There were no mice. There were no men. There was, however, an appointment to have professional photos taken for holiday cards and gifts that went very, very awry.
Being the Type A girl that I am, the holidays often send me into fits of panic over the numerous gifts I have to buy, cards I have to send, desserts I want to bake, functions I need to attend. etc. So as soon as the calendar flipped to November, I called to make an appointment to have Isabella's photos taken both for our holiday cards, and to give as Christmas presents. Last year, I created our card myself from a photo we took of Isabella in front of a Christmas scene the hubs created using a red blanket and our stockings, but since we wanted updated professional photos of her (we first had them taken when she was 7 months old) we decided to use these photos as our holiday cards too.
I spent all last week worried that she would end up with a black eye or a face full of scratches for her photos because toddlers? Not the most graceful group. But Saturday morning rolled around and she was black-and-blue- and red mark-free. We were in business!
She had a great morning. Ate a great lunch. Took a great and rare two-hour nap, and got up in a great mood. I put her in her dress and sweater, we loaded her into the car, and smiles and laughter were in abundance. My dear sweet daughter didn't even fuss too much when we strapped her into her stroller (normally something that would send her into a frothy-mouthed fit of fury) to take her into the mall.
We waited our turn in the packed reception area, and when it was Isabella's turn, we set our little bundle of joy on the table in front of the Christmas background. I stayed by her side in case she decided to jump off the table, and the hubs positioned himself near the camera so he could make her smile and we could beat a fast exit out of the chaotic photo studio. The photographer went behind the camera, ready to start snapping
the precious darling went all Pouty McGrumpyPants, and was decidedly not ready to cooperate.
We spent 20 minutes in that studio trying to get my stone-faced and scowling daughter to crack even the hint of a smile for the camera with absolutely no luck whatsoever. She spent the entire time with furrowed brows and an expression on her face that looked as if she had just been told that General Foods had stopped production on Cheerios.
Yours truly made a complete and utter fool of herself. I sang her favorite songs from library storytime, which always make her smile and clap, at a fevered-pitch. I made raspberries noises. I did Peek-A-Boo. I even sang the child Happy Birthday, as this song, too, usually makes her laugh and dance. For a split-second, I almost considered pulling up my sweater and flashing her my belly button, as she's constantly begging me to do, before I rejected the idea on fears of an arrest for indecent exposure (the room was filled with small children, after all).
I put on this display in front of an entire waiting room full of parents and their children who no doubt were having a hearty laugh at my expense.
Nothing worked. Isabella didn't even respond when I told her she was looking at 5 years of Botox and chemical peels to rid her of the lines in her forehead that were forming right this very minute!
The photographer called it a day, and while the hubs took the child, who was now all Sunshine and Happiness, for a walk, I went to look at the photos.
They were Not. Good.
She is scowling or frowning or looks hysterical in all but one of them. And the expression on her face in that one looks like she was caught mid-sneeze.
We left without buying a single photo.
To tell the truth, I was slightly annoyed at the photographer. Isabella was in no mood to have her photos taken, which is understandable. Kids are unpredictable.
But the photographer only took about 12 shots total. I know nothing about photography or the rules under which this Large and National Department Store that rhymes with Lenny's runs its portrait studio, but there were several moments during the shoot when Isabella's face wasn't contorted into a puckered mess and she wasn't snapping any pictures at all. Why not continually snap picture after picture in the hopes of getting one or two good ones? Even if she wasn't smiling, I would have liked a serious shot of her.
We have another appointment tomorrow to try again.
May the force be with us.
*The second try netted results no better than the first. This time, though, I had the added pleasure of having the power-tripping manager of the photo studio taking Isabella's pictures and informing me that no, I could not stand behind the camera to try and make Isabella smile, despite the fact that the hubs was allowed to do this very thing with a different photographer during the first attempt. There was one photo that was decent enough to use for a Christmas card, and that's all I bought. Viva la digital camera.