Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the joys of picture day...

How is it that one day I'm wearing flip-flops, shorts and a tee and the next I'm scrambling to find the hats, gloves and scarfs that I packed away last spring?

Welcome to Cleveland.

Today outside of waking up to a complete reversal in climate change, there was a little added glitch into the morning routine. Add to that the gale winds and rain, and I've had a just delightful morning...

Instead of my daughter waking and donning her uniform, she was to get 'dressed up'. Today, you see, is a big day. Today is no ordinary school day.

Today, is picture day.

Now, my daughter has been photographed. Alot. I normally have some sort of camera, motion or still, with me at all times. So we've boxes upon boxes of excellent photos of her doing just about everything you can imagine. I also have a close friend who is a professional photographer, so add all those photos to the collection as well.

So picture day? When they quickly snap a photo of your child in front of the obscure 'waterfall' background? It's really not a big deal.

At least to me.

In my daughters book? It's a big deal.

I filled out the obligatory forms to allow her to participate, full well knowing that we probably aren't going to be prominently displaying this photograph in the home. But she will have all those wallet size photos to share with her classmates. If I think back, it was probably a big day for me as well when I was 10.

Fact is, my mother kept most of my school photos. All the ones where I tried to cut my own hair just the night before. I gave my mom warning, she just didn't know how much I wanted my bangs cut. She did try to hide the damage, but it's pretty obvious. Baby bangs weren't the rage then. Or the one where I got into a scuffle with Tom Zander who lived across the street at the bus stop prior to school. That one shows a torn and tattered peter pan collar on my pressed dress. I believe he was teasing me because of said peter pan collared pressed dress, if my memory serves correctly. And then there is my favorite...nothing like making breakfast for yourself right before school and showing up with grape juice stained mouth. I look like a grinning purple clown.

With those memories firmly implanted, there isn't going to be any of those school picture snafu's if I can help it.

She's right on that cusp of really caring about what she wears. To go over to a neighbors to play after school, I'll enter her room after she's left and find about 6 discarded shirts on the floor in front of her mirror. Personally, I don't see the difference between them...but apparently one makes a statement while the others don't.

I pick them up and put them back away. Only to go across the room and find 3 pairs of ballet flats. One made the cut, the other ones didn't. Granted, each pair is black. One patent, one suede and one a croc print. I'm obviously a firm believer in multiples. Ask anyone who knows me.

My daughter is also not a girlie-girl type of dresser. We love Old Navy and Gap. Even she likes black and gray tee-shirts. Last evening right before dinner she informed me that the capris and argyle tunic that she was planning on wearing "Just won't do!". I was a little disappointed since it would have been perfect, but she wanted a dress. Apparently her peers are wearing dresses. Argh, the beginnings of peer pressure...

I decided that maybe she was in need of an occasion dress, not the separates that she normally would don for a more dressed up affair. So we headed off to find her a 'dress'. The one she chose is very cute with polka dots, slight crinoline and a shrug sweater. Quite darling, but definitely a far cry from our norm. Add a pair of white gloves and she might be having high tea at the Ritz later.

But that's what she wanted, so that's what we got.

The mirror got a workout this morning. As did my patience.
"Not those black shoes, these shoes. Not that headband, this headband. Do I have to wear hose?"

You learn to pick your battles when dealing with children. She did agree with me on the headband and hosiery. She chose the shoes. But since they are mostly black or silver, those were a win/win for me. She just didn't know it.

But it's a horribly nasty day today in Cleveland. No sunshine. No outdoor photos before school. And it's raining. Hard. That beautifully pressed dress got crunched under a coat and the perfectly straightened hair got smushed under a hat.

"Wear the black coat, it's water proof."
"No I want to wear the green one."

"But it's wool. And it doesn't match your dress."

She wore the green one. Before I pushed the black I remembered, 'Pick your battles...It's not a big deal.'

And in my true optimistic form, in a way this rain is a blessing. The school will have indoor recess today. Otherwise I can only imagine what the dress would look like after recess outside.

Because my daughter may be presently dressed for the Ritz, but she's not a girlie-girl. I can guarantee you she would play at recess in her little frock like a football player on the field.

"Crinoline interference!" the ref would call.

Bah. That's not going to hold her back.
I'll pick her up at 3. I wonder how her hose are going to fair today. Or even the dress.

Thank God for the dry cleaners.
I'm sure we're going to need it.



  1. I always hated picture day. Haha. My mother would make more of a fuss over what I wore and stuff then I did.

  2. I miss those days when my opinion counted. Now I'm doing well if her lingerie isn't visible.

  3. Nancy,

    Bittersweet. She wore a dress? I'll bet she was adorable, I mean cool.

    Good job for being able to force yourself to pick the battle. That's tough, I know.

    Love your photo. Coincidentally, I had the same hair + Cindy Brady bangs + black tortoise shell glasses. Classy.

