Makenzie: Giving our girl Toots a run for her money

Brace yourselves, people.

In the season premiere of “Toddlers and Tiaras,” we meet (among others) four-year-old Makenzie and her mother Juana, from Montgomery, Louisiana. I’m just going to call it like it is: the girl is a little NIGHTMARE. I would bet my life savings that this child has never been denied anything or told “no” in her life. Juana acts as if she’s almost afraid of her daughter – admitting that it’s easier to just acquiesce and give Makenzie her way. Nice. Because that’s how life works, right?

Being only four, Makenzie is granted the “get out of jail free card” in terms of her actions and any subsequent responsibility. At this point, her ridiculously bratty behavior is solely the fault of her parents. Honestly, they should be embarrassed. And THERE. I said it. Angry commenters, comment away!

Makenzie is, put plainly, a spoiled brat. She’s like that friend you had growing up who shocked you because they would talk back to their mom or tell their dad to “shut up!”

In all fairness, there’s a lot of normal “four year old-ness” in Makenzie. By that I mean, when you’re four, you’re allowed to be a little (or a lot) weird, you’re allowed to spontaneously talk in strange voices or garbled tongues and you’re allowed to be totally and unpredictably dramatic. And Makenzie certainly fits the bill: she dissolves into screams, wails and crocodile tears at the drop of a hat and talks to her mother in short, commanding yells, as if she were speaking to a dog. And Mommy Dearest is all too happy to let her: she responds to Makenzie’s every scream in a soft, cooing voice. It’s insanely infuriating. You want to grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her: “Children! Do! Not! Yell! At! Their! Parents!”

Raising a child is difficult, exhausting and incredibly time consuming – we all know this. However, I think it’s super important to make time for discipline, time to introduce basic social skills and proper behavior, even at the tender age of four. A simple reminder that it’s not nice to throw things or scream at people. A quiet but firm reminder that throwing a temper tantrum isn’t going to help them achieve their goal. A simple reminder that you are the parent, the elder, and they are the child.

Anyway, off my soapbox.

When Makenzie tells her mother firmly, “I’m not doing what you tell me!” Juana responds with a chipper, “Okay!” At which point I laughed out loud, thinking about how well that would have been received in my childhood home. Then Makenzie really drives the point home: “I can do whatever I want to.” Of course her mother fires right back with another “Okay!”

Juana smiles at the camera and explains, “She’s an only child.” OHHHHHHHH. Now I get it! Thwacks forehead with hand. Well that totally excuses everything!

Frankly, Makenzie frightens me. Her unblinking, wide-eyed stare and intense, manic behavior makes me feel all squeamish and yucky inside. During one of her screaming sessions I half expected her head to spin on her shoulders as she crab crawled up the wall and spewed green vomit. I seriously hope she doesn’t find this blog.

Makenzie and Juana are late for “Diva Day,” and as they are heading out to car Makenzie says in the cute, munchkin voice only a four-year-old can have, “Mommy, I left my Ni-Ni!” Code for pacifier. “We’ll grab it,” Juana says in her soft, monotone voice. A beat, and then Makenzie throws her head back and wails for no reason. Juana, nonplussed: “I’ll get it for you.” Just watching this scene makes me feel twitchy. If I were Juana I would ask my child why she feels the need to scream and whine and complain about everything. Because she does. Complain. About everything.

A super-dramatic and semi-adorable search ensues for Makenzie’s “Ni-Ni,” with Makenzie desperately looking in every corner of her bedroom while calling out, “Ni-Ni?” as if she were expecting the pacifier to answer her. When Juana finally plucks it from its hiding place and hands it over, Makenzie snatches it with a disapproving look.

Juana explains: A year ago they had taken the pacifier away, because, let’s face it, three years old is a liiiiittle old to still be sucking on a paci. Juana glosses over what I assume was a major protest by Makenzie because the story finishes with: “I just felt so bad that I gave it back to her, and … yeah. We’re still working on that.” Hmmm. I can see it now, Makenzie, age 16. Juana catches her with cigarettes. Naturally, she takes them away. Makenzie bellows and sobs big fat crocodile tears, threatens to run away. Juana relents, tentatively asking her daughter if she would consider just smoking one a day. “I’ll think about it,” Makenzie snaps, slamming her bedroom door in her mothers face. Juana turns to the camera, smiles. “We’re still working on that,” she says.

