Friday, September 7

Pictures, Please

It's no secret that there are a lot of pictures of the toddler that runs our house. A LOT of pictures. What you might not know is that it's not an accident or overzealous parenting at work. It is a carefully plotted scheme developed for one reason: I have no photos of me as a child. Seriously, not a single one. I know of a portrait of me when I was about a month old and another of me with my brother when he was about the same age (I was 3), but I don't have a copy of either one. I also don't have a single one of my school portraits. And snapshots? I know there are about five or six in existence, but I don't have them. I have asked for copies, but no one seems to be able to provide them. (Ahem. I said, AHEM, You who could fix that. Yeah, you. AHEM.) So, few photos were taken and absolutely none were handed over to me. Alexis will not be having that problem.

While that's the main reason, there are some others:
1. The Grandparents that live really far away tend to like to see their Granddaughter on occasion, even if it has to be by way of photos. In person is always better, but just not all that doable sometimes.
2. Dude, have you seen Alexis? She's freakin' cute! And photogenic! How could I not take pictures of her?

Anyway, with the advent of digital cameras, it's a piece of cake to get snapshots of her at least once a week. And for a very long time, it was nothing to take her for portraits somewhere. I actually took her every single month for the first year of her life. Sometimes we went to Picture People and spent a fortune, sometimes to Target and spent a little, and once we even went to Wal-Mart and spent next to nothing (and the practically free pictures sucked, I should add). It would take about five minutes and we would have these really great photos--most of which are framed and hanging in our hallway. Sort of a shrine to all things Alexis.

But then she learned to walk. And suddenly getting her portrait taking became something like trying to wrestle a cheetah to the ground with two hands tied behind your back and 400-pound shoes on your feet. We somehow managed to get some 15-month portraits and then didn't even try again. Until 18-months. For whatever reason, 18-months seemed like a required portrait time in my head. Like it was some sort of monumental milestone or something.

The first time we tried (oh, yes, it took multiple attempts), Daddy went with me and we visited The Picture People at Robinson Mall. This was a carefully selected destination based on prior experiences. I loved the photographer we last had there and the pictures were phenomenal. In fact, one of those pictures was hanging in their studio up until a few months ago. It turned into a lesson on all that can go wrong at a portrait sitting. The first problem was that Alexis was sick. I don't know what got into me, but I figured it would be a good idea to keep the appointment even after she had spent the prior day throwing up all over me. Brilliant, I know. When she's sick, she's clingy. As in her feet will catch fire if they touch the ground and oh! how she will scream. Add to that the fact that the photographer had the personality of -oh, I don't know- a COUCH, and we had a problem on our hands. Alexis wasn't sitting or standing anywhere that didn't involve a parent and the Couch was just standing there staring at us. Um, hello, could she have tried to make friends with the toddler? Apparently, no. Instead, she showed Daddy how to push the button on the camera and instructed us to go ahead and take a picture if Alexis decided to stand where she needed to be. And left to make like a couch somewhere else. We ended up walking out without a single camera click.

I wasn't willing to be defeated with just one attempt, so I made another appointment at a different Picture People (South Hills Village to be exact--I was hoping they didn't employ couches). When I made the appointment, I made it a point to say we needed at least two sessions because this was not going to be a five-minute operation. I was right. When Alexis and I showed up, she instantly turned into Miss Shy Thang. BUT! Oh, yes, BUT! it was not an issue. For the photographer assigned to the challenging task of corralling Burgh Baby was new. And undaunted. He called in a reinforcement and the two of them promptly turned themselves into silly idiots. There was noise-making, goofy faces, and all sorts of craziness. And Alexis LIKED it. She was giggling and carrying on and even, eventually, crawled out of my lap and started to play in the general vicinity of where she needed to be to have her picture taken. And then was the really fabulous part--that particular Picture People has gone digital. As in no tripod necessary, just point and click. So the flight risk we call Alexis could run and run and run, just so long as she occasionally passed over the background and looked the photographers way. So she played hide-n-seek with the reinforcement and the photographer clicked away. A few of the pictures even turned out pretty good. Go take a gander, if you please.

And now, the guilty part. I had coupons. Lots of coupons. And we're trying to maneuver our way towards a new house. So I spent $14. The disappointment on the face of the photographer was palatable. It's been over a week since this all went down and I still feel bad. Sort of.


  1. I feel your picture pain! But the part that he me even more excited-- WE LIVE IN PITTSBURGH TOO! Why does this make me giggle? I have no idea. I just don't know many people here and to randomly stumble upon a fellow Pittsburgher in the blog world, and a mom of a daughter in the same general age range as my daughter!!?! It's making me feel a bit goofy. It doesn't take much I guess. I'll be sure to link to you!

  2. Burgh Baby's Mom8:16 PM

    Yay! Another Burgh baby! I've been wanted to add some to the blogroll. I'll be sure to do so shortly. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Found you via Looky, Daddy--you are very funny.

    Maybe if you're worried about your karma (since, as you make clear, your photo karma needs all the help it can get), you could send the photographer a tip.

  4. burgh baby's mom10:32 AM

    I have nothing on the master that calls himself Looky, Daddy. Now THAT'S some funny.