Friday, June 24, 2011

Picture Imperfect

Three year olds and professional portraits don’t mix.

When I found out we would be part of a directory for which we’d all be getting our pictures taken, I immediately went into project manager mode. Secure the optimal date and time slot. Make sure haircuts were within a reasonable time range. And, above all else, make sure the outfits don’t clash.

I think I put at least 3 full weeks into fussing about this picture. I started in Sabrina’s closet, figuring she’d be the Focal Point of Cute, and decided she would be the love print wearer of our quartet. The rest of us had to be in solid colors so we wouldn’t else up looking like a test patterns, practically pulsating off the photo. Amazingly, I pulled a coordinating shirt right out of Sammy’s closet. But this is where the ease and flow stopped. Dead. All of the sudden, Hub decided he was a stylist and wanted to pick out all the clothes. Um, no. I had too many hours already logged into planning this business and I wasn’t about to relinquish control. He insisted on wearing a suit. I insisted he’d look like a fuddy duddy. We finally agreed that he could wear a tie or a coat, but not both. And then I bought him a new shirt in the color I wanted him to wear in the first place (the color he thought I was nuts to suggest, but then he saw the shirt and realized I was right. He’d save so much time if he’d just go straight to the Julie’s Right portion of the conversation because I always am).

And then I realized I had nothing to wear.

Seriously, I had nothing in my closet that didn’t stick out like a sore thumb from the color scheme I’d so laboriously chosen. Crap.

So I went shopping. The photographers suggested wearing solid colors and long sleeves. Do you know what you can’t find in the stores in the middle of summer? Solid colors and long sleeves. Forget the sleeve issue (please, I threw that out in an instant since it would be roughly 9,000 degrees at the time of the picture), apparently women only supposed to wear printed fabrics on their top halves these days. I must have missed that memo.

I did find a very small handful of selections (including a pretty dress on clearance, yay me), which I snapped up and brought home in the desperate hope that one of them would work into the plan. Thankfully, I succeeded (with the clearance dress, so bigger yay me, and the rest is returnable).

So, here it was, the day of. I spent the day in curlers, something I haven’t done in I can’t remember how long, set a record with how much time I took doing my makeup (I ain’t getting any younger, so I needed to spackle), and even broke out the curling iron on Sabrina’s hair (which I have now learned is entirely too fine to hold a curl for longer than 5 seconds). It took the whole day to get in presentable shape. We arrived 5 minutes before our scheduled time, and… waited. For a long, long time, at least as far as a three year old who cannot remain still for half a nanosecond is concerned. I redid her hair twice (ugh) before we were finally called. Of course, it was still another 10 minutes of making sure they spelled everything right before we actually saw a camera.

Two shots. That’s all we got before the whining began. Sammy couldn’t smile without grimacing in such a way that made you think he’d just smelled something heinous. Sabrina couldn’t keep her eyes on the camera and fidgeted in my lap, causing my bra strap to make a break for it. The photographer shuffled us around from pose to pose, and it just went from bad to worse. The only thing he could think of to get the kids to smile was to say, “Daddy has stinky feet!,“which worked exactly twice. And then, the meltdown. Sabrina was D-O-N-E done. We tried for a few more shots, even after she fell off the riser she was standing on and taking me with her. I’m sure the other families and photographers in the building heard us and said silent prayers of thanks that they weren’t us. We were the stuff of sitcoms, people.

Thank the sun, moon, and every single star we got one decent shot that I won’t cringe over (too much) when I see it in the directory. We pointed and shouted, “That one,” and got out of there as fast as we could. And now I am sitting here, 2 glasses of wine calmer, telling you the story. At least they don’t do this but every 6 years.

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