Oh, baby: You want my kids' pictures?

The Baltimore Sun

I wonder what somebody would give me for pictures of my kids.

Not $14 million, that's for sure. That's what People magazine and some British mag called Hello! ponied up for pictures of Brad and Angelina's twins, although the word on the street is that's an inflated figure.

And that somebody probably wouldn't be People, although the magazine is totally into the whole baby thing. It's had 29 celebrity baby covers since Cher, Gregg Allman and Elijah Blue posed in 1977 - 18 of them since 2006.

(While we're at it, has anybody seen any pictures of Elijah Blue lately? Was that him in a sailor suit in Cher's almost last video?)

People would like you to believe that you have to be an A-lister to make its cover with your new baby. But Full House's Jodie Sweetin isn't that big a deal, and it could be argued that her prior addiction to crystal meth and not her baby got her on the cover.

And I don't have a fabulous baby nursery for the photo shoot. Not like Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony have for twins Emme and Max. I never thought of beige as a baby color, but that was the set for their $6 million cover.

I mean, my son, Joe, has moved out and daughter, Jessie, doesn't pick up her room. But for a few grand, I could fix things up. It wouldn't take that much to make their rooms cover-worthy.

Who cares about your kids, you ask? Well, if there is money out there for Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy announcement (she supposedly deposited a check for $1 million from OK!), then there ought to be enough curiosity about my kids to trigger a modest payday.

I've been writing about them since they were in grade school, and now they can vote. Doesn't anybody want to see how they turned out?

I have read where these magazines have found that middle-class mothers really identify with celebrity moms, and that it is worth the $5 million Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are going to get from an Australian magazine for pictures of their baby, Sunday.

We are totally into reading about Shiloh's temper tantrums and her potty training, and that's what made the $4.1 million People paid for her baby pictures such a good, long-term investment.

Apparently, we middle-class mothers want to be able to feel community with - or, better yet, superior to - Christina Aguilera ($1.5 million for Max) and Nicole Richie ($1 million for Harlow).

"It's a reflection of the appetite for seeing the children of celebs, and also our big interest in judging other mothers," US Weekly editor Janice Min told USA Today.

Most of us can't look at celebs and feel superior over their choice of husbands (except for maybe K-Fed), but it is easy to convince ourselves that our kids are going to turn out better.

I will donate the money I get for my kids' pictures to a charity, or at least that's what my agent will say.

Has anybody actually followed the dollars to the Cambodian orphanages that Brad and Angie designated for the Shiloh windfall? Those orphans must be livin' large, I'm tellin' ya.

Britney Spears supposedly donated the money she got for her baby pictures to Hurricane Katrina relief.

We never really heard what Michael Jackson did with the seven figures he got from the National Enquirer in 1997 for the pictures of his first child, but I am pretty sure he bought that skeleton with the money.

Celebrities are being criticized for pimping out their babies, despite the charity dodge, and I am down with that. It is reprehensible to violate your children's privacy for the sake of your career and your ambitions, unless it is a long-term revenue stream, as it has been for me. How do my kids think I paid for all those sports camps anyway?

All of this was all right with me when the pictures were of Princess Di and Wills and Harry. (I don't think she got any money, not that she needed it, but apparently Fergie got 200,000 pounds for bath-time pictures of newborn Princess Eugenie, who is a teenager now and probably really angry at her mother.)

But we Americans are really confused about what constitutes royalty in this country, and it is starting to show. Jessica Alba? I mean, really. She's going to have a huge payday, yet Bridget Moynahan only got 100 grand for baby John, and Tom Brady, his spermotological father, has won three Super Bowls.

Where, in God's name, are our values?



Read recent columns by Susan Reimer at baltimoresun.com/reimer

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