We have been busy setting up the new house and my 15 year old asked me why don’t we have any nice posed pictures of all the kids that we can hang over the mantle. There are lots of candid shots of the children…but not one of those beautiful posed portraits…you know the kind that is so beautiful some people even have an oil painting made of it. I smiled to myself thinking about the last time I had the bright idea to try and get a posed portrait of the six children.
When I had my first child, I took pictures of her every time she did something new, from the first time she smiled to her first bath. My second daughter has a few albums with pictures of her, but you can see the trend slowing down. Poor baby No. 6 doesn’t even have a baby book (but it is on my list of things to do. It’s been on that list for 5 years.).
My goal last year was to get pictures of the children. I contacted a photographer who was having an Easter special. The special was pictures of your children outside with bunnies on a beautiful spring day. And because it was a special it was only going to cost me the equivalent of one car payment (of course that is just for the “sitting”; the actual pictures cost quite a bit more).
But if it captures them at this moment and I don’t have to try and pose them, I figured it was worth refinancing my house. So I called the studio and made the appointment with the receptionist. A week before the appointment the photographer herself called me and said that with that many children she needs to schedule a special day to photograph them and that the Easter special applies to smaller groups. She said large groups might scare the bunnies away.That’s fine; not even a professional photographer being afraid to take a picture of my six children will stop me from getting a picture to remember them at this age.
I decide I will just do it myself. So after the baby’s nap I get the kids dressed, and we head outside for the big photo shoot. I get the big children lined up and positioned in front of the big oak tree and place the little three in front of them. The 2-year-old is drawing in the dirt, and the baby cries for me to hold him. My 5-year-old says her nose itches, and my 9-year-old says her hair looks stupid. My son won’t put his football down, and my oldest daughter strikes a model-like pose every time I say smile.
“Please, kids, let’s take a nice picture for Meme and Papa,” I say, hoping that maybe hearing me say it is for their grandparents will motivate them to cooperate. I try to bribe them with treats and Happy Meals as I plead with them to just stand still, keep their hands to themselves and SMILE. I blow bubbles to make the little ones smile, but they end up running after the bubbles. I am sweating in the heat, so I suggest we move the photo session inside.
Moving everyone inside and getting them in position for the photo takes another hour. Someone has to go to the bathroom, the girls want to put on lip gloss, my son has to have a glass of water or he will “die,” and the baby needs a bottle. Finally, we are ready to go. In every picture I snap, someone has his or her eyes closed, or the baby is sliding down the couch, or someone put their hands on someone else’s head to make bunny ears.
That’s the problem with digital cameras. Since you can immediately see the picture you took and how bad it is, you have to keep going to get the perfect shot. With the old cameras, you just took a few pictures and hoped that one of them turned out.
After three hours of trying to get a picture, I give up. Sure, I have some really funny pictures, and, in all honesty, these pictures tell the story of who my children really are today. I am saving these pictures because we will all look back and laugh about the day mommy tried to get a picture of the kids. Maybe that photographer had the right idea to be a bit afraid of getting six kids to sit for a portrait. But I captured them just as I wanted, as the little people they are.