When I was a kid, I dreaded school picture day. The only pictures I truly like are from kindergarten (because my smile was genuine, and I smiled my ass off) and, even though my hair was ginormous, my senior year (because they were taken by an actual photographer that was paid large sums of money). Between those years, the pictures are nothing but a documentary of perms gone wrong, braces, zits and, most of all, self-conscious smiles. You see, it was around 2nd or 3rd grade that someone was kind enough to point out to me that when I smiled, my eyes slammed shut and ended up looking even slantier than they already were. What resulted from me hearing this comment was spending the next decade half-smiling for school pictures, intently focused on keeping my eyes open.
Zach, on the other hand, has never taken a bad school picture. Even in 2nd grade, when I got a call from the school nurse immediately after he had his picture taken and she was pretty sure that he was sick judging by his high fever, and even though he must have felt like crap while he was sitting on that little stool under the bright lights, he took a great picture.
And so far, even though she only has a pre-school picture and kindergarten under her belt, Zoe seems to be continuing down the same good picture path. But then, looking back through all of the pictures I've taken of her over the years, the girl has never taken a bad picture, so I don't think she'll have anything to worry about.
Charlie, on the other hand, has a spottier history. His kindergarten picture is like mine -- the classic tooth-filled grin with his eyes slammed shut. Then there was the year that the moron photographer made him say Scooby-Doo right as the flash went off. And then there was the year that, despite being reminded multiple times that he should wear something non-ugly because it was picture day, he went to school in a zip-up hooded sweatshirt. Fortunately, I don't have that one in an 8x10.
Because of the fact that our junior high requires all students to wear a photo ID tag while they're in school, pictures need to be taken at the very beginning of the year. Or, in the case of the 7th graders, the pictures were already taken at orientation before the school year even began. Charlie, surprisingly enough, not only asked me to help him, but actually wore the outfit that I suggested. I'm sure the pictures will be great.
Zach's picture was taken yesterday, and although the event was written on his calendar and he had a couple reminders from me, I'm pretty sure he forgot, because our morning went a little something like this:
ME: Don't forget to pack your tennis bag this morning, including clothes.
ZACH: Umm, I'll just wear tennis clothes to school so I don't hafta change.
ME: You shouldn't wear tennis clothes for your school pictures. That's what your tennis pictures are for.
ZACH: Oh, uh, yeah, well, huh.
ME: So don't forget to wear something non-hideous.
ME: (20 minutes of silence later) It's 7:23. You need to get off the couch and get to the bus stop.
ZACH: No, it's only 7:22. I don't hafta go yet.
ZACH: Okay, now I'll go. Oh, is this outfit okay for pictures?
ME: Well, I can't really say that it isn't, because you don't have enough time to change. So I guess, sure, that outfit is great (even though it wasn't).
ZACH: No, these shorts are going to look bad. I should go change.
ME: Maybe you should have thought about this earlier, instead of while your brother is standing in the garage waiting to get on the bus that is on it's way. Just go.
ZACH: But I'm wearing a t-shirt! With a logo on it! I look dumb!
ZACH: Well? What should I do?
CHARLIE: Zach! I hear the bus! What are you doing?
ZACH: Thanks for your help, mom!
ME: Smile nice, dear! I'm sure they won't notice your shorts.
Considering the fact that he wore a shirt he hates and, because of the palate expander in his mouth working it's magic, he now has a gap between his front teeth which are also home to a new set of braces, I'm thinking that Zach's picture this year will be the equivalent of smiling too wide, saying Scooby-Doo, slamming his eyes shut and wearing a hooded sweatshirt, all at the same time.
But hey, at least that picture frame I have hanging upstairs stops at 8th grade. And no, I did not order an 8x10.