Picture Day

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Remember Picture Day at school? How could anyone forget the itchy clothes and big collars that were usually on reserve for church or holidays, the plastic combs with the thin, tiny teeth that actually caused tangles, and your mother slicking back loose pieces of hair with saliva or wiping food from around your mouth with such zeal she almost took your face off. As if it all wasn't bad enough, then there were the cheeseball poses you had to endure: sitting backwards in a chair with arms carefully folded atop each other or hands cradling your face like a newborn, head slightly cocked so you looked just adorable. In elementary school Picture Day was exciting, breaking the normal routine to line up with the rest of your class in front of blinding lights, and construction paper props gave everyone an adrenalin buzz that lasted through lunch. The older you got, the more eye-rolling it all received, plus there was an element of danger: pranksters showed up with mohawks or in torn T-shirts and gave the camera the bird with wide grins or grimaces. It's only later in life that you can appreciate these snapshots and their highly artificial milieu; I am grateful to my mother for ordering plentitudes of them, although she really could have skipped the at-home permanent years. For the first time, I'm on the other side. Monday was Picture Day at my daughter's preschool and I acted the part of the dopey, doting parent to a T. First, I ransacked her wardrobe for the perfect outfit, which, of course, was later peed on. I brushed and parted her hair (although I didn't actually wash it; I'm not crazy) and put it up in ponytails. She looked super cute and I felt confident I'd get the holy grail of school photos: a flattering picture of my kid. But no, turns out my girl has got ponytails of steel; she refused to go anywhere near the camera. She regarded the goofy, good-natured photographer with such contempt it made me wonder if she'd been Jackie O in a past life. The poor guy tried all his tricks like letting her turn on the flash or pose with her best friend, but she wasn't having any of it. He even shot a fake portrait of her teacher. When I came to pick her up, her teachers all apologized. They clearly felt terrible, and when I joked not to worry about it because I was sure she'd take a nice mug shot someday, they gave me a look of such pity it made me wonder if by missing this rite of passage I really was setting my girl up for a life of delinquency. What just might save her, and her school picture, is that the photographer is there all week. So every day I go through the elaborate process of making sure there aren't holes in her clothes or peanut butter in her hair just in case she decides to sit for the camera. For us, Picture Day has become Groundhog's Day and, let me tell you, living in an endless loop of trying to keep a two-year-old clean is exhausting. I feel for you, Picture Day photographer, really, I do. Have a particularly heinous or adorable school picture you want to share? Email it to us or share your story below in our comments and you could win a free Rockabye Baby tune! And if you're looking for a great way to kick off your kid's Picture Day with an awesome outfit to boot, how about a little Rockabye and The Ramones? 

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