We’ve all heard the saying “Never work with kids or animals on live TV”.....
but what about 10 babies (Yep TEN babies) all on the move, all under the age of 1 years old?
That is the situation we found ourselves in last weekend, when my brand, Munchkin & Bear, (Australia’s best-selling designer baby play mat brand… shameless quick plug for you), had the opportunity for a LIVE weather cross on the Today Show.
We pitched the (very ambitious) idea of a LIVE Baby Crawl Race on our gorgeous squishy foam play mats, to demonstrate that so many babies reach their crawling milestone on our protective play mats.
We had held a baby crawl race once before and we were pretty proud of it, but was it too ambitious to repeat it during a LIVE, national weather cross?
What could possibly go wrong?
Well when we asked our Munchkin & Bear Instagram tribe that question, they had plenty of suggestions, including:
“A Baby Poonami live on air”
“The host gets vomited all over”
“You forgot how to speak and no words come out”
“You accidentally swear”
“All the babies cry”
“They all crawl off the mats”
I read these and laughed but THEN started having a recurring nightmare of being interviewed and saying “foreplay” instead of “floor play” and “playmates” instead of “play mats”.
The stress was real guys! And I didn't hide it very well - just look at my face.
Luckily our team at M&B are thorough planners, so there were run sheets, script examples (we had no idea what I would be asked!), custom outfits were made for the babies, a finish line flag was sourced and much discussion took place about possible camera angles.
We felt prepared for anything.
But nothing prepared us for the actual event…
Here are the top 4 things that went… well… a bit wrong…
The SCREAMING, the deafening screaming.
We invited the families to arrive 30 mins early so their bubs would be nice and relaxed, well fed and happy before the broadcast. It worked a treat - they were all playing happily in our soft baby play space and dressed in their super cute, custom Munchkin & Bear race suits. We were baby whisperers….The vibe was “happiest babies on the block”.
BUT when it was time for the actual TV cross, one parent/carer went to the “Finish” line and the other took bub to the “Start” line as planned. This separation might have been what set off a chain reaction of TEARS.
The interview started, big fat baby tears were falling everywhere and the crying was so loud I could barely hear the questions from Dan the weather man. The panic was rising inside my chest and my mouth felt like it was full of cottonballs mixed with sand and I just wanted to stop and cuddle all the bubbas. But my mouth started moving (but what was I even saying? Could anyone even hear me? Could everyone see my armpit sweat patches? Were my kneecaps sweating?) and I somehow stumbled through it.
Amazingly, much later when I heard the version that aired all I could say was “Wow! Their sound guy is an absolute WIZARD! You can barely hear babies crying”. Plus they looked utterly adorable!
Baby FACE-PLANTS x 3
“Ready set crawl” The race was off! Except it wasn’t.
The poor stunned bubs, surrounded by bright lights and chaos, barely moved. Some of the cuties even turned around and crawled back into their parents arms.
A few parents gave their little ones a gentle push on the bum to get them started. What followed was not one, but 3 little bubbas pitching forward and face planting onto the play mat.
It looked like they had forgotten how to crawl!
I thought I might throw up. The profuse sweating resumed.
But thankfully our Munchkin & Bear play mats are filled with a squishy, high quality memory foam core (they are so absorbent in fact you can drop a raw egg from standing height and it will simply bounce!) so of course the little ones were absolutely fine and quickly smiling again and off crawling. Their parents were such good sports too and stayed happy and relaxed, having a good laugh together about it afterwards.
The babies STOPPED crawling - during a crawl-race!
A baby crawl race kind of depends on 1 thing…. CRAWLING.
And we only had 30 seconds to get this race in the bag!
So when the entire baby cohort started to crawl and then sat back on their tushies and stopped, my stomach dropped even further.
It was only for a second but boy it felt like forever, until thankfully our Super-Baby and eventual winner, Ari, took off and was chased down by another two cuties (the “face-planters” in fact who were now giggling and wiggling across the floor).
Baby HAZARDS were everywhere!
After the title of “Brisbane's Fastest Baby” had been taken out by little Ari, and the grid girl (aka Grid-Weather-Man-Dan) had waved the checkered flag, Ari’s Mum was being interviewed.
The cameraman and sound guy zoomed in for their close up, like the professionals that they are. But unbeknownst to them, several babies finally started to crawl…. behind them, right towards their feet! One poor little one even got a tiny knock to the head by the cameraman.
Once again the awesome parents were right there and all was fine, but my final nerves were shot!
I was warned the whole thing would pass in a quick blur, but that wasn’t my experience at all. It actually felt like super slow-mo with impending doom at every moment. My internal monologue was “Why on earth does anyone choose Live TV as a career? They must be made of stronger stuff than me”.
It took the next hour or so for my adrenaline to stop pumping and I could finally enjoy and be proud of what we pulled off. Our team joyfully watched the full clip back, fascinated by what actually aired and soaking up all the baby cuteness. Then we heard it…the absolute icing on the baby-crawl-race cake. Just as Dan the Weatherman crossed back to the studio, Jayne the Today Show Host said:
“THAT was my favorite segment you have EVER done”. I loved it, thank you”
I couldn't agree more. To the ten little babies, their amazing parents, any of our 100,000+ M&B customers watching at home, plus my Munchkin & Bear team, I loved it too, so THANK YOU!