Today I took the youngest child to have his pictures taken. I do this because 1) his birthday is at the end of the month, and 2) Christmas is coming (the geese are getting fat) so it's almost time to send out Christmas cards.
This child, we'll call him "Udo," has never been very good at the whole studio-portrait lark. Actually, old Udo is really bad at it. Aside from the photos that were taken when he was an infant and couldn't run away, picture time is a trial.
He will not sit or stand still. He tries to break the equipment, and when he realizes that he won't be allowed to do so, he runs away. Then I have to chase him, and I can't beat him in public because someone might call the cops. But I was thinking that he's a year older now, he might behave a little better. But just in case...
I try to psych him out ahead of time. "Oooh, Udo, we're going to have pictures taken. Yay! You can smile nicely for the lady and say "cheese" like a big boy!!"
And Udo goes, "Yay, let's have our pictures taken!" And up to the point that he's actually in front of the camera, Udo is going "Yay! Pictures!! Say, 'cheese', Udo!!"
(This child refers to himself in the third person quite frequently. I hope it's just some phase through which three-nearly-four-year-old children go, and not that he's a fledgling sociopath.)
Then the photographer tries to get him to sit on a little stepladder thing.
"NO!" yells Udo. She removes the stepladder, and tries to get him just to stand.
"NO!!" yells Udo. She brings over a set of little wooden steps, and miraculously gets three poses out of the child by shaking a feather duster at him. No shit, a feather duster. Have I mentioned that I sometimes wonder that this child doesn't require a drool cup and a helmet with a bite guard?
Then we try for a Christmas background, and Udo screams "NO!!" We try for a plain background with Udo sitting on a little tricycle.
"NO!!" screams Udo. "NO NO NO!!!"
I threaten Udo. Udo wants a Playskool Bulls-eye Ball game for his birthday. He's seen the commercials for this thing on Cartoon Network, and he finds them intensely exciting. He wants one so badly, I'm sure it hurts. He seems to think that the children featured in the ad come with the game. "I will throw the balls, and the kids will say 'yay'!!" he says. "I want a bouncy ball machine for my birthday," he declares about twenty times a day. It's been the first thing out of his mouth every morning and the last thing I hear at night for some time now. So I threaten, through clenched teeth, "You won't get a bouncy ball machine for your birthday unless you sit nicely for the lady and say 'cheese'!!!"
Udo's longing for the Bouncy Ball Machine seems to have suddenly subsided; "NO I WON'T!!" he bellows as he tries to wriggle from my vise-like grasp.
So we did get some pictures, but not many. I had taken along his new little grey cordoroy blazer, hoping to have some pictures taken in his snazzy ski sweater, and some in his little preppie blazer. That didn't happen. I had to make due with some of my own snaps with the digital camera when we got home, and I had to bribe him with french fries to get them.
I hope that this is the child that's saddled with my care when I'm old and infirm. I'm going to spend all my time shouting "NO!!" at him, and if he ever tries to take my photo I'm going to either cry or jam my finger up my nose. I'll always behave the worst when there are people around who might object if he hit me. Then right after he gives me a bath, I'm going to run behind the couch and shit my pants.