Readers note: I had a life-scarring memory of my own School Picture Day circa 1982. I was in 2nd grade and we were in the school gymnasium when the photographer mistook me for a boy. As I crawled onto the swivel stool and prepared to smile in front of the hazy blue backdrop I was slapped with some harsh words. “Smile Mr. Green Jeans!”
In an attempt to make me laugh the photographer thought he’d come up with a real humdinger. Except I was a girl. I was chunky, had buck teeth, my hair was cut short and I was wearing teal slacks. Anyone could have made the same mistake. I have forgiven the photographer, but the memory will live with me forever.
On to today’s post…
The hot tady hangover is gone, the liquid latex and fake blood has finally washed away and it’s time to toss the sunken face, Jack-O-Lanterns. With barely anytime to bask in the afterglow of a well-planned and executed Halloween, it’s on to the next big thing. Not, Thanksgiving, not Christmas or Hanukkah, but School Picture Day.
The staging and costuming is almost as involved as Halloween for my family. The Biz e-Babies are still in pre-school so they each get an individual photo of themselves taken as well as one of them posing together.
It’s great for me that the school does the “siblings together” shot and saves us having to set an appointment at Sears or one of the other photo studios. Those photo shoots rarely go as planned. Each time it seems we take the kids for a photo sitting–scheduling the appointment for the perfect time—after lunch but before nap time; it still goes horribly wrong. No matter how many times we try and no matter where we go, the kids inevitably end up sitting there in the waiting room with three other double-booked families, running wild, crawling on the floor, and wrinkling their little outfits. That in turn makes me flustered and schvitzing as I rifle through the diaper bag looking for spare toys, snacks and a comb to keep them busy so I can re-groom. It never fails.
By having School Picture Day, I can limit my stress and anxiety to simply coordinating my son’s and daughter’s outfits. It’s best to leave the real action with the blessed parent-volunteers who have more patience than I.
So yesterday morning, I thought I had planned what they were wearing. At first, I wasn’t going to make a big deal of it and figured between the two of them, I could come up with something that matched without going to the trouble of buying a special picture day outfit. (Yes, they have to coordinate so it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye when sitting on the mantle.)
I had laid out a cute little brown crocheted sweater with a pink and orange flower for Biz e-Baby1 and some brown corduroys with matching sweater for Biz e-Baby2. It was a nice fall color scheme, but better yet, it already existed in the closet so I’d saved money at the same time.
That was until we went out shopping later that afternoon. As fate would have it, I saw the cutest little cream and pink argyle sweater on sale for my daughter and a sumptuous little matching cable knit fisherman sweater for my son. The photo Gods spoke to me. I made the purchase.
With clothing nailed down, the next order of business was hair. Neither one of them have ever had a professional touch their head. I still cut my kids’ hair. I’ve dabbled in adding some layers and bangs. In fact, I have been known to give myself a cut when I just can’t wait to get into the salon. I am impatient. One of the obvious side effects of self-styling is that it usually doesn’t turn out 100% symmetrical. It also can take a day or two after the first round of cutting to discover some of the missed spots or flyaways that require touching up. It’s an ongoing process. I trimmed my daughter’s bangs over the weekend while in the bathtub and she’s now good to go. But my son would not hold still. I took a snip here and there while he was in the bath too, but he really could still use some evening up. He was too much of a wiggle worm to do any real trimming.
The problem was (and still is) I need an assistant. I must find someone hold his head while I shape the bangs and sides. Otherwise, he’s libel to lose an ear. My husband won’t have any part of it, so I may be out of luck by tomorrow’s school pictures.
Last but not least, to pull off a successful School Picture Day, breakfast and lunch must only be made from neutrally colored, non-staining foods such as oatmeal or toast. In other words, don’t feed your baby orange carrots and expect him to pose in a little white tuxedo without some serious risk. (Yes, dumb me did this for Biz e-Baby2’s baptism pictures and he puked orange everywhere down his chest. Hello…Photoshop!) Tomorrow, lunch boxes will contain stuffed pasta (no sauce), bread, apple, Cheerios and water.
Tonight, I will put the final School Picture Day preparation to bed and cross my fingers that all my planning pays off. The rest is in someone else’s hands. I just have to pray that despite all my hard work my Biz e-Babies don’t blink when the photographer says, “Say Cheese.”