I’m pretty sure schools created picture day to ruin my life.
I start planning our picture day attack twelve hours in advance because we have to be there early. Like at least fifteen minutes BEFORE our alloted time slot since, in the school’s infinite wisdom, FOUR OTHER FAMILIES have the SAME TIME SLOT. Plus, anyone who shows up early just gets put on the list in the order they appear. And we all want to be out of there by nine. WE ONLY HAVE THREE HOURS TO DO EVERYTHING!
Step one of the plan is to explain to my son that tomorrow is picture day.
E responds: I WANT TO WEAR MY SOCCER CLOTHES.
His soccer clothes are the many uniforms that he has collected from various soccer teams and a soccer obsessed father and godfather. Most of which are currently in the wash. And four out of five are SHORTS and tomorrow is a high of fifty-four degrees in the South (which translates into Yankee as dressing like it’s thirty degrees).
I should’ve just given up there. But he didn’t come by his stubborn by accident. So I move on to step two.
This step is influenced by the fact that our preschool allows for sibling pictures and consists of sorting through the kids’ clothing for matching without noticeably matching outfits. I accidently color code them blue and pink. But I’m okay with it because it turns out we don’t dress our kids like picture day preps on a regular basis so I have three choices. Two of which clash.
I show E his outfit with the glee that only a mom which delusions of kids tilting their heads to the left JUST A LITTLE MORE and holding that adorable smiling. And I add the promise that he can change into his soccer clothes (minus the shorts) just minutes after the picture is taken.
He falls asleep ten minutes later. I remain delusional until morning.
We wake up, and I spend the first hour and a half trying implement step 3, also known as getting dressed, with a variety of bribes, punishments and positive parenting techniques (at least four) to make my vision, of beautiful babies in sweater dresses and button-downs captured perched on a white chair in front of a blue cloudy background of serenity, a reality
Instead, I see a half-naked boy running around screaming I HATE PICTURES and a little girl in the pink dress and ONE WINTER GLOVE who won’t take her coat off.
And, of course, once we arrive at school, we get booted out of line. TWICE. Because N is SMILING so she MUST BE OKAY STANDING THERE FOR TEN MORE MINUTES. Bad call school people. Because those were her final ten minutes of smiling. Once she goes in front of the camera, she cries. And cries. And the photographer thinks he can solve it by poking her in the stomach and speaking in a high-pitched voice that causes the neighborhood dogs to hump legs. Unless we are going for the desperately reaching for me with her pathetic lip pout look, I think that we’re done.
And my son? He eventually goes to school. With clothing on. I see this as a major victory. Because I am again firmly grounded in reality.
Here are my picture day photos:
And I didn’t even get a picture of N in her dress. But I do have a video clip which MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, makes up for the torture of picture day. Mostly because I asked: What do we say to Mama for all her hard work?
Or perhaps: N, say thank you.