Our church is doing a picture directory. Many of you have probably participated in something like this before...Olan Mills comes to the church and takes your family portrait, entices you with a free 8x10, a free sitting and a free copy of the directory, and then makes their money selling you additional pictures.
This year I was open to being sold a picture of the kids (normally, we just sit for the directory and that's it). I don't have one with all seven (obviously!) and I happen to have a nice spot on my wall where I would love one. So, it was with high hopes--yet realistic expectations--that we entered for our sitting.
We chose the time slot right before Natalie's baptism so we wouldn't have to dress up twice (good thinking, eh?). I warned the photographer about Isabella (have I mentioned before on this blog that our sweet daughter actually has two personalities and can switch on you at any moment?) and he assured me that he was a professional and that kids like her didn't scare him. I raised my eyebrows at that one, but he was so very confident that he could handle her that I decided to let him.
At first, it went very well. Isabella was happy to sit on my lap and giggled prettily along with the older five children every time his SpongeBob puppet made a tooting noise behind the camera. A classy bunch, my kids.
As soon as Jay and I were removed for my requested "kids only" portrait, however, things went south very quickly. She refused to sit without me, screamed and beat her fists and fell down on the floor in a classic limp noodle move. None of the other kids could hold her and the frustrated photographer finally gave up and started taking photos with just the cooperative six. I let him know pretty quickly that I was not going to purchase as my "big deal" picture a shot that did not include Isabella, so he pulled himself up by his bootstraps and got double busy with SpongeBob. To no avail.
Finally, we had to do exactly what we did in our Christmas photo (see below). Jay had to lay down on the studio floor and hold her up from the bottom while she screamed. The photographer looked as if he really wanted to find himself another job.
But you know what? We got what is sure to be my all time favorite photo of the kids: Isabella is hoisted up by an invisible hand, face contorted into a scream, and every older child is looking at her and laughing. Real belly laughs, not silly "for the camera" grins. I loved it and promptly bought a 20x30 for my wall (to Jay's utter horror, although he, too, loved the picture).
The best part of this whole experience, however, came later. Our friends, who have four children 7 and under, went in for their portrait sitting later that day. Their 1 year old daughter was fussing and they apologized to the photographer who said, "Oh, she's nothing. You should have seen the family that was in here earlier today. Now THAT girl was a piece of work!"
That's my girl!