My little boy is going to turn 4 years old next week. That is extremely surprising to me. Where did the time go? It seems like he was in my belly, kicking the crap out of me just a few days ago.
Every April brings about a major milestone – Jackson’s birthday pictures. We go to Sears and have them done. We used to go twice a year (every six months) but it was just too much for us. Getting Jackson’s picture taken is kind of like getting a shark to let go of your leg after he has clamped down. I’m not exaggerating. By the time we get home I feel like I need medical care. To get ready for the special occasion I always buy Jackson a new outfit and we give him a haircut. The last time Jackson had a haircut was back in December while we were in Florida. At any given time it took 3-4 people to get that haircut done. I was not looking forward to another one. But his hair had grown long and it had to be done. The mistake I made this time was trying to do it alone. Kevin was working late and I thought “I can do this.” Turns out I can’t. Imagine having one hand with an electric shaver in it and the other hand holding a squirming child’s head, arms and upper body still. It’s just not humanly possible. I did incorporate some of my recent relearned yoga moves though. I put my leg up in the high chair to pin his arms and hands down. Balancing on one leg I then used one of my arms to pin his head still while using the other hand to cut his hair. Did I ever mention that I got the Parent of the Year award last year from the Guild School? They are probably going to ask for it back now. Anyhoo, even that didn’t work. I got his hair to what I thought was an acceptable look. I was fairly proud of myself. Until the next morning when Jackson woke up and I saw numerous unshaven sections of hair on his head. The kid looked downright pathetic. His Daddy laughed when he saw it, I warned his therapist to not laugh but he couldn’t help himself, and his respite care provider laughed almost every time she looked at him. That night we (I now had help from Daddy) tackled the hair again and it finally came out decent. 2 attempts at a haircut.
This year as we were driving to Sears for the dreaded birthday pictures my optimistic husband said “I think this year is going to be different.” I love him for his hope. But I think he also cursed us. Indeed this year was different. It wasn’t just one long excruciating visit to get his picture taken, it was 3. Our first visit didn’t entail any smiles or very many attempts to look at the camera. I even came prepared this time – food, drink, extra clothes, extra diapers, and of course toys that typically get his attention or illicit a smile. Those toys were worthless. Jackson wasn’t having any of it. It didn’t help that he was kind of lethargic that day. After about an hour and no response the photographer suggested we come back later. We headed home with an appointment for later that evening. We got home, fed him, and put him down for a nap with high hopes that he would wake up smiling and happy. He woke up a little less lethargic so we decided to give it another try and headed back to Sears. It was a wasted trip. He still had no smiles or interest in looking at the camera. The kid was killing me. Again we left with an appointment for the next day. The next morning Jackson woke up in a happy, laughing mood. Yes! We were going to get pictures done today, I just knew it. Back to Sears we went. As soon as we got back in the picture studio Jackson recognized the place and the non-smiling, camera ignoring kid returned. Dangit! We were desperate, so I had to take desperate measures. I’m not proud of it, and I definitely reached a new low, but I got out the Teddy Graham’s and started bribing him with food. “See the cookie Jackson? Smile and Mommy will give you one!” It worked for a total of 3 smiling pictures and that was the end of our picture session. We did manage to get those three good pictures, however, the best one of him smiling also showed us a mouth full of food. You win some you lose some. 3 attempts at pictures.
As Teddy Roosevelt once said “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” Point taken Teddy.