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Would it kill you to smile?

I took the kidlets in to get their annual portraits done at Sears.  It’s been a tradition with us since the Girl was 3 months old.  I like having a record of what the kids look like every year, to see how they’ve grown and changed, and they make great Christmas gifts for people who don’t see them every day.  Since the Boy was born in February, and I get the pictures done in November, this was his first time being in the portrait.  All year I’ve been looking forward to having both my kids, my family complete, in a portrait to be put up on the wall with the three other portraits that only have the Girl in them.  I haven’t decided what I’ll do when I have more than 6 portraits, but I’m imagining a wall of portraits, as a constant visual reminder of how our kids have grown.  It sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

So I made the appointment back in October, almost a month ago.  I figured that it was a good time because it would give me plenty of time to send them out with the Christmas cards, but also be close enough that the kids won’t look too different by the time people get the pictures.  I was so prepared.  But you know how it goes when I think I’m prepared, right?

Last week we all came down with colds.  And for the two nights before the session, the Boy was up in the night crying because his nose was stuffed.  So morning of, not only were the Girl’s and the Boy’s faces a drippy mess, but the Boy was also a baggy-eyed, tired, cranky baby.  I packed a wash cloth to wipe up runny noses between pictures, and grabbed a squeaky toy that the Boy finds hilarious that I thought might coax a smile out of him, at least long enough to get one good picture taken, because goddamn it, I was going to persevere.

After breakfast, I got the kids dressed in their finery.  The girl has worn red for the past two years (she was in a diaper for the 3 month picture), so I thought it would be a good idea to dress them both in red this year, so that when on the wall together, not only would the pictures match each other, but they will also match the colour scheme in the room that they are hung in.  Don’t you judge me.  The Girl was in a solid red sweater dress, and I bought the Boy a red plaid shirt, so they would match each other but the contrast of solid vs pattern would be enough that they wouldn’t bleed into each other.  No seriously, don’t judge me.  So of course, once they were both dressed, the Boy started drooling all over himself, and the Girl decided that would be the perfect time to get her hands covered in crummy food mess (even though, as stated earlier, she had just had breakfast).

“Girl, get thee to the bathroom and wash your hands off,” said I.  Being a dutiful and obliging child, she immediately started wiping her hands off on her dress.  I may or may not have had a disproportionate reaction.  I grabbed her crummy hands off her dress, and whisked her to the washroom saying, “NONONONONONO!!!!”  I washed her up, and managed to wipe the crumbs off the dress too.  Then I said, “Now stop touching everything!  Don’t eat!  Stay clean!”  She looked at me like I had lost my mind.  Maybe I had.

When it came time to pick a hair clip (to keep her hair out of her eyes), I wanted her to wear a white clip, but I would accept a red clip.  Unfortunately for me, I knew she would want a green hair clip.  I thought the red green combination would be a bit TOO Christmassy.  What is with you and the judging??  God!  So I gave her a choice between white and red.  As I predicted she said, “Green!”  I girded my loins.

“Red or White,” I restated, more firmly this time.

“I don’t WANT red or white, I want green!” she said, winding up for a fit.

“Okay, red, then,” and I started putting white up on the shelf.  She started to yelling in protest.  I said, “I gave you a choice between red and white, and you didn’t want to pick one of them, so now I get to pick, and I picked red.”

“White!” she yelled.  I smiled inwardly.

“Okay, fine, white it is.”  She calmed down instantly, content that she had gotten her way and smiled as I put the clip in her hair.  See what I did there?  Point for Mummy, aw yeah.

Everything went more smoothly once I could confine them get them safely in the car.  One run back into the house to grab her beloved stuffed cat, at her insistence, and we were on our way!  Woo.  Hoo.

I was expecting to have to wait when we got there, as we were early, but we were the first appointment of the day, so we got right in.

I have to take a moment now to tell you something about the Boy.  He is a very friendly, silly, smiley (loud) baby.  With me, Mr. Goldragon and the Girl ONLY.  If there is one person, ONE, who he perceives as a “stranger” in his vicinity, his eyes get huge and his mouth gets small, and he becomes the most grim, silent, serious baby you’ve ever met.  Without fail, women will try to engage him and try to get him to smile, (because seriously, folks, he is adorable) and he will just stare, blank faced until they give up and exclaim, “my, what a serious boy!”  And I roll my eyes because at home, he is a clown.

So the Boy took one look at the photographer, and shut down into stranger mode.  Not even the hilarious squeaky toy was enough to eke out the smallest hint of a smile.  The Girl, on the other hand, after the first picture was taken, suddenly turned into Tyra Banks.  Her stuffed cat got tossed to the side, I assume because she was hogging the spot light.  She smiled, and posed.  Poses that the photographer didn’t direct.  Poses that actually looked good on camera.  And not only smiled, but made different expressions of smiles.  She widened her eyes as the pictures were being taken.  Just like a pro.  I have no idea where she learned that from.

We got them into different poses, and used different props.  We found that the Boy was more likely to stay in one place and be happier if he was allowed to stand.  And the photographer took pictures until he decided he had had enough and melted down.  Of course while she was assembling the pictures so I could look at them and pick the one I wanted, I nursed the Boy, and then he started laughing and smiling.  Turd.

In the end, there were 20 pictures for me to choose from.  The Boy was smiling (not his big giant grins, but just a little shy smile) in precisely two of them.  The Girl looked fabulous in all of them.  All of them, that is, except for the two that he was smiling in.  *facepalm*  So I ended up picking one that the Girl looked the most fabulous in, and he at least didn’t have his “stranger danger” face on.  His mouth was open, and if the corners of his mouth had been only slightly up, it would have been hands down perfect.  So almost, but not quite perfect?  I will take it.


6 responses to “Would it kill you to smile?

  1. ceeboo

    That was HILARIOUS. Your kids entertain me. 🙂

  2. IfByYes

    At least neither was screaming :-p

  3. Hannah

    I just picked up our pictures today. They turned out better than I remember them looking on the day of the shoot. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised, too? (I’m sure they’re delightful).

    I’m refraining from saying one word about that small clone you birthed that wanted to wear green barrettes. It’s hard, though. 😉

  4. Pingback: The one in which I link to every other post I have ever made « The Domesticated Nerd Girl

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