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Thursday, September 18, 2014

What Picture Day Really Looks Like

Judging by my school photos, my mom let me wear whatever I wanted and style my own hair.  I have hidden most of the photos.  However the yearbooks are still circulating. It makes me ill to think that at least 200 copies were issued for each school year, meaning that from K-8 there are 1800 awful photo proof of me out there.

It is a good thing I am not famous because the rumor mill would have been running had most of my elementary photos leaked.  It is safe to say that I looked like a butch lesbian. In one way, it is refreshing that my parents accepted that I may be part of the LGBTQ community at a very young age.  The problem is, that I wasn't and now I have to look at photos of myself with a mullet.  One of which had a spike on top.  Along with one of my brother's hand-me-down polo shirts with pit stains and a gold chain. Add to the fact that I already looked like a boy and I can see why I'm listed with only my first initial, N. in my second grade photo. The poor yearbook distributer didn't know what to think.

Bad school photos run in our family. In one of my husband's elementary photos he is wearing a party hat and has a fruit punch mustache. I KID YOU NOT.  Apparently he wanted to wear it and the photographer didn't notice. Why the teacher allowed a birthday celebration before pictures is beyond me. However, it was the 70's and they pretty much did whatever they wanted. In the 80's my husband looks like every facial feature is swollen.  Including his eyes, which were shut most of the time.

So you can imagine that I take picture day for my own boys very seriously.  I start thinking about their outfits weeks in advance.  You see, those photos are going to be on my mantel for the next year and if I have too look at them, I am going to make them aesthetically pleasing.

Our school hires a really great photographer. Gone are the days where you chose your neon background, or you place your hands on an artificial log as the fluorescent light dances off the over active oil glands on your forehead.  Their photos are done in natural light next to wild flowers.  So that is one thing we have going for us.   And the fact that they are all pretty cute.  Although, I have never heard of a parent describing their child as ugly… (and we all know there are some ugly kids out there).

I can appreciate that my mom let me wear whatever the hell I wanted but that is a luxury my boys don't have.  I lay out their picture outfit and they put it on.  It was a little chilly, so I insisted on layers. Plus, I like that kind of collegiate, professor look.  Who knows,  by the time they apply to college the school may require elementary photos in addition to blood samples. Besides, anything you put on the internet stays there, and if those photos come out decent, you better believe I will post them on Facebook, because nothing gives a mom parental street cred more, than your child looking perfect.

Perfection is all about smoke in mirrors after all, and to achieve it requires a lot of hard work.
This morning I woke up early because I knew I had to put my game face on for this battle.  Naturally, the boys all woke up with varying degrees of bed head.  Except my oldest who had taken a shower last night and then wore headphones while his hair was wet making it appear that he is wearing an enormous invisible headband.

They all have about 1000 cowlicks too.  Each of them having a lollipop shaped one right at the back of their head creating a spiral of Alfalfa looking hairs.

When my seven year old came downstairs he is wearing the layers in all the wrong order. The sweater was under the button-down shirt and he has put his older brother's pants on. Which means, his older brother came down wearing his younger brother's pants.  Not even stopping to notice they are 4 inches too short.  I almost let it go since the bottom half of the boys is not pictured, but for practical reasons I made them trade.  My oldest son is fully capable of dressing himself, but apparently not feeding himself.  Thankfully his sweater caught the yogurt that missed his mouth, but he is left with only one layer which threw off my entire collegiate theme and now he has a slight farmer appearance.

I took each of them into the bathroom where I turned the blowdryer on high and hairsprayed their hair straight up in the front. A little I trick I learned in 1987 when the higher your bangs meant the higher your self worth. Also, the boys hair falls flat in a matter of an hour so if the photos are taken in the morning their hair should be pretty perfect.

Toothpaste is also a threat so I instructed them to be careful.  To my knowledge there were no toothpaste incidents, but that would only be true if they actually brushed their teeth, which I cannot be 100% certain.

Somehow we were out the door with a few minutes to spare to capture this photo.  Although, their smiles are plastic, they are being forced to stand next to each other,  and they are fighting under their breath,  I'm proud of these little guys.

What I'm not so proud of is my short temper to get them this way. Hopefully, that memory will fade away, but the year books, those things never will.

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