Tomorrow morning we will load up the crew (eventually) and head downtown for our first family photos. We had talked about scheduling a family picture before, but every time we’d get ready to book an appointment another kid would end up falling out of my wife. (Hey, hey, hey! Keep your feet in the stirrups, ladies. I’m just joking about the “falling out” part. Believe me, I, of all people, know labor is involved. I was sitting right there in an uncomfortable hospital chair watching basketball on a grainy television on four separate occasions. I get it.)
Closest thing we have to a family photo. Not sure if the photographer will want crotch grabbing or not.
But now that we are officially done with the birthing phase of family development (read: snippage), my wife decided it’s time to capture a lasting image of the McFadden Six. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little unsure about this. I’m fully unsure about this .
Number one, getting everyone ready for the pictures and out the door is going to involve some major-league teeth grinding. With four little kids, we’re talking mass showering, hair fixing, tooth brushing, and dressing. On a good day that’s a one or two-hour ordeal. Plus, my wife and I have to be presentable. Now, I’m not certain that there’ll be a swimsuit portion of the shoot, but I plan on wearing the banana hammock under my jeans just in case. And if there is, obviously I want to look my best, so I plan on doing a little manscaping south of the border (if you know what I mean), which tends to be a tedious affair with the tweezers and duct tape and all.
It’s a five-minute drive downtown, so if we’re supposed to be there at nine, we’re going to have to start thinking about loading up no later than 6:30. As I’ve mentioned before, actually leaving our house tends to induce migraines, whether we are going to be gone for ten minutes or two weeks. We get two kids loaded up, then Perpetual Motion spots a rabbit and takes after it, so I go get him. Upon returning, the Hellcat has disappeared. I find her shoeless (and likely shirtless), bouncing on the trampoline. Snatch her, back to the vehicle, and then catch a whiff of #4, who was locked and loaded, smelling like one of the Garbage Pail Kids. Unbuckle and into the house for a diapersectomy. On the way I spot Slim glued to the television, watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode 71, “Yoda Opens a Can,” for the 500th time, but he just can’t miss this part. And he’s right: you really can’t miss this part. So I plop down on the couch with him, and then the wife finds me, the Mini Jedi, and Small Boy with Caustic Diaper watching tv. Cue angry eyes. Like I said, it’s just hard to leave the house.
Number two, the shoot is literally going to take place downtown, as in out in front of the buildings and out in front of the public. I’m already envisioning a nightmarish scene where the photographer snaps a series of pictures capturing the true essence of our children: fighting, rioting, looting, rocks and hard-plastic horses and sippy cups shattering storefront windows, the kids scrambling back out through the shards of glass with armfuls of Laffy Taffy and Mark Teague books, parked cars overturned and set ablaze, innocent pedestrians pestered incessantly by rabid, snot-nosed minis shouting random gems like, ”MY BROTHER GOT A BUNNY LAST WEEK! HE POOPS A LOT!,” and a chain reaction of motorists rear-ending one another as they gawk at #4 dry-humping the pig statue on the corner. The kind of chaotic scene one might witness if The Backyardigans were to win the NBA championship.
Natural look for The 4-Year Old Boy. Nice.
Number three, and what worries me more than the potential for lawsuits filed by the citizenry, is that our kids might say, “Cheese!” Parents know that this dirty little six-letter word has made many a small child look like he or she was straining to take a crap in volume after volume of family photo albums, yet we parents don’t have anyone to blame for this but ourselves (although that probably won’t stop us from blaming the President).
It doesn’t take long to figure out that yelling ”Cheese!” is the last thing that you want to teach your kids (actually, teaching them to hotwire a car is probably the last thing you want to teach them, but you get my point). We’ve tried to break our kids of the habit, but they’re too well conditioned. As soon as they see someone unbuckling a camera bag they start screaming “CHEESE!,” chins jutted out like Jay Leno, neck tendons stretched to the point of snapping. We’ve tried to get them to say “Monkey!” because I read somewhere that words starting with “M” are supposed to be more photo-friendly for mouths, but then they just started shouting “MONKEYCHEESE!,” which is far worse from a photogenic standpoint and, frankly, sounds pretty disturbing.
This photographic dilemma comes on the heels of The 6-Year Old Boy’s elementary school pictures, although I was actually encouraging him to say “Cheese!” in that setting. Kids are supposed to look dorky in those photos, and shouting the six-letter word pretty much ensures it.
So, if you happen to find yourself sitting in a pile-up tomorrow morning watching a band of miscreants running around screaming “MONKEYCHEESE!” and violating the statuary, don’t be alarmed. It’s just our family pictures.