I love the words people use to describe a less than perfectly behaved child: “a little firecracker,” “a handful,” or “a diva.” The nail technician at the salon where Makenzie is having her “Diva Day” dares to call it like it is by likening her to a “Tasmanian Devil.” Well, it’s half right!

Makenzie tears into the salon like a, well, like a Tasmanian Devil. Not the least bit shy, she runs straight for the back and dives into a bowl of cucumber slices, mashing one in her mouth before taking part of it out again. Then she looks around, wide-eyed and panting like a rabid dog. I’m starting to empathize a bit with Juana’s fear.

Makenzie’s aunt owns the spa, and although she’s smiling perkily her eyes tell a different story: they’ve seen the devil with the blue paci and know it’s not going to be a pretty day.

Right away things aren’t going well: Makenzie flat out rejects the chocolate facial, and instead wriggles uncontrollably in her seat, asking, “What am I gonna do after this?”

Melissa, the nail technician, (who by the way does NOT look amused by Makenzie or her antics) tells us that “getting her to sit down and … work with me was hard.” Cut to a shot of Makenzie howling, “It hurts when you put it in water!” Camera pans to a horrified and grimacing Melissa, clearly quite of out of her league.

Next they try to appease the demon Makenzie with a pink drink in a champagne flute, complete with a rim dipped in pink sugar. Please. Imbeciles. Makenzie regards the sugar as if it were a layer of crushed cockroaches that dared to crawl and die right there on the rim of her glass. “It’s sugar!” The nail technician and her mother both cry, somewhat astonished. “It tastes so good.” Makenzie spits the offending sugar out as if were the worst thing she’d ever tasted and commands “Take it off!”

“You don’t like sugar?” The nail technician tries again. “Do you know what’s in cookies?” Knowing silence. “Sugar. Do you like cookies?” Makenzie, fed up, fires back with, “I don’t want sugar in drink!” Well, point taken.

For some reason Juana and Melissa keep trying the chocolate facial again and again, but Makenzie’s not having it.

Finally they find an in: how about Mommy gets the chocolate goo on her face first? Makenzie’s eyes twinkle devishly.

Herein lies the only problem I have with the little Tasmanian Devil. Underneath her uber-dramatic, unhinged, bratty behavior I think I see a pretty heavy mean streak. You can totally tell that she’s one of those kids who laughs when others fall and who relish making others cry. Or, maybe not. But I see it.

Back at their home, Makenzie helps her mother put rollers on white Styrofoam heads. Makenzie whines the whole time, making me think of those signs you see in elementary school nurses offices that say NO WHINING. Makenzie would make a school nurse’s head explode.

Mine’s not feeling any better, either, and I start to wonder if Juana is hearing impaired. Because one must assume that only someone with limited to no hearing could withstand being around this child without going slightly crazy. Juana is either a saint or a lazy, beaten down doormat who uses her daughters age as a cop out. “It’s hard to keep a four-year-old entertained,” she tells us, somewhat defensively.

Makenzie runs screaming throughout the house, with Juana halfheartedly following her, picking up the destruction left in the tornados’ wake. I love it when she says “Woah!” in an exaggeratedly shocked voice after Makenzie acts unruly in front of the cameras, as if normally her daughter spends her afternoons quietly sipping tea and reading classic literature in the garden.

Where's my Chaucer?????

As if we couldn’t figure it out already, Juana spells it out for us: “She likes to do what Makenzie wants to do, at Makenzie’s time, so I just let her do it, whenever … whatever she wants to do. She kinda just goes with it.” You’re damn straight she goes with it! Any four-year-old given free reign is definitely going to embrace it!! But it’s your job as her mother to … oh, forget it.

After she finishes one of the mannequins, Juana turns to her daughter and says in a bright, hopeful voice: “OK, I think we’re done! She look good?” Makenzie looks at it, wrinkles her nose, and shakes her head “no.”

Once at the pageant, we meet Makenzie’s dad, and more pieces of the puzzle fly into place. He grins impishly at the camera and tells us that he’s keen to let his child “have whatever she wants to do,” in order to avoid a temper tantrum. Parenting gold!

The four-year-olds are called up to the stage for the Beauty portion of the competition, and seeing familiar faces Eden and Makynli makes me realize just how much of a *ahem* brat Makenzie is. I remember how sweet both of those girls had been in their episodes, and I start to feel less inclined to dismiss Makenzie’s behavior simply because of her age.

