Monday, December 20, 2010

Awkward Mom vs Photos - Part I

Awkward Mom takes on a photo shoot at Sears...oh me, when will she learn?

Christmas 2008, we decide that we need professional pictures of Super Toddler. No one really knows why we decide this, but suddenly there it is. A strange compulsion that just appears that first Christmas. No one explains that this is going to happen; no one even bothers to warn you. I am thinking of writing to the editors of “What to Expect When You are Expecting” and asking them to include this phenomenon, so that no one else is surprised by this irrepressible urge to pay someone to document the existence of their child in front of a winter-themed backdrop. We can’t fight it, so, we haul our 10-month-old bundle of joy off to Sears and have it done. It is glorious. He smiles. He coos. He poses on a sled, while wearing a tiny sweater vest with a reindeer on it. It is like a Christmas Baby Gap ad sugar-dipped in extra cuteness. We are elated with the results and we give those pictures to everyone; grandparents, friends, relatives 8 times removed, folks on the street. We feel that we have captured Norman Rockwell’s Christmas in that close-up of Super Toddler, in a festive onsie and itty-bitty corduroy pants, gazing beatifically toward the painted mountains over his right shoulder.

Christmas 2009 is a different story. Awkward Dad is deep in his residency interview travels, and Awkward Mom is very pregnant with soon-to-arrive Super Baby. Our sugary-sweet 10-month-old has morphed into a rather active toddler. Add to that a family-wide battle royale with arch-villain Stomach-Flu. Yea….photos don’t happen Christmas 2009. They happen by Easter 2010 and are a rushed affair, squeezed in between playdates and packing. Super Toddler attempts to run through the scenic backdrop. Super Baby falls asleep while posed on some black velvet bunting. We use a coupon, don’t even bother with props, and buy the bare minimum photos that we need for grandparents. And thus, our shameful decent into second child neglect begins.

Determined to not repeat the slacker holiday of last year or neglect Super Baby anymore than we already have (where is that baby book, anyway?), we call up Sears and make an appointment. Then, we sit back and pat ourselves on that back. Too soon, it turns out. Super Baby comes down with some explosive GI concerns, and I do mean explosive, my friends. If I could bottle what is going on in his intestines, I could be the next Alfred Nobel. (Wikipedia him, I’ll wait.) Needless to say, we have to reschedule, and we do, for the day we get a massive snowstorm and Sears cancels on us. They then reschedule us for a Tuesday evening at 7pm and we take it. We take it knowing that Awkward Dad will be on call the night before. We take it knowing that the doctor’s office told us Super Baby’s virus can last 2 weeks. We take it knowing that no sane parent takes their children to the mall so close to Christmas. We take it because…well, I don’t really know why and “What to Expect When You are Expecting” won’t tell me. Whatever deep physiological forces are at work here will remain a mystery, but know this; they are strong enough to get all of us to Sears at 7pm on a Tuesday.

First things first though, we need some cute outfits. Luckily for us, Aunt Awkward has sent her Christmas gift early this year and it is an entire box of child couture. Ok, well, it is an entire box of clothes from Gymboree, which is couture enough for me!

Super Baby selects a festive monkey onsie and sock set, made casual cool with his pairing of jeans and bedhead. He throws on a red and brown sweater to tie the whole look together. Genius!

Super Toddler dons a dinosaur themed ensemble in muted beige and brown, paired with grey cords and casual, yet fashionable sneakers. It is a true feast of the eyes....especially if you are a hungry T-Rex.

Now, you aren't thinking that I dress them in these outfits and let them wear them to the mall, are you? Oh no. Familiar with Super Toddler's flying leaps into any available snow, and painfully aware of Super Baby's current GI maladies, I tuck these stunning fashion creations into a bag and dressed them in stained sweaters and frayed jeans. We all pile into the car, 45 minutes before our appointment (a new record!) and head into early evening traffic, which is extraordinarily heavy in our neighborhood this time of year. Must be all those holidays shoppers completing their Christmas lists....hmmm, guess I ought to make a list. But hey, if this picture field trip works out, guess I won't have to!

After a harried drive to the mall and a discussion with Super Toddler that Awkward Dad just thought he saw a donkey in a passing car, hence his calling to him in a rather loud manner, we arrive in the Sears parking lot, ahead of schedule. Amazing work! We bundle the boys into the double stroller and make slow and sure process toward the door. New Flash, it appears that Super Toddler can now unbuckle his stroller strap. This, of course, results in an escape of epic proportions. He narrowly avoids collisions with 2 cars, while drenching his boots, the lower half of his pants, and all of me (who, by the way, has no change of clothes in Mom's magic diaper bag). I tackle him into a passing snowbank. As I lie there, clutching Super Toddler and the teeny tiny shred of my dignity that isn't soaking wet, I debate the wisdom of taking the boys for professional photographs. What is so great about sparkly backdrops and giant birthday numbers anyway?

We'll be sure to tell you, in the next installment of Awkward Mom! Be sure to tune in; this one has huge number 3s, diapers worthy of Mr. Nobel, and this:

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