A few days before Christmas, The Today Show aired a filler parenting segment titled, A Parent's Guide to the Holidays from their ongoing series Parenting Tips for Those Who Have Been Parenting Under A Rock or Parenting for Those Who Cannot Think for Themselves. Matt Lauer interviewed a panel of experts consisting of a magazine editor from a popular family magazine, a lifestyle expert, and some fat guy (I am not being insulting here, this is how he introduced himself) who wrote a book with a self- deprecating title. The theme was At What Age is it Acceptable to _____________? At what age is it acceptable to let your teenager get drunk with you on New Year's Eve? At what age is it acceptable to pull the rug out from under your unsuspecting child's feet and let them know the truth about that jolly visitor from the North Pole? And, here is my favorite, at what age is it acceptable to stop taking family pictures? The answer was a resounding: when it ceases to be enjoyable. Hmmm, are we there yet? Thank goodness for the wisdom that The Today Show bestows upon me because I honestly thought, as you may remember from my previous posts on the subject, that family photos were an acceptable form of child abuse and torture.
In our family, we extend the tribulation to visiting relatives. See Exhibit A below. This is a sketch of my sister, her husband and my two lovely nephews who were visiting from Las Vegas. They had only been in Buffalo for 24 hours and the boys were still on Vegas (Begas, as my 2 year old nephew, G calls it) time. My sister had not gotten any sleep the night before from trying to settle the boys. They were out of sorts from having missed their naps. Yet, it was imperative to my family to catch a shining Christmas Eve moment with all four of them. Look at how the little one, my nephew Lu, is fighting and giving up at the same time as he tries to contort his body and become dead weight in his mother's arms. Most of the 200 photos captured G, in his Michael Cera haircut, with his head down, clawing his way out of his father's grip.
I wanted a portrait of H, my Dad, and me. "Ooh, ooh! Let me!" offered First Born Son enthusiastically. Like a kitten sidetracked by a ball of tinsel, First Born Son was mesmerized by the camera flash. Or, he was spellbound by a novel way to annoy me. He started giggling sadistically at the outcome of his picture taking, a series of images with our heads cut off, our mouths distorted as we pleaded, "Stop! Stop! I'm going blind!" Our eyes uneven and squinty. I tried to push through the blinding light which singed all of my senses; and, I pawed helplessly, hopelessly at him trying to recover my camera. But, he contined to dance around just outside of my grasp. I was so disoriented, but I thought I heard him singing, "That's what you get! That's what you get! For all of those years, doing us wrong with your camera lens!"
|These are the kinds of photos you get when you hand your camera to a teenager who is out for revenge.|
On the final day of my sister's visit, we gathered the kids together. There are six grandkids. If I thought that trying to get a photo of four kids was difficult, six kids is impossible. The Baby was one hour past done. G was too rambunctious from eating a dinner of cookies, with more cookies, and some fudge. H was antagonizing First Born Son by showing him affection. And Princess Commando shouted out through the clicking and snapping of 4 cameras with flashes on, "Ugh! The paparazzi!!"
If six kids is impossible, then eleven people and Simba is just plain silly. But, we did it anyway.