. January 31, 2013 6:03 pm

    I love Terroni! Their flourless chocolate cake is to die for!

    • January 31, 2013 8:24 pm

      We had no space for dessert but I think Ali will definitely want to go back for the cake now…

  36. January 31, 2013 8:51 pm

    First of all, photo of you and Maya is divine. You both have fab hair, so she clearly has that going for her in her gene pool.

    Tell Maya The Voice is way more her style…nicer judges.

    Perhaps redirect musical interest to violin lessons? That way, no singing.

    • February 2, 2013 10:23 am

      She loves The Voice too! Funny how she gravitates to all the singing shows. I think she loves to be the center of attention a bit too much.

      And thanks for the compliments. :)

  37. January 31, 2013 11:29 pm

    Hi Ameena, I am new to your blog and can I just say your posts are such a lot of fun – I had a lovely time browsing through all the old entries too :) I am not a mother yet but I probably would have given my daughter just about the same honest answer – a lil bit of reality check that i got from mum when I was a kid and for which i am thankful !
    PS : You are gorgeous!

    • February 2, 2013 10:24 am

      Mamta…thank you for the very sweet comment and for reading. I really appreciate it!

  38. February 2, 2013 12:57 am

    I thought I left a comment but I think I was distracted by making (burning?) dinner. The upside of your filterless uncle is that you are brilliant, gorgeous, AND unpretentious.

    • February 2, 2013 10:25 am

      Dinner works much like that around here. The burning part anyway.

      Thank you for the very kind words Jennie…so nice of you!

  39. Rufina permalink
    February 2, 2013 10:29 pm

    I love the way Maya responded “but what about me?” As though she wasn’t just anyone! At least she is self-confident AND has good hair ;)
    P.S. My sister was the “pretty and athletic” one too; I swear that kind of reinforcement is what made me clumsy and accident-prone as a kid, because I used to believe them!

    • February 3, 2013 7:39 pm

      Yup…that kind of reinforcement is responsible for a whole lot of my self-doubt…totally agree with you!

  40. February 3, 2013 4:55 am

    Maya has a pretty smile. :) Love her confidence. Though she my not win AI, I think, if she is ready to wrk towards it, she can be decent in auditions. Or at least I hope you’d said something like that. Hearing you can’t do it can be pretty bad at that age even if it is true!

    • February 3, 2013 7:40 pm

      You are so sweet Sapna…Maya’s mom should be as supportive as you. :)

  41. February 3, 2013 7:29 am

    Oh, Ameena, so funny! I think most people, at some point, want to become a singer; I’m pretty sure I wanted to be one too when I was way younger, and now the only time you’ll ever catch me singing is when I’m alone, in my car, with the windows up. I know my strengths and singing definitely isn’t one of them!

    But you’re right, Maya does have good hair and have your beautiful looks (and Ali’s handsome charm).

    • February 3, 2013 7:41 pm

      Pearl…I sing the same way! In the car with the windows up. Although sometimes I let Ali and Maya hear my very off key voice. :)

      And thanks for the kind compliments….so nice of you!

  42. February 3, 2013 4:32 pm

    Ummm, excuuuuuse me…
    but you’ve got brains and looks! Damn you.
    As far as Maya…I’d just say “Sure, you can try out for AI.”
    I love her CONFIDENCE! Awesome. x

    • February 3, 2013 7:41 pm

      Love your comments as always! Thank you for always making me (and Maya) feel like a million bucks. :)

  43. February 4, 2013 7:55 am

    I appreciate that you’re honest with her, but also that you aren’t cruel. Little hearts are just so tender!

  44. February 5, 2013 4:27 pm

    Your uncle was wrong, you are beautiful! :)

  45. March 13, 2013 10:19 pm

    Oh god! Indian uncles. Don’t get me started. One of em once said to me: “I hope you are not planning to study after your bachelors. That would be money wasted. Try the film industry instead.” !@#$%!!

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