Monday, February 6, 2012

The curse of the family photos...

Let me start with a few apologies. Over the past week, I've been alerted to two things:
  1. People who have sent me a message through my website have not received a response. Let me assure you Oprah and Ellen, for I have a feeling it was you cause you hound me every week, it's not because I don't love you and deeply admire what you do. It's just that it wasn't working properly. Up and restored. Send away.
  2. After watching videos on my blog, particularly How to kill a mocking turd... and What not to do 2 weeks after giving birth..., users have been subjected to related YouTube videos popping up, particularly some good old-fashioned porn. Apparently including the words “R-rated” and “giving birth” and "this has nothing to do with having sex" in my blog post gave YouTube (solid) justification to pop a related video on my blog of a woman named Beyoncé giving birth in a bathtub (not the Beyoncé, but still...), followed by a shall I say this....being delivered...doggy a man over a desk. Fair enough. Who am I to judge? At any rate, to those who were offended, my deepest apologies. To those who enjoyed, you're welcome. I successfully wasted 30 minutes of my life coding HTML to fix this problem so you'll now have to go elsewhere to get your thang on.
With that out of the way, on to the topic at hand. Family Photos....insert shudder. I'll confess, I'd rather pull out my eyelashes, one at a time, than take a family photo. Without fail, we all end up getting pissed off at each other, and look ridiculously irritated in the final snap. Getting one photo with everyone looking at the camera at the same time, both eyes open, with something resembling a smile is about as elusive as obtaining photographic evidence, or scat samples, of Sasquatch.  At some point, I'll show you the highlights of our ill-fated attempts to capture love and peace over the years, because dudes, do I have some shockers. Until then, let's talk about the appointment I had scheduled for James's 6-month photos a few weeks ago. I had initially booked it for Friday, January 13th. If I wasn't suspicious of Friday the 13ths before, I'm having second thoughts about it now. Because it hindsight, the whole venture may have been cursed right from the beginning.

So remember I told you the flu virus hit our home with the wrath of Genghis Khan? Well, so happens that was the day family photos were supposed to happen. That, and James had developed a nasty ear infection; seeing as he was the man of the hour, I cancelled and rescheduled for two weeks later to give him a chance to get better.

So, fast forward to the last week in January. Over the course of the two weeks leading up to the rescheduled appointment, a few things happened. James, as if sensing I was making fun of him for not sitting up yet, decided to do just that a day before he turned seven months old. But he didn't stop there. Immediately after accomplishing that, he decided to start crawling, grew a couple of front teeth to match his bottom two, and decided to start tackling the stairs. Within those two measly weeks between initial photo shoot and the rescheduled one, he went from cute little baby (hence the desire to capture the 6-month phase) to beat up looking I-do-stairs-now-and-other-badass-things. I may as well have rolled a pack of smokes up his sleeve and gotten his (inevitably horrible) Grade 10 photo out of the way.

Needless to say, he was almost bruise-free the day before the photo shoot. I was watching him like a hawk, keeping him as far away as possible from any potential danger; it was like he was in the witness protection program. The day before the shoot, I had made an appointment to get my naturally 27 years ago blonde hair enhanced. Translation: I looked like roadkill. A skunk, to be exact. My sister graciously agreed to watch James while I slipped out for my repairs. When I dropped him off at her house, I said something over-the-top grateful, like:

"Please don't let your kids claw at him like a pack of bush wolves."

I returned a while later to find him in good health, completely unscathed. Apparently my sister held him for the entire two hours to make sure he didn't get a scratch. I'm menacing like that. So I proceeded to bundle him up in his carseat, chatting away with my sister, blah, blah, blah, go to set him off in the corner by the door to start packing up the diaper bag, when we hear a gigantic thump. I looked over to see that the car seat had tipped, but he was still in there, trapped by the car seat cover I had snapped around the top. "What the hell happened there?" I thought.  We raced over to find that I had in fact not strapped him in. Rather, clearly I was too preoccupied chatting with my sister; when I was putting his sweater and jacket on, I must have had the sensation that I was strapping him in. Please don't ask how my brain works. (Quick answer: sometimes, it doesn't) At any rate, he had flipped around in his seat, was face down and had smoked, I repeat, SMOKED his head off the top of the carseat.

"I'm pretty sure that counts as being on your watch, not mine." my sister said. There was really nothing to do at that point but laugh, because I'm such a loser. (We only laughed AFTER we made sure he was alright. I'm not entirely heartless; he's a wee baby after all, not a toddler.)

So I called our photographer that night...told her what happened. Left out the details of how it actually happened, as I'm not sure she actively books lunatics for sessions.

I sent her a few photos...tried to make the damages appear small.

After reviewing these photos, here's what she said: "I'm a photographer. Not a magician." No, she didn't actually say this. She's far too nice for that. This is something I would have said to someone like me. Hence, why I don't take people's photos for a living. She, being the wonderful trooper that she is, told me to bring the family on down, she would see what she could do. Bless her cotton socks.

