Some call it Christmas portraits, personally, I think it should be called torture. For both child(ren) and parent(s). That's it! Screw the water tactics... just subject suspected terrorists (or, hell, as the current administration does, subject any ole' one we feel like) to that trauma called Holiday Picture Taking Session.
I mean, seriously, why do we do this? You know, the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. There ya go. Sheer insanity. Let's sum it up, shall we?...
For the sake of discussion, I'll play this out as it does year after year in my house. With the exception of last year, when the entire family was able to be together for this warm, fun-filled, fuzzy event, we have three children of whom we need portraits taken (buzz off grammar police... I suck, I know!). First, you have to schedule the session. This involves deciding what time of the day are you most likely to catch them all in good moods, able to smile without looking either too fake or too scared. Ok, again, for the sake of discussion, we'll assume that such a time actually does exist, we all know that reality is, there is no such time!!!
Eleven in the morning it is. Say... oh, two weeks away (that is, assuming you haven't waited until the last possible minute, as absolutely none of us ever do. Never!). Now, off to the closets to see what hand-me-down clothes you have that can possibly pass for cute Christmas attire. I have to say, I'm very fortunate in this department. There are oodles of girl grandchildren in my family, so there are always way more Christmas-frilly-sparkly-lacy-she'll-never-ever-ever wear-this-dress-again dresses than we can possibly manage in one season. And boys are pretty easy, generally speaking. But, again, for the purpose of discussion, let's assume that you have absolutely nothing for them to wear. You have three kids, they have to coordinate in some way, right?
Off to the stores. Do you start with the girls or the boy? I go for the girls first, my oldest first of those two. She's the hardest to shop for. Five hours, four fights, seven "I hate you"s and thirty-seven grunt / stomp foot combos, you have found absolutely nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Here, oh, picky child... just to get the hell out of the store with something for her to wear in the damn picture, you buy, at full retail mind you, the damn High School Musical tee with the wretched camo pants she just has to have because that is the only thing she has put on that has brought about that oh-so-sought-after smile you are gonna be begging for on said picture day. "Oh well, it'll be okay" you think to yourself. "We'll just put her in the back with the other two in front of her. Only the edge of the solid tee and the khaki of the pants will show, anyway."
You safely pull out the solid emerald green velvet dress for the youngest. At least she'll look festive, with the plaid bow around her waist, gold thread running through it. That is, until she sees big sis' ensemble. Holy Moly!!! "You hate me!" the four-year-old screams, with all the sass and attitude of somebody ten years her senior. Yes, small child, you're right. It's a national conspiracy against you. Nobody on this entire planet ever wants you to own a HSM t-shirt and camo pants, fuggidabouddit, kid. Ain't happenin'. Now, you're quite a bit smaller than your older sister and I can sit on you and make you wear that dress. Still wanna fight!?!?!?!?!?
Ahhhhh.... my boy. Either he really is the gentle, kind soul I think he is, or he sees the raging maniac his sisters have produced in me and he just isn't dare going to tread on that. No way. "Mom, can you put gel in my hair so I look like Danny Zuko?" sigh You know, I could just make extra copies of last year's picture. No one would know, would they????
Picture day. You've got the morning all planned out. Any food or drinks to be consumed prior to picture time is done before any garb goes on. Period. I don't care if you stomach is humming the William Tell Overture. I don't care if your tongue feels like cacti. You are not getting anything to eat or drink after you get dressed. Period!
Of course, the oldest remembers just how pretty her hair was the last time we put hot stix in it. She just has to have them in this morning. Simply has to. What do you think the four-year-old does next??? You got it... hot stix all around!!!! Luckily, I'm getting to be a whiz with these things and, never mind that my neck / shoulder feels like fire pokers are being jabbed into them by the time I'm done, the girls' hair is stunning!!!! The boy... Danny Zuko be damned. We'll save that for Halloween, son, m'kay?
Assuming you actually get out the door any where near the time you had originally hoped for, you arrive on time. But guess what? You wouldn't think for one minute that the portrait studio is running behind, would you? Nah. Oh, hell yes they are!!!! Now, I won't bore you with the recap of the morning... but, we've all just been through what we'll just call 'not fun' and now, NOW you want me to sit here and wait, while my kids hear all of these other children screaming, parents then screaming at their happy kids to SMILE, DAMNIT!!!! And you think my kids are gonna do what????
Now that they are a little bit older (than they were a few years ago, duh! That sounds brilliant!), they just plain ole' get bored. And to tell you the truth, so do I!!! So we sit, and patiently wait... and wait... and wait... and... well, you get the picture (ha! pun intended!).
I'd say I'm pretty lucky. I mean, what do we expect? Put yourself in their little shoes for just one second. We'd no more stand for treatment like that, and then, to be expected to smile??? To put on our angelic faces and actually look like we even like each other??? No way!!!
I'd say I'm pretty lucky...