Picture Day, Almost

Yesterday was picture day at Viva’s preschool. Her last photo came out so great, I was excited about taking a new one. I’m not a good photographer and I have neither a quality camera nor any photo-editing skills, so my pictures of my kids aren’t good. I have a friend who is a professional photographer turned stay-at-home-mom and her photos make me green with envy. Her daughter is a great photo subject. She’ll wear her hair in a bun, put on vintage pink sunglasses and ballet slippers, then casually page through a book while her mom snaps away. She ends up looking like toddler Audrey Hepburn.

I tried to take a picture of Pringles sitting on the mini sofa I bought for the girls.  In the foreground is Viva, blurry, hair wild and untamed, face tilted up perfectly so you can see up her nose. Yes, it will be a hilarious memory. Yes, it captures her personality. No, it isn’t going in a frame on my wall.

The professionals not only have the top of the line cameras, they have the right lighting. After the picture is snapped, they eliminate fly-away hairs and blotchy rashes. The result is a frame-worthy photo I can mail to all the relatives. A Kelle Hampton version of my child.

My first mistake was telling Viva I was excited about it. My enthusiasm is a trigger for a quality she has that I like to call “I will shit all over everything you love.” Strike one.

The second error consisted of trying to make her wear something special and pretty. Strike two. I brought the dress along to preschool anyway. Knowing my Viva like I do, there was a very real possibility that she would get to school and have a grief tantrum because she wanted the dress that inspired her earlier rage tantrum.

When we arrived at school, the kids were having circle time. One of the teachers suggested I take her next door to get her picture taken. We had to wait our turn, and Viva was quiet and clingy. When her turn came, the photographer tried to entice her with tickles and teddy bears. Viva gave her the death glare she perfected in babyhood. The one that would make toe-pinching little old ladies in the grocery store roll their carts away. My friend Kate, a mother of three and grandma of six who never fails to get a smile from a child, only ever got ice-cold emotionless stares from my girl.

The co-director of our preschool was there too. She tried to help convince Viva, but my daughter only shook her perfectly poofed curls more vehemently. When she was boosted up into the chair despite her protests, she burst into tears. That’s where I gave up. Strike three. You’re out.

I’m not going to force her. She has her reasons. I know people hate parents like me, but I just don’t force my daughter to do things. I coax her if I can, and okay, maybe I’ve “forced” some hand-washing and teeth brushing, but those are for her health and well-being. A photograph is just something I’d like to have.

I offered the opinion that she might do better if I weren’t there, and they agreed to try again after she had some playtime with her friends. I left the dress for them. Again, she might demand it, thinking that she couldn’t have it. Odie came home with Viva on one hip, clutching the dress and unopened photo envelope in the other fist. He shook it at the sky with a “grrrr.” No dice. I tore up the envelope with the check inside and comforted myself that I saved us $40.

She tries my patience on a daily basis, but I love her as fiercely as she hates everything I ever try to make her do. My friends try to reassure me that she’s just a brilliant child and therefore moody and challenging. Let’s go with that.

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About Mrs Odie

Like you, only funnier.
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6 Responses to Picture Day, Almost

  1. Mrs Odie 2 says:

    this post may be poorly copy edited because Pringles is screaming in my lap and I took three head butts to the carotid, one to the larynx and one to the mouth.

  2. Barnmaven says:

    Between six months and about four and a half years, my daughter hated to have formal pictures taken. The ones we DO have were either the only picture taken out of a hundred where we distracted her enough that she didn’t realize what was happening or they are a picture of a very unhappy little girl with a tearstained face. Fortunately she did outgrow it and her pictures since have been lovely. My son, on the other hand, is a complete ham and pretty much always welcomes a chance to flash a horribly cheesy smile for the camera.

  3. Julie says:

    My oldest is like that. We even gave a name to the face she’s made since she was an infant. If looks could kill, everyone who ever tried to make her laugh as a baby would be dead now. I found, after spending tons of money on pictures of her eat crap face, bribery works well. Especially if it’s something she rarely gets. Her bribe is a lolly pop. Girlfriend smiles for all she’s worth, then demands the lolly pop.

  4. Mamaof3 says:

    Frame some of the unflattering ones and put them up where everyone can see them. When she wonders why just explain that is the face she made so you must use it. Vanity starts early and I bet you get a sweet smile next time.

  5. GHF says:

    Hey, be thankful she has the freedom of mind to refuse to be photographed. Think of poor Lainey Hampton and her “Mommie Dearest” mother who arranges her environment 24/7 and expects her to pose and perform on command so she can rake in the dough. Can you imagine the childhood memories that poor kid will carry around? She’ll have flashbacks at age 25 of a giant camera in her face at all times.

  6. Kelly says:

    Viva sounds like a deliciously normal toddler. I wonder about the future of the children of some of the mommy bloggers who photograph their every move. What kind of message does that send? What kind of ego does that encourage? And how are mothers ever “in the moment” if they always have a camera between them and their children? While I certainly think that photos are wonderful keepsakes and I enjoy mine, some of my favorite memories of my daughter are undocumented ones that I carry in my mind and in my heart.

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