Juana bends down and quietly reminds her daughter to smile, but Makenzie barks at her to be quiet. On stage, she’s far more composed and focused than I had anticipated but she’s also far from being unique or a standout among the other competitors, at least IMO.

Juana scoops her up in her arms and tell her she did a good job, to which Mackenzie says: “Put me down!” You can really feel the love … that infallible mother-daughter bond.

The sh*t really hits the fan when they go upstairs to change for the next part of the pageant. Juana is attempting to put some type of decoration on Makenzie’s cowboy boots, but Makenzie is teetering dangerously on the brink of a tantrum. Suddenly, horribly, she morphs into one of the girls on MTV’s Jersey Shore. I’m not even kidding. It’s creepy.

Both Jonathon and Juana eye Makenzie like a rabid dog tethered to a loose chain. I want to slap them both. Take control of the situation, people! Be this child’s parents!

Juana finally makes a lame attempt to discipline Mackenzie, but her reprimand falls on deaf ears. Makenzie knows there’s not going to be any follow through so she simply dismisses her mother and demands to be taken to the pageant, then flings the door open and walks out.

The commercial break is preceded by a rather ominous teaser: what will the ever-delightful Makenzie do next?

Commercial-cliffhangers rarely result in anything satisfying once the program returns – but in this case Makenzie truly delivers.

In the hotel, several girls are waiting to get their hair and makeup done by Miss Christy and company when Makenzie, true to form, calls all eyes to her by marching in and barking, “I need hair and makeup!”

Christy blinks in the camera and stammers that Makenzie is “a little rowdy.” HA.

Mackenzie won’t stay still long enough for Miss Christy to do ANYTHING, and everyone (including the other mothers who are waiting for their daughters turn) are getting fed up. Megan, Mackenzie’s aunt, tries to control her while Juana makes half-assed attempts at being a decent parent. When she tries to get Mackenzie to remain seated, Mackenzie cries out angrily, “Don’t push meeeee!” and then proceeds to shove her mother backwards. When she is told not to push, she snaps, “She pushed me first!” And therein lies a four-year-olds’ logic. Juana looks defeated, which is altogether infuriating.

A blurry action shot of Mackenzie pushing her mother

“I saw some crazy stuff today,” Miss Christy says gravely, as if she’s spent the day in an ER or a prison ward. “She was just rambunctious and kinda wild.”

Mackenzie continues to piss and moan while Miss Christy struggles to do her hair. She lashes out at her mother, who sits back on her ass and takes it, literally. Then she cries out, “Ni-Ni, get me my Ni-Ni,” and for a second, I swear she sounds like this woman I used to work for who was in her sixties and suffering from emphysema. Several times a day she would stop whatever she was doing to bend over and hack her heart out. The first time I heard it I thought she was doing to die. Afterwards she would look around wildly, calling out in her raspy, strangled voice, “Where’s my cigarettes? Who took my cigarettes?”

Mackenzie is going into full-on meltdown mode. Juana closes her eyes in … annoyance? I can’t tell. She makes no effort to control her daughter except with scattered comments that Mackenzie is obviously ignoring.

Miss Christy is ready to be done with her, and tells us that she thinks Mackenzie’s main goal is to get on stage. Huh. Ok.

Back in their room Mackenzie sits on the bed, Ni-Ni firmly shoved in her mouth. If only it prevented her from talking. She holds her hands out, rolls her eyes and says in voice way too snotty to be coming from a four-year-old, “Well, where’s my drink?”

“Here,” Juana coos, and at this point I’m hoping an errant black hole opens up in their hotel room and sucks the whole family into inky nothingness. I mean, just kidding!

Juana informs us that she had a “breakdown today,” because Mackenzie was being “really bad, and she wasn’t mindin’
me and she wasn’t wantin’ to listen … ” Something about the way she says this coupled with her slouchy posture and smeared eye makeup reminds me of a sullen teen whining to their parents. Why is it again that any fool on the street can be responsible for a child’s life but you have to qualify to adopt a dog?

The next part of the competition is “Casual Wear,” where contestants can wear the outfit of their choosing. This usually results in a lot of strange skirt/cropped shirt/hat combos, some of them bordering on indecent. One girl struts provocatively around the stage in a short skirt and black leather boots, at one point rolling her hips around slowly and giving the audience a peek of her seriously underage derriere. Yikes.

