Monday, 3 May 2010

Never Work With (My) Children Or Animals

It is a well known fact that the more children you have, the less photographs you take of them.
In our house, there are countless pictures of The Eldest One as bump, babe & boy placed lovingly into albums with record of the date and place. The Tomboy has got about half of this, her album stops abruptly after a few pages, around the time she started to walk. Unfortunately The Toddler, being the third child, has got two scans plus four newborn pics and that's about it.
So my new project has been to get some proper photographs done of them - my guilt is then eased and those smiling shots can be hung on the walls showing the happy nuclear family that we pretend to be. At least people that come to the house while the kids are at school will get the impression that they are normal.
My friend, who is a photographer on the side and who hopefully has an idea of our children, agreed to come to the house. I suggested to The Husband that the photos are taken in our garden: "the children in their natural habitat" to which The Husband sniffed: "It would be better in their bedrooms being told off - that's more like their natural habitat".
The children seemed excited by the prospect of having their photograph taken, as it sounded like a fun experience they hadn't really tried before. So we were all geared up except I hadn't considered the variable which is The Tomboy. I thought I was being clever - I took her shopping, she picked out a purple elephant tshirt that she wanted to wear which I also approved of. A win/win situation for The Tomboy and Manipulative Mum. But she wasn't feeling it that day, deciding she hated that tshirt and wanted to wear a Manchester United football kit. Since Donald Trump wrote 'The Art Of The Deal' , he has been considered the world's greatest negotiator, but clearly the man has never met The Tomboy. That book told of great tactics and strategies however it didn't explain how to negotiate with a daughter who wants to dress like a boy. Negotiating with The Tomboy is like trying to swim against the current - it's difficult, tiring and practically impossible. I started with an ideal and ended up with a deal. We agreed that she would wear the elephant tee for three photos only, then I would let her change (hoping that she would get so caught up in the fun, she would forget to count).
Now I didn't realise that placing three young children in the garden and telling them to play while ignoring the camera was inconceivable. The Eldest One stood stupidly staring at the camera while suddenly acquiring a repertoire of poo jokes. The Toddler, within minutes, fell over and badly scraped his nose. The Tomboy (who I suspect pushed The Toddler) took off the elephant tshirt and threw it in the pond. It was one of those situations where a) the kids were not listening to a word I said b) their behaviour was above and beyond anything ever seen on Supernanny c) I had no control whatsoever and wanted to dig myself a hole in the ground.
My friend, bless him, in a very non-judgmental way, continued to click away thus preserving the memory of my childrens' behaviour at that moment in time. Our family legacy on film in case one day I am too old to remember.
The great W.C. Fields clearly was not thinking of my children when he said his famous quote "never work with children or animals" - there is no mention of my kids who are clearly children and animals.

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