As you know, I have huge teeth. We’ve discussed this. My daughter has quite large teeth too that will one day be spectacular but for now the orthodontist has just told us she needs a double plate, top and bottom. My 7 year old son has no front teeth at the moment and this gives a very cute look. It’s a look of mischievous innocence that he’ll never get again unless perhaps he becomes a hill-billy or a hockey player. But the other night when he threw his head back to laugh I noticed a white line – one of his new front teeth breaking through the gum. I had thought I’d try and get some family photos taken before his, presumably huge, new front teeth made their debut and at this point I realised I needed to get a move on. I quickly got on the blower to my friend who has recently started a photography business with his wife. I have seen their beautiful portfolio of some other friends who have 6 children, so I figured if he can tame 6 kids then 3 should be a breeze. On the phone with him, I tried to stress the urgent nature of the project. I think he heard the panic in my voice as if I were trying to outrun a tsunami and graciously told me he could come that afternoon.
Well, that meant much sprucing and cleaning since my kids’ play activities render them with hygiene levels similar to that of a gardener who’s just finished a hard days work. I had to get scrubbing, cleaning, washing and blow drying. There were complaints. There were tears. But I was on a mission. I WOULD capture forever the innocent smile of a child who had not yet been afflicted with the gigantuous tusks that I was anticipating considering my genetic legacy. I picked out clothes, cajoled children to get dressed, brush their hair and STAY CLEAN until my photographer friend arrived. Let’s just call him Adrian. Cos that’s his name.
Adrian arrived and my older two kids were happy, excited and very hyped up. They climbed around our Japanese Maple tree like chimpanzees and Adrian was able to get some good shots of these two up the tree, although their behaviour was starting to cause me embarrassment due to an extreme level of hysteria. They tried to keep still and smile but the undivided attention of a new adult and the temptation to show off was obviously quite difficult to resist.
Enter Miss 2, who is nearly 3. Although extremely cute, she is also fussy, clingy and stubborn at the best of times. But after enduring her least favourite activity of getting her hair washed and then being greeted by a strange man with a camera, she was determined not to co-operate. She screamed. She fussed. She whinged. She scowled. She clung to me like I trying to shake her off a cliff. Her teddy was brought out. Her dummy. A block of chocolate. Alas, nothing worked. She wanted me to sit next to her, screaming like a banshee if I even moved over 10cm to get out of the frame. My dear friend clicked away, trying his best to tame this mini-she-beast (as she will here-after be known).
That poor bastard. I felt completely humiliated by my offspring, all of them. The older two were acting like they were high on something and the youngest like an angry calf who’d just been branded. Our dog, Cedric, lazily wandered in and out of the frame, posing quite majestically at times, and appearing nonchalant at others. Cedric was by far the best behaved and, ironically, the one acting least like an animal. Adrian was delightful, patient and even had the compassion to blatantly lie to me and tell me he’d experienced many more difficult children. Although we both knew this to be a fabrication, it was nice of him to say. We got a few shots of all 3 kids with the littlest having a blank look which at least is an upgrade from wild bellowing, so I’ll take it. Other shots sans the mini-she-beast were great. But the shame of the day still lingers and will probably wash over me each time I see those lovely photos.
When Adrian left last night, I thought I’d hit parenting embarrassment rock bottom. But today I discovered that Adrian had accidentally left his camera bag in our yard. The mini-she-beast, apparently determined to really give him a kick in his metaphorical cameraman nuts, poured the dogs drinking water into it. As Rachel Green described using hand gestures you’ll just have to imagine, “But today, it’s like there’s rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me.” I totally understand ya Rach.