Having three kids aged four and under has been shown to cause a specific form of mental illness. This syndrome may lie dormant for months but manifests as the desire to have professional photos taken of said family. I’m fully aware of this manifestation, thus we have not paid a person to take our photos in several years. At any given time, we have a wiggly baby, a defiant two year old, and now a strong-willed four year old intent on pushing every button of his parents’ that he can find. Also, Laurie has a great camera.
But this fall, the sickness set in, resulting in the scheduling of a photo session with a real photographer in town. My expectations were low. Very very very very low. I wanted just one nice picture of all five of us looking at the camera and possibly smiling. That’s it. I know it’s a futile undertaking, giving toddlers such an irresistible opportunity for defiance, but I really thought that with enough bribery, we could pull it off.
The week of our appointment, Laurie came over and helped me choose matching clothing out of our closets. As the mom and the only person who really gives a flip about the pictures, I tried on every shirt I own and we worked around my attire. But according to Pinterest, we for sure didn’t have enough layered clothing since Claire refused to wear her fur vest, and by refuse I mean ran away screaming every time Trevor chased her with it.
The day of the appointment, I spent eleven hours washing, drying, straightening, and curling my hair. Then I wrestled Claire to the ground and styled her pig tails just right. Then I dressed all three, combed hair, clipped bows, scrubbed faces, loaded up the diaper bag and the car, and waited on Matt. He showed up one minute before we had to leave because he’s a man. We were ready.
The best light for portraits is around sunset, as everyone who’s ever read a how-to photography blog knows. We live 40 minutes from town, as everyone knows. The best time for kids to nap is in the car 40 minutes before the start of a photography shoot, as everyone knows. Upon arrival at the lovely outdoor area we were using as a backdrop, the little angels were fast asleep. We woke all three, with the exception of the big one in the back, who was missing, having been replaced by a photo-hating demon.
As our sweet innocent photographer and her assistant daughter attempted the first shot, our son was in all-out refusal mode. When he growled and snarled at the poor girls, we called a time out and took him to the woodshed. At this point, all hope of a quality picture was lost.
Looks playful, but it’s really the end of Matt’s patience.
We soldiered on, at the encouragement of the photographer and the realization that I wasted all day getting ready for this crapshoot, and spent 45 minutes cajoling, bribing, threatening, ignoring, and scolding this kid.
Trevor’s individual shots. Lovely background. And back.
Side Note: What have we come to, friends, promising ponies for fake smiles and beating the daylights out of putting kids in timeout for not being child models???
Another Side Note: Mennonites do not participate in pictures and I’m thisclose to converting.
Third Side Note: I’ve since seen perfect family photos on social media and I really want to know how many snapshots these people take on a daily basis to get their kids trained so well. Suggestions welcome. I realize we are the only family in the universe whose kids hate pictures.
Fourth Side Note: All you people with cute babies who smile at every camera, your turn is coming. My kid used to do that, too.
On the way home from town after the humiliation of being defeated by a PreK-er, we continued to discipline our oldest child, who had succeeded in completely and thoroughly embarrassing us with his disrespectful attitude toward an adult not related to him. He went to bed without supper, and if you call CPS, that’s fine, but good luck finding us. I honestly wasn’t upset about the photos, I was UPSET that he acts so much like his mother.
Our kids are a joy to be around.
These pics are a testament to the patience and skill of our photographer. She’s a mom of six and was nothing but kind and encouraging, plus she sent me a sneak peak that night which enabled Trevor to live another day.
Kate, 10 months old, my favorite baby.
Claire, 2.5 and sprinting everywhere. (That’s a big deal!)
The bribe of a milkshake got him. Little did he know, parents change their minds sometimes. Bwahaha.
We forgot Kate’s shoes in all the madness. Her purple feet match the color scheme well, though.
And we ended up with more than one good one.
Love my family of 5 even when it seems like a family of 20. Maybe in a few years we’ll do it again. Happy Holidays and may all your photography dreams come true! (But if they don’t, who cares? We’ve gotta have some pictures to embarrass them with on the senior slide show.)