I wasn't lying.
We went to Target a few days ago to get our fall portraits/Christmas cards done. They did a decent job last time and the photographer was willing to work with our... unorthodox methods for getting a decent photo out of the Little Man. Since the same photographer was going to be there for this set of photos, I had high hopes for success.
We got there just as a Nice Young Woman (NYW) was finishing a job interview. The Original Photographer (OP) remembered us and walked us back into the room where you get photos. NYW speaks up and asks if she could "help" the OP with our session.
Mistake #1. OP agrees.
Now we all know that Little Man hates loud noises. He also hates strangers. NYW did not know that Little Man hated both, she just saw your typical whiny four year old who did not want to sit still for a picture, and was being bribed with fruit snacks to even stare straight ahead. I'm standing behind the photographer singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song quietly, because it normally elicits a giggle if I do the voices right. Yeah, there are voices to that song, I can teach them to you later.
Mistake #2. NYW thinks I am not singing loudly or perkily enough, so she starts singing the ABC's at the top of her lungs and shaking a rattle. A mother-ducking rattle. I bet you know what happens next.
So Little Man is freaking out, dealing with two strangers and loud noises and being left in the center of a room without anyone picking him up while he is freaking out... And then...
Mistake #3. NYW tries to tickle Little Man.
Well that goes over about as well as could be expected. Which is that it doesn't. At this point, I tell NYW to please back off, Little Man has special needs and she does not know him.
"Oh have you tried feeding him a gluten-free diet?"
What the what? SERIOUSLY lady I'm trying to keep him from losing his schmit and you're asking me about his diet as if that might be affecting his picture taking skills today?
"I know that my son really loves calculators. You should give him a calculator, I bet he'd really love it."
Is this really happening? Please don't make me lose it.
Mistake #4. OP is only snapping one picture every minute. And every third picture has a piece of NYW's head in it as she is reaching in to the frame to snap her fingers in Little Man's face (Lord give me strength) or "make him laugh".
I suggest we take a break from the traditional portrait and stick Little Man on a little log thing with a pumpkin in his hand. Mostly because I need to quietly hint to NYW that she is a little much for Little Man to handle, and also to get all the eyes off him so he can calm down. And he'll love chewing on the pumpkin stem.
NYW takes this time to inform me that her son has special needs too, and that is why she knew so many things. I had kind of already figured. She offered to teach me some basic sign language and started signing random words to "teach" me. I politely let her know that we already sign at home and use a PEX system right now. Then I smiled extra wide to indicate being happy and well-informed on things because I was starting to develop a tension headache and we were running low on fruit snacks.
OP decides then that it is time for a couple of family shots. I thought I had dressed for success in a plain black t-shirt, since I would be photographed from the waist up.
Mistake #5. Taking full body portraits. Hellooooo muffin top. Also my hair was looking sad and wonky, which was news to me.
Have I mentioned that Hubs was here too? He was apparently too busy being pissed at OP for Mistake #4 to notice how much NYW was annoying the crap out of me. Neither of us noticed the other was about to lose it. Man, are we in sync as a couple.
Mistake #6. Timing was way off. Little Man was minutes away from passing out from exhaustion, and he was not having any more of this nonsense once he realized that these strangers were all going to be all up in his business.
So we struggle through about six or seven more minutes of poses, and Little Man finally just gives up. He is a mess. My nerves are shot. Hubs keeps chiming in with the ever helpful "I think we're done, I think we're done." And I know we haven't gotten a single picture I'm happy with, but ya know what? We're done. We're so, so, done.
We had coupons for 50% off the entire portrait package, so we knew we'd get a couple sheets of Little Man's best poses. And the OP guilted me into buying an 8x10 of the "best" family shot, because we needed one. I'm such a sucker.
Oh. I guess you want proof that these photos are as horrible as I am saying they were. You're thinking... "They can't be THAT bad."
[Put down the drink. Just in case.]