When my kids were preschoolers and I was exhausted, many mornings were spent watching tv. That’s where I first was introduced to the pixie-ish host of Kids CBC Morning Patty Sullivan. Her character Patty Talkalotagustachuck, her playful take on news anchors, was our family favorite.
I remember bumping into Patty almost three years ago at the Baby and Toddler Show. She was nine months pregnant, cute as a button. She had the same glazed over look of fear and confusion on her face as all the other soon to be first time moms at the trade show. The next day she delivered beautiful baby Veronica.
Veronica is almost three now. And Patty has been back at work as producer, writer and host for two and a half years. I was curious as to how she had adjusted to the multi-tasking world of motherhood.
Part of Patty’s success as a performer is her ability to focus on the preparation. She laughs about how that skill served her well as a new mom. “I was stressed out about everything baby. So I researched everything online, signing up for every website newsletter, joining every mommy group. I was over prepared. But I’m still a crazy worry wart which I never was before kids.”
Of all the books she devoured preparing for baby, the one that made a big impression on Patty was How to Have a Baby and Still Live in the Real World: A Totally Candid Guide to the Whole Deal by Jane Symons and Gila Leiter. “I laughed at all their jokes while it still hit on all the important parts of pregnancy and beyond” she says.
I thought being a part of the Kids CBC TV show for years would somehow have made the transition a little easier. “Wrong!!” Patty almost shouts at me. “Just because I’m the host of a children’s show, doesn’t mean I have any better idea of what to do with parenting kids. I’m also at a loss and just as scared.”
I asked Patty if she ever scored extra points with her daughter being a preschool celebrity. “My daughter has no idea I’m famous even though she watches me on television. One day when she’s older she’s going to realize that not everyone’s parents have their own show.”
Occasionally Veronica will get a first hand glimpse of her mom as a performer, often at dinner time. In order to persuade her little picky eater, Patti will take advantage of her range of cartoon voices. “Yesterday I got Veronica to eat her carrots using a silly voice and pretending the carrots were asking her to put them into her tummy. It worked! But, usually I’m all business with her.”
As much as Patty adores creating and hosting TV segments, she focuses a lot less on her career these days and more on her daughter. Having said that, when Patty wants a job, she still goes out and gets it.
Last Christmas Patty sparkled onstage playing the Godmother in Ross Petty’s hilarious production of Cinderella. My kids were transfixed each time she came on stage. Despite her fame, Patty wasn’t offered the role. The real story is that Patty was a huge fan of Petty’s plays and started an email campaign to get his attention, land an audition (for which she was no doubt very prepared) and win the role.
As much as her daughter loved the performance, she wasn’t thrilled her mom was rehearsing long hours for weeks and virtually disappearing for a month during the show’s run.
To deal with her bouts of guilt, Patty talks about it with her husband Mike Kinney who is also a performer and producer. “I even have guilt when I go out with my friends for the night, but I do it because I know I have to do it for me. Things are never going to be the way you want them to be. So you might as well laugh.”