29 September 2014, by Tan Yi Lin
Fans of Maybe Baby must have caught the new video that has been playing at their roadshow at Raffles Place last week.
What?! You haven’t yet seen it?! *aghast*
You must – the video is lovely, and NOT just because it stars moi… and Dannie… and Coco… and Claire… and my sister… and Ronald.
Uh huh. That’s right. Pretty much the whole family got into the act.
It all happened when I Love Children called me during a weekday jaunt to the NTUC supermarket near my office (yes, I’ve joined the aunties shopping for groceries at Tanjong Pagar Plaza over lunch hour). They shared their idea for their new Maybe Baby video titled “Times May Have Changed But The Joy Of Parenthood Remains” and asked if my family would like to act in it.
The video would feature the journey to parenthood of two couples – one in the 1980s and the other in current times. The idea was for Dannie and I to act as one couple, and my sister and Ronald as the other. Coco and Claire would act as Dan and my first child, whereby Claire would grow up to be Coco. The challenge was in finding newborn actors, and two other kids to play Lin and Ron’s child. Who would want to lend their tiny, precious week-old baby to play some strangers’ child?! But the good people at I Love Children worked wonders and managed to get 4 other child stars for the video.
It was delightful that the production team cast Dan and I as the 1980s couple, given that we grew up during this very period. They created a wardrobe from the 80s for our scenes – think corduroy overalls, handbags with looooooong shoulder straps and tent-like maternity dresses for me, and tight pants for Dan (ooo-er!) The girls wore ‘holey’ singlets (which is really part of their daily home wear today!) and the newborn baby slept in a traditional hand-sewn sarong – not the more modern versions made of mesh material that we use now. It was like watching our own childhood through our parents eyes!
A very, very old detached house belonging to one of the team member’s 90 year-old grand aunt set the scene for the shoot.
Of course, the lovely old house had no air-conditioning, so I was raining sweat under all those layers of hairspray, heavy make-up AND a fake pregnant belly! The I Love Children team took really good care of us, though. We felt like stars for a day!
Oh, I totally sucked at the ironing scene above. I apparently could not iron convincingly. To my defence, the iron (pictured above) was REALLY heavy. Lifting it and moving it across the board was akin to working out at the gym. I managed to do it once the ingot of an iron was replaced with a plastic – but still suitably retro – version.
It was really cool watching a professional production team at work – setting the stage, directing the scene, recording it all down on camera complete with instructions like “Camera rolling!”, “ACTION!” and “CUT!” I was slightly nervous at the start (it did NOT help at all that our acting debut was for the dratted ironing scene) but we soon got into the act and it all came pretty naturally. Of course, it helped that Dan and I are a couple in real life!
In between takes, while the rest scrutinised the clips, we kicked back, relaxed and time-travelled back to the Year 2014. The pictures of my 80s husband reading The Hunger Games trilogy and our “doctor” taking a call on his mobile phone made me giggle.
It’s amazing how the team captured the nostalgia of the 1980s on screen!
The girls did pretty well during the shoot (to our UTMOST RELIEF). Thanks to my parents who baby-sat them at home until it was their turn, ferried them to the set, minded them in between takes, and chauffeured them back home to look after while Dan and I continued shooting into the night.
Claire seemed rather puzzled at the whole thing – especially when everyone kept encouraging her to crawl for the camera. We could just see this giant thought bubble hovering above her head saying, “HELLO? IN CASE NOBODY HAS NOTICED, I CAN ALREADY WALK, YO?” She finally crawled in the end. I have no idea how come she agreed to but she did! Yaay! *relief*
Other than that, she was just happy toddling around and being part of all the action.
(By the way, see the stroller pictured above? My brother, who is now 27 years old, used to ride in that exact stroller. It’s an actual prop from the 1980s, which my daughters still ride in today! It’s a Maclaren, if anyone wants to know the brand of this long-lasting stroller.)
Naturally dramatic, Coco took to acting like a duck to water! So proud of this little pint-sized (then) 2 year-old actress. She listened closely when briefed, waited for the cue (“ACTION!”) and executed what she was asked to do! She loves watching the finished video and tells everyone to anticipate hers and Claire’s appearances (“Not yet. Coco will come in later, at the end. This is the baby… see, that’s Claire! Now Coco! I was pretending to read!”)
It was an honour to be part of Maybe Baby’s new video. Cuddling up while stroking my (fake) pregnant belly and precariously handling a (real) newborn baby brought back memories of Dan and my own journey to parenthood – the days filled with happiness and excitement in anticipation of Coco’s arrival, and our joy and cluelessness as first-time parents. Plus, it was especially lovely to have done this together as a family.
This video has not just captured the joy of parenthood – but also the joy of Family. It already is one of our most treasured videos – and will be for many years to come.
We hope that you like it too.
(Click here to watch “Times May Have Changed But The Joy Remains”)