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A different kind of Kodak moment in this house

Submitted by on Sunday, 23 November 2008 2 Comments

There’s an 8×12 spot over my fireplace that taunts me. I know I should do something about it, especially with Christmas approaching. I don’t think I can take the trauma, though.

The hole’s not empty: It’s filled with Boots and Big Guy’s school portrait together from last year. To the right of it is Boots’ solo shot.

I’ve dreaded replacing them ever since I realized taking Boots out of preschool meant I’d had to fight the picture battle alone this year, at a cold unfamiliar photo studio without his teachers to try to help jolly him out of his angst. Not that that worked last year.

Despite Boots’ hissy fit, that picture was actually perfect. Big Guy with an angelic smile, his arms around his brother’s waist as if he actually likes him. Boots, eyes wide and the slightest hint of a grin. That’s so not the way the photo session went down, so I was thrilled.

This year, I’m battling on two fronts: Boots, who has reverted to hating crowds of more than two people, and Big Guy, who goes into goof mode the second the strobe light comes out.

In his kindergarten portrait, his eyes are lolling to the left and his lips are clamped tight as if he’s trying to hide missing teeth. Except he has all his teeth. The result is a cross between contemplative and constipated.

When they handed me his soccer pictures with a gentle “you can have it retaken next week,” I knew I was in for another treat. His mouth forms a grimace grin and his shoulders are tensed as if he’s waiting for the soccer ball to attack. At least we know he has teeth in this one.

He’s worse in the team picture. Eight shiny, happy teammates, one beaming coach and one player who looks like he’s struggling to hold in gas. Maybe he was — we’d had spaghetti the night before, and it has that effect on him.

All of which has me worried about getting a new group shot. Pressure’s on, because photos are the traditional Christmas gifts for part of the family.

I’m thinking that if I can arrange for a photo session where there’s no one else in the studio but us and the photographer — and if I don’t serve spaghetti that day — everyone might survive. Yeah, right. Fat chance this time of year of finding a quiet studio.

So maybe I’ll just skip the formal stuff.

Like Elizabeth at parentingpink.com, I don’t have to have the Stepford photo with everyone smiling sweetly. That’s why I didn’t have either of Big Guy’s pictures reshot this fall. They’re real. They’re literally a snapshot of him in all his goofy glory. I’ll look back years from now and say, “yep, that’s my kid” instead of asking “who’s kid is that?”

But I’m thinking that, this year, rather than risking the wrath of Boots, I’ll just line them up and shoot them myself. That way, it will leave less of a public HazMat scene to clean up if I have to shoot myself before it’s all over.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • ParentingPink Mommy said:

    Oh, I so know how you feel! But I must say, that I LOVE the soccer picture! Love it! It’s priceless. And his kindergarten one is darn cute too. In fact, they are both beautiful boys with great personalities – you can just tell from the pictures. Like you, that’s what I love about truly “candid” shots – you remember the moment and capture the genuine essence of your child. What could be better than that? Um, besides drinking lots of wine after the photo shoot. LOL

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Debra said:

    You know, I kind of like that soccer picture, too. It truly captures Big Guy in all his goofy goofball glory.

    It was way too early to hit the merlot after the shoot, though — 7 a.m. on a Saturday. Which might be why Big Guy looks so freaked out/gassy in all the shots.