Yesterday was “Take Two” of picture day. About three weeks ago, I had this absolutely brilliant idea of taking my 6 month old daughter and 16 month old son to get their pictures done at a portrait studio. Now, honestly, I cannot actually say how I thought that it was going to be possible to get the both of them in one picture – let alone each of them in their own pictures, without chaos, tears and a few meltdowns. I made sure each of them had eaten before leaving the house and had taken a good nap. I knew it was going to be a bit crazy . . . every day with little kids that age is, but I must have been insane thinking that it was going to work out.
We got to the studio and things were good. My little daughter who hates everyone that isn’t me had a huge smile on her face and was babbling away all the way there. My little man was smiles and giggles and squeals of delights. From the car to the stroller, things were working in the right direction. The stroller to the entrance . . . still is looking good! Maybe things were going to work out OK. Although I had contemplated bringing along a friend to help keep control, I really was thinking that between myself and the photographer, it was going to be OK! Then we walked into the studio. There must be some crazy camera smell that sets kids off. Or maybe it’s the bright lights that gets in the eyes of innocence and corrupts it. Who knows. But, the second we walked in, my peaceful trip and all my thoughts of “yippee! It’s going to work!” were quickly killed. My daughter got this look in her eyes that said “put me down and I’ll take your eyes out with my delicate little finger nails!” My son, on the other hand, had a spark of mischief in his little hazel eyes and I knew I was in for my money. I unlatched the stroller restraint and my son took off light a pony at the track. He saw the props and the camera and the lights and the photographer and just must have been thinking about how absolutely FUN this place was! I took out my daughter and her big eyes were just pleading with me not to put her through such torture.
The session started and although the photographer convinced me everything was normal and good, I knew in my heart that this great feat of motherhood was not going to be mine for the victory lap today. It was chaos! My son would pose for approximately .345 seconds and take off the “explore” whatever there was to be explored. My daughter just cried and screamed as if we were cutting off her toes. The photographer lady just kept on giving me instructions. Did she not notice the insanity of baby in her studio??? Were her jingling toys and songs to make the baby smile work? No! They just intensified everything. It was a complete nightmare. After about 10 minutes of baby chasing and baby calming, I thanked the nice lady and rescheduled. It was so not meant to be. I was just upset and frustrated and honestly, felt like mommy failure.
Trying to look at the whole scenario from an objective point of view, I should have known going into the whole picture taking session that it was meant to fail from the start. Taking pictures of a 16 month old alone is a huge job! That is the age where they want to move and run and play and really just don’t understand why they need to sit and smile and pose. With the baby, well, you just never know what you are going to get. It’s a new experience and probably a bit over-stimulating, especially for my baby who like the peace. Yet, even KNOWING all that, it didn’t make the afternoon any better for me. I had at the back of my mind the belief that since my babies were good in public 98% of the time, that I would be able to handle brother-sister pictures nicely. I thought that I wouldn’t need that extra set of hands and would be able to boast to the “people” that I had gotten fabulous pictures done of my babies together all alone. It was a pride thing. Men like to brag about how fast they got somewhere or how much weight they can life, but us mommies like to brag about the feats of motherhood we overcome. For me, it just sucked that my attempt at pictures didn’t work out. It was a true, public, motherhood failure for the books.
So, I went home and was pretty angry. Angry at the kids (yes, I know that that isn’t OK – but, I’m just being honest here!) and annoyed at myself that I didn’t get the pictures like I wanted to. So – we all went for a LONG LONG walk and by the time we got home I was all better. And, I rescheduled the pictures.
This second shot was yesterday. My husband doesn’t work Tuesday afternoons, so I naively thought that he would be able to come and help out. . . you know, cuz in theory, Daddy’s do that! I went through ht the whole nap, eat, clean up and dressed, pack the car and go thing all over again. The only obstacle was the little dress I had wanted my daughter to wear was way too small now. How fast they grow! Well, and the whole “help from Daddy” thing too.
I told my husband we were leaving at 2:30. The appointment was a 3pm. 2pm rolls around, he is waking up from a nap. 2:15 he is going to “take a cup of coffee in the sun” and 2:30, after I had gotten the babies fed, clothed and packed up in the car, I am sitting in the car with two babies and no husband. 2:35. 2:40, he saunters out of the house, shirt in hand and gets into the car. He looks at me as if I was crazy and says “There is never any time to rest.” That in itself was reason enough to write another novel, but, I keep my mouth shut and drive off.
We get to the studio moments before our appointment, and as we are getting the kids out of the car, my husband moves slower and slower. I can’t understand WHY! Hello, sir, we have an appointment! But, I again keep my mouth shut. I just want nice pictures of the babies! We get there and his help isn’t there. He is so protective of our daughter, that he doesn’t ever move far enough away from her in any of the “brother-sister” shots, that you see his shoe in all the frames. He is reprimanding my son, about every 20 seconds, because the 16 month old is acting 16 months old and not like a 10 year old. He tells the photographer what she can and can’t do with our little girl. It is too much. I think that at this point, I am about ready to explode. Was it better than when I was there alone? Who knows! My baby girl is so overwhelmed that she is crying – constantly- like the first time. My son is still running around and “exploring” the free world – like the first time. The difference? This time I am running after him with my husband yelling at him. I am still holding a crying baby – with my husband looking at me as if I were making her cry intentionally. Finally, we finish the pictures of my son and I send him and my husband on a long walk. I need peace. The baby girl needs peace. We end up taking a TON of great pictures of my daughter. Smiles, giggles and happiness!
At this point, I am just thrilled that between the tears, yells and running Little Man, we have gotten quite a few BRILLIANT pictures! It was hard deciding which ones to purchase. In the end, I think I made rash decision because my husband was “so hungry – starving” that I just had to hurry. The behavior issue this time was a 38 year old man, not two little babies. But, I got some great pictures!
The moral of the story? Well. That is a great question. First, pictures with babies this age are hard – especially when you want both of them in the same picture! Second, husband don’t help! Bring a friend! Third, it’s all worth it because the pictures are adorable and will bring back the memories of the crazy picture days of babyhood!