We celebrated my son's second birthday this week. I can't believe my little guy has turned two! He seems so much older to me now. I know it's just psychological, but it seems real. In case you're thinking, "Duh...he seems older because he is older, Stupid!" Yes, I realize he is actually older. The problem is that he seems much older than we was 2 days ago. To mark the occasion, I took him to get his pictures taken
I love getting my kids' pictures taken. Pick a holiday and I've probably gotten my kids' pictures taken for that day. Easter...yup. Christmas...most definately. Halloween...yup, done that one too. Presidents Day...my son wore the top hat like Abe Lincoln. Ok, well I might be exaggerating on that one; however, I did get his pictures taken on Abe Lincoln's birthday, but that's only because my son's birthday is the same day. It's only been 2 days, but the memory is still a little painful and quite vivid. It might be good therapy for me to revisit my most recent trip to the Wal-Mart portrait studio.
My son was in a great mood when we arrived. He was chatting up the Wal-Mart greeter when we walked in . You know the one...smiley face tie, suspenders, and a handful of smiley face stickers. I always imagine the stickers have little swords and Zorro masks just slashing the prices for me as I walk through this store. Just like the commercials. Rollin' Back Prices. My own little price slasher stuck right on my kids' shirts. Until they get drooled on, dropped on the floor, put in the mouth. Yummy! Back to the story, we walked into the portrait studio (fancy name for a hole in the wall with a table for the kids to sit on) and he's all grins. The thought crosses my mind that I might actually get some good pictures out of him. I banish that thought to the far corner of my braining afraid that I have already jinxed myself. The photographer gets the bright idea that since it's his birthday, she will get some balloons from the Woodforest Bank next door for him to hold in the picture. Yeah...right! I haven't been a mom a really long time, but I know better than to think he's going to sit like a little cherub with balloons in his hands. His favorite thing to do with a helium-filled balloon is to try to bite it. Oh well. The photographer wasn't going to listen to my opinion on the subject. I'm just his mom who happens to hold the award for most visits to the Wal-Mart portrait hole in the wall...um, I mean studio. Ok, so they don't give out that award, but if they did, it would be framed in a cheap little Wal-Mart frame on my wall.
The Woodforest Bank was a little busy and couldn't get the balloons ready right away. No problem. My son had rummaged through the portrait props and found a small red step ladder with paint all over it. Since he was in a good mood and infatuated with the ladder, I asked if we could just have him stand at the ladder with the #2 next to him. She thought that might work, so we tried it. Bingo! A priceless picture. Thank goodness we got that one! The balloons finally arrived and he couldn't have been happier. Maybe this wasn't going to be so bad after all. She tried to get him to sit down...what a joke! All he wanted was to get back on the darn ladder. Instead of asking me if I wanted another picture of him on the ladder, she decided to take the ladder from him and hide it. BIG mistake, Lady! He threw a doozy of a fit. A fit that only a 2 year old is capable of throwing. If it had been the day before, it probably wouldn't have been as big, but now he's 2 and he's got to express it somehow! This photographer was a tough cookie, though and she wasn't about to give up just because of a little fit. The balloons were a good idea, but she had a better one. I could see the little light bulb above her head come on as she pulled a sucker out of the cabinet. Yes, you read that right. She tried to bribe a 2 year old with a sucker while attempting to photograph him. The rest of our picture attempts were of him reaching for the camera since she was holding the forbidden candy right up in front of the big foil umbrella. I was ready to cry right along with him because I was so frustrated. I asked if we could stop trying and just settle for the one good picture we got. She reluctantly agreed as if she thought she could somehow manage to save this train wreck of an experience.
What she did next will keep this memory forever burned in my mind. She bent down in my son's precious face and said, "I really wanted to be able to give this sucker to you, but since you didn't smile, I'm just going to have to put it away." I've never seen him beg for anything more in his 2 short years of life. He was frantically wiping his hands across his chest (sign language for "please") and saying "pease, pease, pease." I would have said something, but I took off in search of my tiny personal Wal-Mart Zorro to put his sword to good use!