Good Lord, what the heck is Mackenzie wearing? Juana has dressed her as some sort of wind-up soldier, complete with a large, furry black hat, much like the bearskin hats the Queen’s guards wear at Buckingham Palace.

You know that weird, side-to-side walk all the pageant girls do, with their hands jammed stiffly at their sides? Mackenzie does this the entire time she’s on stage, occasionally bringing her hands to her face to blow a kiss or cup her chin, oh-so-adorably. Except we know the truth. This is not cute.

Juana is very happy with her performance and hopes that the judges noticed her “spunk.” Miss Christy, apparently afraid for her life, smiles and says Mackenzie looked “beautiful” on stage. Uh-huh.

It’s time for crowning, and Juana is busy telling Mackenzie to sit still. In the next shot she’s crouched down next to her, giving her a glass of water. She’s trying to be nice to her, but Mackenzie turns and sticks her tongue at her. Ever the charming little princess.

Mackenzie is crowned Supreme Queen of her division, which is sort of like losing, but she’s got the big crown and the applause so she’s happy. Juana is waiting happily for her off stage, but Mackenzie unceremoniously drops her bag at her mothers feet and brushes right past her.

A cute cut-in scene of another contestant telling us about their experience meeting Mackenzie: “She tried to bite me!”

Miss Eden wins the big tamale, Ultimate Supreme Queen, which I think is well deserved. And surprisingly, Mackenzie cheers for Eden and claps for her. There may be some hope for this child after all! All she needs is a new set of parents!

…just kidding?

In closing (and in good humor, hopefully!), I leave Juana and Jonathon with this simple piece of advice courtesy of South Park:

14 Responses to “Makenzie: Giving our girl Toots a run for her money”

  1. Sweet. Goat. Nuts. What the hell is wrong with these parents?? I can’t believe they let their child act like that–watching these videos is like watching a train wreck.

    • kiyokotown Says:

      Hahahaa! I totally agree – it was almost painful to watch, and yet I couldn’t look away from the wreckage. That child is going take her parents for one helluva ride over the next twenty years or so. Sucks to be them!

  2. The MOM Is on drugs… Xanax or something…. No one is that patient. I think I’d smack my kid cameras or not if she ever acted that way!! What a brat… (and I have a 4 year old)

  3. brittany2580 Says:

    I think makenzie is sooo cute. Idk what u people are talking about. She’s a little kid, I bet yall were like that, all little kids are. Juana is doing the best she can to keep up with her and she amazing!

    • Melissa Says:

      OMG!!!! Are you serious or just totally high????!!!! Get a grip on reality. No decent parent or adult worth a lick would condone anything this family does for this child.

    • kiyokotown Says:

      I have to comment on this: I don’t know about everyone else here, but I NEVER acted anything like that as a child. None of my siblings did either. My momma made sure of it. So I’m sorry to have to disagree, but all little kids are not like Mackenzie, and thank goodness for that. You really think her behavior is “cute?” And p.s., Juana is NOT doing her best. Often times it looks like she is not doing anything at all but staring blankly.

    • You are sooooo cool ! ❤

  4. I think Makenzie is a bright, beautiful little girl. On one episode, I, -wait for it- saw her mother SPANK her, and tell her in a very firm voice to “STOP IT right NOW!”

  5. cinnarose Says:

    I haven’t been able to stomach more than two episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras. I love a good train wreck, but because there’s children involved, it’s a whole other level of sad.

    Even taking into account how heavily edited these shows are, there’s no goddamn way that woman should be raising another human being. And the father? Ugh. Giving your kids whatever they want turns them into little monsters.

    These parents produce the “special snowflakes” I have to deal with at work. “I’m special, I deserve an A. I attended all the classes!” No honey, you don’t, because your homework/exams demonstrate that you *earned* a B.

  6. If I had done any of that to my mom (who the most awesome mother ever!) when I was a child, she would’ve done a Linda Blair bitch slap worthy of any award they could give & I wouldn’t have a tooth left in my mouth!!

  7. That you say here is not reality, she is adoreble, and funny, and when she said: put me down, sis she also say: so I can go back to the line, cu she was worry for miss the next routine.. so stop to be so mean!

  8. I know Mackenzie , and I know how she with others people! And she is sooooooo helpful, and great And she loves what she doing, cuz she quit pageant, and start to plat t-ball and dance, and she said : mom? Can I start pageant again??

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