But that's not all. I then had to tell her that over the course of the past two weeks, my daughter has developed a lazy eye. I told her that I didn't want to talk about it in front of Peanut, make her feel bad about it, so not to worry about getting any shots where they're all looking straight at the camera. Doesn't appear that will be happening anytime soon. I'm not sure how this happened so quickly, but friends, her beautiful big eye is stuck. More on that optometrist visit in a post later this week. Here's what I'm talking about:

All this to say, my husband now refers to these maladies as The Curse of the Family Photos...

We soldiered on and got the photos taken. Terri Schous is a magnificent photographer here in Regina; we've gone to her for professional photos for all three of our kids so I can vouch for her. If you want the money shots of your wee babies, then she's your gal. As for the rest of our clan, I was one big hot, stinky mess during the entire photo shoot. Roddy had to dash off after a few minutes (fake meeting, I assume...) leaving me alone with three kids. I don't know whether it was the hot, bright lights, my cramps or just the pressure, but I don't think it was my finest hour. You see, I'm not good with professional photographers, period. This is by no means an indication of Terri's personality; hell, she's one of the nicest people on this planet. No, it's not that. It's more to do with their apparatus. I'm very frightened of their powerful I-can-see-that-nose-hair lens and that holy-shit-it-appears-as-though-you-have-not-slept-in-47-hours mug shot. That, and the smile on my face in most of these photos has an element of: "I sure as hell hope you're not capturing my face from that angle because let me tell you, I look completely bat-shit from that angle." I swear, you can sometimes see the actual fear in my eyes. Leave it to a professional photographer to capture that, too. (I prefer to call this realism, not vanity. Work with me, here.)

In the end, my husband took a few photos of me with the kids that weekend. Mainly because I had showered and got my hair done, which in and of itself is a brief, miraculous moment-in-time worth capturing. That, and I'm much more relaxed when we're not under the bright lights in a studio. I'm at my best when the pressure is off.

Here are some highlights:

Jack's new thing is to make this ridiculous face for all photos.
Wonder who he gets that from...
Needless to say, we can't seem to take a photo without looking like a pair of fools.
Which pretty much captures the both of us perfectly.
His joyful spirit leaves me breathless, and in tears of laughter. 

My little Peanut...oh, how she warms my heart. Her shy smile, her infectious giggle.
I think she knows she holds our hearts in her hands.
This little guy? He's the highlight of everyone's day.
There's usually a fight to see who can hold him and make him laugh first.
The good news? He's got a big enough heart to make us all feel special.
This picture makes me laugh. Hard.
I've heard that blowing on your child's face
will get them to look at you for photos.
That is, unless your breath makes them want to hurl.
Then they'll just close their eyes, attempt to click their heels three times
 and dream of being transported to Kansas.
Jack and my own little Jimmy Dean......

I'll leave you with this video of James's first official crawl. I had just put out this green playmat for him so he could get a better grip and learn how to crawl...turns out he didn't need it. Did a few yoga moves and then crawled right off the darn thing in less than a minute. Show-off. I love how textbook his crawl is as sliding around on the tummy to get used to the idea for this little guy. He decided to get right down to business. He's like a wind-up baby. Thump, thump, thump, thump. (It's also rather embarrassing to admit that his downward dog puts all my yoga attempts to shame. I may enlist him to do the 30-day shred with me...that'll give me someone else to yell at.)

p.s. if a porn-related yoga video pops up after this video as a result of the content in this post, well then, as the saying goes: "Namasté, motha f*ckas."

I may have recoded the HTML to "fix" this problem but with "me" and "HTML" in the same sentence, hell, in the same universe, there's a much better chance this blog will self-destruct. It's been nice knowing you.


Prairie Love Photography said...

bahaha!!! you absolutely kill me. so glad wynter told me about your blog. i must say, your kids are so stinkin cute I sure would LOVE to photograph your family this summer!

Laura said...

Oh, you have a wonderful way of making me laugh and cry (in a good way)... thank you!

ceegee said...

Two days before scheduled "all-I-want-for-my-milestone-birthday-is-a-family-picture" pictures with my folks, our youngest skidded down the front stairs in spectacular fashion. In the aforementioned pics, he is happily perched on Grandad's knee, sporting a carpet burn the size of a quarter. (You are not alone!) Thanks for the blog.

Janita said...

Prairie Love - glad you're enjoying! Laura - thanks for that. You made my day. And ceegee - that made me laugh out loud. "skidded down the front stairs in spectacular fashion" I can picture it in my head. The funny part is, after all is said and done, those are likely the photos we'll pull out one day and enjoy the most. xo

Daniele said...

omg I totally hear you on the fam photo stuff. We did some back in November and of course the day before the shoot my 2 yr old decides to put a shoelace type string in her mouth and pull it back and forth, therefore creating little burns in the corners of her mouth so she looks like a little joker. That is how it always goes! lol!!

beautiful pics with your kids!

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