Capture A Memory
Updated: Mar 6, 2019
As soon as the photographer said, “Say Cheese,” my two-year-old daughter Lucy stood up, pushed her chair away and started screaming at the top of her voice.
“No sit Mummy!” she yelled at me defiantly.
I pleaded with her to be quiet and sit down but this only inspired her to take off her polka-dot shoe and hurl it at the camera. The photographer and I tried everything to calm her down. We even bribed her by getting her a different type of chair to sit on. It was to no avail. I changed from a firm parent and consistent teacher to one of those parents that we all look at in the shopping mall or playground and roll our eyes at. You know the parents that pander to their child's every whim just to make them happy; the parents whose idea of disciplining their noisy brood is to give them candy in the hope that it will shut them up. I am ashamed to say I was willing to do anything in my power to make Lucy sit down for this damn photo!
It was embarrassing as well, as we were holding up a cue of people and the other children in the class. As a consequence, they started getting impatient themselves and began acting up. What made it worse was that I knew all the teachers and parents. What seemed like a good idea at the time had turned into a nightmare.
Being the nostalgic individual that I am, you can understand my excitement when I found out that the day-care centre, I worked at two days a week and my girls attended was having a class photo day. I couldn't help but imagine how cute it would be to have a photo of my little Lucy and her four-year-old sister Eva in their first school-like environment and with their first school friends. I had already decided that I would create a page of class photos in a book and this would be the first of a series of pictures for years to come.
Like many parents, I feel this need to document my children's existence through photos. Dealing with an uncooperative two-year-old hadn't come into my computations, though upon reflection I should have seen it coming.
The morning of photo day I had two beautiful, matching dresses laid out on the girl's beds to wear with little white sandals. Eva woke up thrilled to be able to dress-up and put on her outfit without any fuss. She stared adoringly at herself in my full-length mirror, practising poses for the camera, looking perfect. Lucy, on the other hand, refused to wear the dress.
“Not wearing that!” she yelled at me.
She was probably the most stubborn two-year-old I have ever met, but somehow, I managed to persuade her into wearing a dress. She hates dresses and anything girly. She would be happy wearing jeans every day and playing with trucks in the dirt. She finally put her matching dress on, but when I wasn't looking, she slipped some jeans on underneath as we were getting ready to leave the house. Some battles are not worth fighting, I thought to myself when I noticed. Wearing the pretty white sandals was also non-negotiable. She was going through a dot-dot shoe phase, which basically meant that she would only wear her red, polka-dot Croc shoes regardless of weather, size or colour coordination. I actually had to secretly replace the dot-dot shoes with a pair in a bigger size. Her toes started to bleed due to being crammed into shoes that didn't fit properly. Little did I know, she would end up using them as a weapon against the helpless photographer.
As I watched from behind the camera I was mortified. There was nothing to do except to say, “I am really sorry.” The photographer looked at me with a bewildered look on her face and said, “What do I do? She is not smiling or looking at me and she's crying?
Suddenly I had a light bulb moment and said,
"Take the photo."
I thought I should document this time in her life. She was almost two and behaving like a typical, stubborn toddler, so let's capture this moment on film for all to see. It would be appropriate considering the photos I was most embarrassed about growing up seemed to be the ones that my parents chose to display in a prime position in the house in an 8 X 10 sized frame. My favourite example is the photo of me at about three-years-old standing completely nude in a lake in British Columbia. My parents thought it was a beautiful photo with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop and my cute, toddler bottom at the forefront as I threw rocks into the motionless, endless blue lake. For me, as a child, I didn't notice the landscape. I only saw my chubby, dimply bottom on display. I noticed my fat legs with rolls behind the knees that everyone commented on when they visited. I felt horrified when friends or prospective boyfriends came to my house and made jokes about this nude photo of me. My parents thought it was hilarious. Now, that I am a parent I have to admit that I have also taken photos of my girls potty training and running in the ocean naked.
But my favourite picture so far has to be the class photo hanging proudly in the office. It shows a perfectly smiling Eva overshadowed by a temper-tantrum-throwing Lucy.