One thing I always secretly loved about living in NYC for 11 years was the endless stream of cast, crew and film sets in any given area of town.
I use to run into Liev Schreiber on a regular basis on my walk home from work picking up his dog’s poop, had to wait for Paul Giamatti to finish his breakfast in my favorite (albeit tiny) diner in Brooklyn Heights and vacate his table, and spent one Easter afternoon with Kristen Wiig.
But I’ve found that not much has changed with my move to Atlanta in terms of the landscape of crews setting up. Film sets are rampant, only when they set up in my neighborhood, it makes my life with kids harder to navigate.
In New York, you just walk around all the film stuff, and you’re so busy or self-important that you don’t have a chance to gawk. But in my little Intown Atlanta enclave of Candler Park and Lake Claire area, you really can’t get away from it. The cast and crew is in our coffee shops, restaurants and market.
And honestly, I think that’s great. It makes this little Intown Atlanta neighborhood feel more vibrant, and I hope it’s bringing a big influx of dollars to our local businesses. But it makes preschool drop-off a total bitch.
Preschools + Film Catering = Hot Dog Devastation
It seems like a movie is shot a few times a year at Gato restaurant up the street on Clifton and McLendon, which always closes down a busy intersection in the neighborhood. But the last few weeks the film crew and cast for Bad Moms 2 (or Bad Moms Christmas) has been infiltrating the neighborhood and landed in my daughter’s preschool. And while I’m generally all for the boost in the neighborhood economy and excitement, it’s made things pretty tricky this week.
The preschool sent out a notice that they would be filming off and on this month, how they would ensure the school area would be locked down from the crew, and that it wouldn’t be inconvenient. That’s not exactly true.
I’m not sure if the church and school really knew what it was getting into when they leased its parking lot and property to the film. My family walks everywhere we can in our Intown Atlanta neighborhood and are still a one car family, so the lack of parking didn’t impact us. But when we got to school by foot (and red wagon), three or four catering trucks were already set up, tents were being erected, security guards were everywhere and the sanctuary was being set up for either filming or lunch.
My daughter was elated, then deflated, when she spotted those majestic catering trucks setting up directly in front of drop-off. And by that I mean we had to walk around people, squeeze past tables and maneuver past tents being set up.
She demanded to know if the hot dogs and dessert (and whatever else she fantasized about them serving) were for her. I had to sadly tell her none of that excitement had anything whatsoever to do with her school. She was stunned that there’s so much going on there, and yet she can’t see the movie being made – which she insists must be a kid movie. I didn’t argue. She had a point.
Then she informed the crew they better not ruin her preschool festival over the weekend. They promised they wouldn’t.
Camels Are Pooping at My Kid’s Preschool
I went to pick-up my daughter and was informed that not only were there camels around the side of the building, but they had been pooping. A whole lot.
This sounded pretty interesting, and I admittedly I wanted to see it in action, so we rounded the corner and indeed saw a pair of pooping camels. The upside was it made for a good educational convo on where camels come from, what the deal with their hump is, and how far they can walk through the desert without water.
We also talked about what molting is, and why one of the camels had bald spots. And after at least 2 minutes deliberating, my daughter decided picking up animal poop was not a job she would never, ever want, and asked how to keep that from happening.
I count this part of Bad Moms 2 Christmas ruining preschool drop-off and pick-up as a win.
My Son Pooped in the VIP Bad Moms 2 Bathroom
So it turns out that when a film crew takes over a preschool building and church, it makes for a precarious diaper changing situation. The only place with a changing station and extra diapers is in the downstairs of the church/preschool. And of course my little guy decided to let one loose on a day I didn’t have a diaper with me. So I decided to quietly steal away downstairs to the bathroom only to find a sign that read VIP Only!
I paused. Did I go for it? Did I care that this bathroom was clearly reserved for the ultra-celebs? Did I feel guilty that my son would surely soil the same bathroom that Mila Kunis would also soil?
But despite Bad Moms 2 being a relatively big budget Hollywood film, I’m always kind of surprised when there’s not more guards around, and not more respectable signage. You know, a glossy and embossed scripted sign reading VIP Bathroom to alert the crew that only the stars can poop there.
(And my son. Obviously)
So I took him inside and quickly changed his diaper. It was all surprisingly anti-climatic. There were no candles, no fancy soaps and no lounge area with chocolates and mints with white fluffy towels. No bathroom attendant holding towels and spray. And no bowls of gold coins. It just looked like the usual ho-hum toilet fare.
Only when I emerged from my stealth mission, the crew was peeking over the green room curtain with a confused look. Oops.
Clearly I wasn’t so incognito. And it was fairly obvious I was neither Mila Kunis nor Kristen Bell. But when you have a cherubic-white-haired-toddler-with-chubby-cheeks waving at strangers while resting on your hip, you can do just about anything around this town. “Sorry, I had to grab something,” I quickly said and slipped up the stairwell.
But I left smug knowing that Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Jada Pinkett Smith would have to endure the soiled diapered bathroom I left behind. Sorry, ladies. Toddler diapers wait for no one. Not even you.
Mila Kunis Ruined My Toddler’s Music Class
I was also kind of glad for the VIP bathroom soiling experience as a revenge tactic. Because here’s my real beef with Bad Moms 2. My son takes a toddler music class in the basement of the church on Mondays, but it was turned into a Green Room, so they moved the class upstairs.
Sounds okay so far, right??
Only we ended up skipping music altogether because my son can barely hang-in downstairs as it is without making a screeching, giggling beeline for the door and dive bombing into all the junk down there. It’s a lot like trying to herd a wet cat into a pet carrier after announcing it’s time to go to the vet.
The new location for music was moved upstairs with direct visual access to the preschool playground. I saw the writing on the wall. We attend church there, and my kiddo is there every day to drop his sister off for preschool that is housed within the church. He knows that building very well, and would be organizing the other toddlers to distract the Moms while they revolted and escaped to the playground. There were also plenty of built-in shelving to climb, a piano to bang on, and lots of furniture to soil.
I didn’t bother with class. My kid is feral enough as it is. And I just wasn’t up for the challenge.
So thanks, Mila Kunis. My son missed music class because of you. Hope the Green Room was lovely. And my daughter is devastated that there are no hot dogs for her. And we’re all perturbed by the balding, pooping camels. Maybe tomorrow you’ll set up a faux cupcake and lemonade stand manned by Santa holding an armful of Shopkins for Bad Moms Christmas. Then tell all the kids they can’t have any.
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