Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Photogenic Rescue Heroes Say Cheese

It was not my intention to play an elaborate trick on the 3-year-old. It is hard enough ensuring that he keeps his clothes on and doesn't eat our entire cookie supply in one sitting. Psychological games are beyond my poor frazzled brain. This one evolved quite innocently. My job was, simply, to take the children to the local firehall to be photographed. The Olan Mills people were offering a free portrait to anyone who had donated to the firehall. Now we have not gotten a good formal portrait of the 3-year-old in at least two years. He was okay with photography from about the age of four months to 18 months. We have some great shots of him taken by my friend Sandy Trainer-Kicman who owns Acorn Studios in Buffalo. (Transit Road actually up in the Williamsville area) She did some amazing things with him that made him appear like the heavenly angel he occasionally is. Here is the link if anyone is interested in having their child look MUCH MUCH better than Sears, JC Penney or K-Mart ever could. Anyway, after the age of 18 months our 3-year-old went into his Greta Garbo period. He just wants to be left alone, particularly when it comes to health professionals, barbers and anyone wielding appliances that flash at him. That would be the entire photographic industry. That isn't to say we haven't TRIED to get pictures of him. We have frustrated many a photographer with his dashing off the sets (in a loud-voiced, full-lunged bray, if you are singing along in a Christmasy mode) , destroying their props and having tantrums so loud that other customers have decided to give up and come back when their kids are ready to graduate. I remember one time we had him at the K-mart photo studio, and he exploded out of the studio and had a tantrum right outside in Photo Accessories. (albums, lenses, tripods etc.) Well there was a woman there who had an infant in one of those car seat thingies you can carry with you. The infant was 100 percent peacefully sleeping until our child arrived on the scene, hurling himself into the film display. The mother gave me an evil eye the size of the Cyclops. And believe me I'm sympathetic to people who want their kids to sleep. My philosophy is you NEVER wake up a sleeping baby, or disturb a happily playing one unless they are in the middle of traffic or tarantula is bearing down on them. But the fact remains that I was having trouble budging my son toward a less traveled area, and she could've EASILY sauntered away with her baby carrier. She wasn't looking for baby formula for Pete's sake. The photo accessories can wait! Back to the present day. Hubby calls shortly before the appointment to inform me he is still at work and cannot make it. So it is up to me to manage the photo session and any unpleasant emotions that could result therefrom. (As an aside I should note that the 5-year-old can provide beautiful photogenic smiles on command and will follow any instruction the photographer gives him except to use the women's restroom.) So I dress them up in nice clothes. The 3-year-old is growing suspicious. Are we going to church in the middle of the week? A restaurant? What could this mean? "We're going to the firehall," I announce solemnly. "So we can see the firetrucks." A complete 100 percent bald-faced lie. Which I could rationalize by the fact that we WOULD be seeing the firetrucks. The photo people were set up right next to them. Well the boys wanted to bring toys with them. The 5-year-old chose a plastic GI Joe camouflage airplane, and the 3-year-old chose two of his favorite Rescue Heroes. Now Hubby told me I should simply bribe them by offering a prize if they got their pictures taken. Well this is sort of silly, because the 5-year-old LOVES having his picture taken, and thus doesn't need to be bribed. While the 3-year-old HATES having his picture taken, and even offering him a bike, a dog and an ice cream cone with sprinkles would not convince him otherwise. So our little puzzle of the United States wasn't going to have any effect on either of them. But suddenly as I was saying, "There's a prize for you two if you.." a brilliant thought hit me! And I finished the sentence " the Rescue Heroes get their picture taken! Along with the GI Joe Plane!" Well. This made them both happy. VERY happy. Thrilled even. The toys were getting their pictures taken! I believe their names were Rock Miner and Billy Blazes. Unless he had Brandon Irons and Pat Pending. I get them all confused. We have a whole colony of them. As the session started the photographer told the 3-year-old "I want you to move over there..." I made a big hissing sound and got her attention while his face crinkled and hands went up in a defensive posture. The photographer turned toward me quizzically. "He isn't getting his picture taken today," I explained. "The RESCUE HEROES are." "Oh." She nodded knowingly. We were now reading out of the same playbook. It was quite possibly the most fabulous session ever. She had them say things like "Scoobie Doo" (their favorite show!), "Chuck E. Cheese" (We just went Saturday!) and "Poopy Butt" (my idea!) I don't know if I can extrapolate my victory into any other difficult-to-achieve activities, but right now I'm willing to bask in the flashbulb of success. Can't wait to show my parents the pictures of the two cutest Rescue Heroes I know.


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