At my first baby shower (pre-three boys) my mother-in-law gave me a Christmas quilt. Each year my children are subjected to posing with it for holiday photographs.
Last year my mom and I once again took the boys into Sears Portrait Studio at Golden Triangle Mall. I was relieved when I noticed the studio was deserted. The one photographer on duty did not seem pleased that we had made it to our appointment.
I explained to her that I brought a quilt to use for background. I then went on to explain how previous photographers had attached it to the Sears’ portrait studio equipment for the last 6 years. I need ONE portrait 5 x 7 to match the 6 I have at home from previous years.
She took the quilt and started what turned out to be a 15 minute process of quilt arrangement. I tried to be helpful, but she was a bit hostile.
Finally, she called that she was ready.
She arranged the older boys kneeling behind a chair where the baby was to sit.
The baby freaked and we spent 5 minutes bribing, cajoling and tricking the baby into the chair. It worked. We are picture ready!
1, 2, 3…POP! I pop the binky out of the baby’s mouth for the picture…
No series of flashes.
Nothing captured on film.
I turned to the photographer and said, “I am going to pull the binky out so you can get a picture.”
Meanwhile, she is fussing at the older boys for moving despite the fact that they have been amazing little statues for the last 8 minutes kneeling.
1, 2, 3…POP!
I yell, “OK, we are ready!”
A flurry of post-picture movement ensues.
*Get everyone settled down*
1, 2, 3…POP!
and finally as if in slow motion…
By this point the older boys are legitimately complaining and needing to move.
I ask if we can switch poses.
Nope. This is the ONLY way she can get the portrait 5 x 7 I requested.
That is weird. I guess all portrait 5×7 pictures in the entire universe of 3 boys have two on their knees and a baby in a small, white wicker chair in front of them.
I calmly suggest that they all sit.
That won’t work!
At this point she is saved by a phone call.
While she is out of the room answering the phone I arrange the boys on several red blocks I find in the room.
I announce, “we are ready!”
1, 2, 3…POP!
*yep, more silence*
The boys are off in 3 different directions.
I say, “OK, we are finished”.
She says, “I have to get individual pictures”.
“I am not going to buy individual pictures”.
She sets up for individual pictures.
Boy #1: Sitting by himself. Almost in tears.
She is yelling, “Smile! I can’t take the picture until you smile!”
It was ugly.
So ugly that grandma stepped in and said, “here lets take a picture on grandma’s lap” so she got positioned and flash:
Whew. One down.
Boy #2: Sitting on grandma’s lap. Traumatized by recent photographic events. Fidgeting. Grandma gently rocks to calm him.
She yells, “stop moving! I can’t take the picture if you move like that!”
The rocking continues because boy #2 is upset.
“Take the picture!” I scream.
That is enough!
I say, “we are done”.
Grandma takes the boys and heads to the mall play area.
The photographer starts to chase them into Sears.
I say, “what are you doing?”
She says, “MA’AM, I CAN’T EVEN SHOW YOU THESE PICTURES UNTIL I HAVE 6”.
We have been there for 30 minutes and she only has 5 shots.
“TAKE MY PICTURE NOW!”
And then she poses me.
Sideways to the camera, looking over my shoulder and with both thumbs in the back pocket of my mommy jean capris.
And that is how I ended up with a picture of myself with a pleasant “mommy about to make the 6 o’clock news with violent attack on photographer at local department store” expression on my face.
She had her 6 shots.
I bought ONE portrait 5×7 of the first shot.
Holly wrote this story last year for June Cleaver Nirvana. It is one of her favorite stories and she has vowed to post it yearly…