By the time I manage to extract Super Toddler and myself from the snowbank, we are both soaking wet but still 15 minutes early for the appointment. Sometimes, it is all in how you look at it, right? Awkward Dad holds Super Toddler in a vise grip for the rest of the way and I push the stroller; we slosh through Sears to a few stares. I try to tell myself that it is because my children are so cute, but it might be the squishing noise that I am making. We enter the photo studio and check in. We rock/paper/scissors for changing duties, and my rock falls to Awkward Dad's paper. I gather up Super Toddler and we seek a bathroom.
Said bathroom is about 10 miles from the photo studio and past every Christmas item you could possibly imagine, including a creepy animatronic Santa that laughs and sings at us long after we pass him. I can still feel his eyes on the back of my head, yikes! We finally reach the bathroom, sans changing table, of course. I peel off Super Toddler's sodden clothes and attempt to change him in the corner (on a portable mat I have for such occasions, having learned my lesson during a particularly disgusting bathroom in Indiana). Anyway, we are down to his diaper when a especially festive song comes over the intercom and Super Toddler gets the urge to dance. Well, who am I to stand in the way of art? He Michael-Flatleys himself over to the sinks and back, and then for some unknown reason, the bathroom is invaded by every other Sears patron. I don't know if someone told them we were giving out cookies or free animatronic Santas in here or what, but suddenly it is very crowded, blocking my view of Super Toddler's big finish. His twirls are impressive but I have a feeling that isn't why these ladies are staring at him. I race over and gather him up, hurry back to our corner, and change him as fast as humanly possible. All this changing has resulted in his hair standing straight up, so I go digging for the comb that I am sure I packed before we left the house. You all know how that search goes, so I won't bore you. It ends with me leaning Super Toddler over the sink and patting his head with water, trying in vain to tame his alfalfa. When this doesn't work, I do what moms all over creation do, after plenty of pre-child swearing that they will never, ever do this. I lick my hand and plaster his errant cowlick to his skull, causing gasps of horror or nods of understanding from the audience of women watching me, depending on age and parental status.
We return to the photo studio to find Super Baby chewing on a block and Awkward Dad discussing the finer points of gaming with a tween boy playing a hand held video game. While Awkward Dad and this boy discuss the best names for monster trucks and Super Toddler heads straight for some girls in festive velvet dresses, I grab Super Baby and change him right there in the waiting room because we are no longer early for our appointment. We are called back soon after that and I have to drag both Awkward Dad and Super Toddler away from their new friends. Awkward Dad comes willingly, more or less, but Super Toddler hangs on to his friends, "the princesses," for dear life and has to be bodily carried into the photo room. Resulting in this:
The unwillingness to cooperate continues and this and this quickly follow:
Of course, those are followed by these:
We give up on the joint photo at this point and pick the last one, even though it looks like a strange and terrifying mug shot from the turn of the century. Whatever, they are clean and both looking at the camera, and sometimes that is all you get.
We decide to focus on Super Toddler, who is much more interested in focusing on the waiting area princesses. To distract him for the royals, we petition for a large letter or number, knowing Super Toddler's partiality to over-sized anything. We settle on a huge 3, since he is now closer to 3 than 2. (Can you believe it?!) The number turns out to be a mixed blessing. It definitely distracts him from the princesses, but now he is so enamored with the number, that he won't look at the camera. To combat this, our expert photographer (who was about 16...maybe) tells Super Toddler to lie down in front of the number. Moving temptation out of direct eyesight and resulting in this:
Good enough! We free Super Toddler to cavort with velvet clad princesses, and we turn our attention to Super Baby. Now, bear in mind that Super Baby has turned mobile since our last experience with professional pictures. I won't bore you guys with it, but the next 10 minutes look a lot like this:
Oh boy. OK, eventually, after much pleading, dancing, and super human patience on the part of the photographer, we get this:
Pretty much worth the whole rotten day, right? Of course, the cherubic red cheeks are due to his illness and he completely blew out his diaper right after this picture. But we can just keep that between us, right? No need to ruin my mother-in-law's Christmas gift with the back story, eh? Thanks, guys!
Readers, seriously, it was the vilest thing ever, resulting in nearly a complete package of wipes and the evacuation of the changing-table-less bathroom. Probably serves Awkward Mom right for dragging her poor sick baby out just to feed her unexplainable need for professional photos. However, we will respect her wishes and just enjoy these glorious pictures of the Super Boys. Merry Christmas all!