Taking family photos is impossible!

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I came home exhausted last night, vowing never to try getting professional pictures taken of the kids again.

It all started at Walmart. They’re inexpensive and I just wanted one nice picture package of my 3 children together. I should have known the first time we tried that it was not to be.

We entered Walmart at around noon. The kids were dressed in church attire, well fed and ready to go. We had been sick all weekend, which is why Ethan was home from school, but I felt the children were well enough and calm enough (due to illness) that now was the time to try. We had been in the waiting area for 20 minutes when Ethan told me he had to go to the bathroom which was right around the corner. So I sent him on his way.

Moments later I heard a small anxious sounding, “Momma!” coming from the bathroom. I saw Ethan peeking out of the door and he slowly emerged. There were mustard like stains down his pants and at the bottom of his white shirt. He was nearly in tears as he told me he got poop on himself. Diarrhea. He was clearly embarrassed and I wanted to thump myself for not thinking to accompany him in case he was still suffering from it. You see, Ethan has been in the habit of squatting on top of the toilet seat to relieve his bowels, since his earliest days of potty training and we’re still working to convince him he won’t fall in if he sits his butt down on the toilet seat. Thus the sprayage of the diarrhea on everything.

I put his jacket on him so at least his shirt was covered and whisked the kids over to the children’s clothing section where I quickly picked up some clearance slacks and a white dress shirt. At the check out I reached into my diaper bag and, behold, no pocket book.

Did I mention that this Walmart, the closest one with a photo studio, is 25 minutes from our home?

I keep blankets in the back of the car in case of emergency so Ethan sat on top of a blanket in soiled pants for the ride home. Once showered and dressed in new clothes he asked to go back out. You see, I had told the kids we could go visit Santa at the mall today (to avoid having to do it later when crowds are big and lines are long) so I told him we would indeed go back out to see Santa. But since we were going to go back out we would try getting pictures again. And try we did.

After another relatively long wait and then a 1 hour photo session, we had pictures of all three children alone, but none showing them all together.

It proved impossible to get all three children to look at the camera at the same time, while smiling, with eyes open and sitting up straight. Caleb kept slouching and leaning into Ethan. Vanessa kept trying to squirm out of Caleb's arms. It was a fruitless endeavor and I still feel that it ought never to be attempted again.

Afterward we did make our visit to Santa even though I really just wanted to go home. The boys sat in his lap and told them what they wanted for Christmas and then I put Vanessa in Santa’s arms as well and asked for a picture. Miracle of miracles, they all three looked at the camera. The boys were smiling, Vanessa was not, but she still looks cute of course. They all looked at the camera and that more than half decent picture took 3 minutes to take.

Why didn’t I just go with Santa in the first place?