Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...
June 14, 2010
A Lesson in Portrait Timing
This is Henry's 3-year-old portrait, and I'm so, so, so happy with it. It's from JCPenney. Studios vary so much depending on the photographers, but ours has at least three photographers who are EXCELLENT. Like, there's this fleeting half-second smile in the middle of a tantrum, and they CATCH it.
I don't think you'd need to be a parent to figure out that it's a good idea to bring the child's portrait shirt with you to put on at the last minute, or that it's a bad idea to go for a ketchuppy lunch right before the photo. But something it's taken me awhile to learn is DO THE PORTRAIT FIRST. The appointment is often at an awkward time, like 10:30 in the morning, and so I think to myself, "Oh! I will go earlier and I will spend the time before the appointment browsing in Target!" No. Whatever time the appointment is, it is best to arrive for the appointment and not try to do anything beforehand. I have an anecdote to illustrate one of the reasons for the wisdom of this policy.
Yesterday my mom and I brought Henry to the mall to have his portrait done, and like the pros we are we did the photo session FIRST. It was a grueling session: Henry was PERFECT for the first photo (the standing one, above), but then he burst into tears and yelled "I WANT TO GO HOME!!!!" and continued yelling it, pausing only to say "NO!" to anything the photographer suggested. He wouldn't stay put in the photo area and kept flinging himself into my lap. When he DID stay in the photo area, he wouldn't show his face. I felt so sorry for the photographer, and I had no idea what to do about Henry.
Afterward we went for a ketchuppy lunch, which was delicious. And at the end of it, Henry started crying and saying he needed to use the potty, and it turned out it was Too Late. And furthermore, it was the kind of Too Late that necessitated throwing his underpants in the trash can and putting his pants in a plastic bag. (Best thing in my diaper bag: empty Target bags. I have used them for all sorts of mishaps.) (It wouldn't have to be a Target one, of course. That's the kind I happen to have the most of. Plus, they're sturdier than some other kinds. Sturdy is good for mishaps.)
I got him cleaned up and put a too-small diaper on him because I didn't have any replacement undies for him (I haven't needed diapers in the diaper bag for so long I was lucky to have the two too-small ones), and then I wrapped his lower half in his blankie for modesty and warmth. We went to Target and I looked at the clearance racks for a pair of pants for him. There was a cute pair on clearance for $5, and even though he's still in 2T pants (like me, he's tall but has short legs) I bought the 3T ones so I could feel like it was a wise purchase for future wearing, accident or no accident. I went through the line, then sat on the bench right there and took off the tags and put the pants on him, and they were really cute pants. I will confess that I felt pretty awesome, like I had totally handled a tricky problem in a way that was happy for everyone. And do you remember what goeth before a fall? Yes.
We continued shopping, and Henry was in his stroller. It is a brand-new stroller, because the stroller I bought for toddler Rob ten years ago finally broke unfixably, and even though I felt dim buying a stroller at THIS point in the child-rearing process, I really did get my money's worth out of that first one, and I DID need one still, and so there it is. In short: he was in his new stroller, and this was the third time we'd used it, and I was still feeling happy about how fun it was to have NEW baby equipment, looking NEW!
And he started crying and saying he needed to go potty. And I looked down and it was Too Late. Here is the kind of Too Late it was: 20 minutes later, I emerged sweaty and dazed from the crowded Target bathroom with a child who was wearing only a too-small diaper, shoes, and socks, and who was sitting on several layers of paper towels in a wet stroller I'd cleaned the best I could. I was out of wipes, and I had with me a knotted Target bag containing unthinkable laundry for later.
At these times it is useful to think to oneself, "No one REALLY CARES what anyone else is doing." As I strolled my enormous, diaper-and-shoes-and-nothing-else-wearing 3-year-old through the baby clothes department, we attracted some Looks but I thought to myself, "No one REALLY CARES. Try to act nonchalant."
I remembered that we had the shirt he'd been wearing before I changed him into his Portrait Shirt, so we only needed pants. I looked for the 2T pants I hadn't chosen earlier, but they were gone, and there were no more 3T pants either. Finally I chose some orange shorts, which was a little disheartening because he has so many handmedown shorts I already need to get rid of some. But at least he didn't yet have any cute orange ones. I also got a package of wipes. I found my mom, got my purse, put the t-shirt on him (the t-shirt had been stuffed in my purse), went through the checkout and bought the shorts and wipes, and this time I felt less Awesome than I'd felt the first time.
Isn't it nice we did the portraits FIRST?
Posted by Swistle at 6:08:00 AM