  4. It's not what she wears that matters, it's the memories of the day that count. She will look back day with sweet memories one day and recall picture day and the special time she spent getting ready with her mom helping. She will remember how her mother allowed her to be herself - "choosing battles wisely". Well done mom!!

  5. I want someone to run crinoline interference for me. Every day.

  6. Hey Nancy, I hated most of mine and my mother still has every one, I'm sure.

    I was always amazed that school photographers had the ability to make even the funny, cool kids look like dorky, awkward, nothing-like-they-normally-look goofballs.

    It's like they took their five photos and deliberately used the crap ones just for a laugh. Bastards.


  7. I didn't even bother dressing Ben for picture day this year. I let him go it himself. The thing is that he argues with anything I want to put on him, and then ends up wearing what he wants. It seems easiest to cut out the middle man.

  8. I've been asking my mother to scan and send pictures for a while now. I even miss the bad ones (and there were many!)

  9. @Insanity - I let her roll with what she wants pretty much, when it omes to what she wears. I was more amused by how much thought she put into it!!!

    @Mean Stepmom - Ha! I'm sure that day will be coming for me. I'm thanking the stars that it isn't NOW. I'd probably lose my mind. :-)

    @Fumbling Confidence - It was funny, when I picked her up she agreed that she probably didn't need to wear a dress. But she said the principal and some of the teachers made a fuss over the girls in dresses and the boys that wore ties. I tried to tell her, but hey...like I said, Pick your battles. That wasn't one of them!
    Isn't that a lovely photo? Yup. Budding hairdresser... :-)

    @Rae - Thanks Rae! As always, you make me feel good! It was fun this morning, rather amusing really. She was SO adament. Geez, and she's 10....

    @LPC - :-) I do too...

    @Indigo - It really IS amazing how they narrow the playing field with the photos! I think you may be right about which photos they choose, because they ALL can't be THAT bad. And how about that job? If they have that little of talent, how do they keep their position?

    @Marsha - THAT sounds like a stellar stragedy! You will also have some wonderful ammunition for when he's in high school...
    My brother has a senior photo that he had a tweed jacket, striped tie and plaid shirt. It's always good to show new girlfriends. :-)

    @CatLadyLarew - Ha! I can't print it here, they flag me for offensive material! :-)

    @ Matthew - Didn't you know? She's been posting them on Flickr! I think I may use one for my Christmas cards this year! :-)

    Thanks everyone for the excellent comments!

  10. Aw, this is so sweet. My mom never bought any of my class pictures and I was always highly insulted. It's not like she took many of her own.
    I love that photo of you. I had the Peter Pan collar dresses and those short short bangs too!

  11. LOVE the bangs. You know, a little eyebrow gel would really make your eyes POP! :-)

  12. I also love the picture of you. You are wearing your "camera face" I am sure. I have a few of these myself. I was always having chapped lips or something weird on picture day, but now those picture are actually precious. I wish I knew where they are...

  13. Oh...you are so CUTE Nancy!

    Seeing your photo and reading this post brought back so many memories for me. I went to a catholic school, so all the boy and girls had to wear a uniform. We all looked exactly the same in our school photos...except for a different face - HAHAHHAHAHA!

    You just gave me a great idea for a post. I have to dig my old photos out. Wait until you see them! S.C.A.R.Y.

    We had almost the same type weather here in Philly today.

  14. I HATE my school photos. And I used to bemoan how awful my fringe looked...spent YEARS growing it out; and now I have a fringe and bob. TYpical.

  15. @Maureen - Yeah. I agree. This one is one of my favorite school photos. Although most of them looked just about like this one, I was maybe a little bigger or smaller depending. But in this one you can see where I butchered my bangs. They were down into my eyes BEFORE, now they are about non-existant! :-)

    @Chrissy - Ha! As long as the eyebrow gel is sold by Paul and is made by M.U.F.E.

    @DJan - They ALL had the camera face! I still wear that smurk though...camera or no camera!

    @Ron - Oh darling, I would love to see YOUR childhod photos! Did you do a Joan Crawford face then as well? :-)

    @omchelsea - It's always the other side of the fence...
    I grew my bangs out. Took me YEARS! The I had them cut off again. What was I thinking? That was 12 years ago....

    Thanks you guys for your comments! They REALLY make my day!


  16. Haha, I was always insanely nervous for picture day.. Not only for the headshots but for the group picture! Somehow I always managed a look that seemed to suggest my parents were siblings, and really, who wants the whole school to think that for the rest of the year..?

  17. That is such an adorable picture! Please let us know how it went and if you can, post a pic so we could see the end product of your battle? :) As for photo day? I hated them. We all looked the same anyway with the uniforms and all. I don't know why they didn't just make a lifesize poster and a cut out where the head's supposed to be; it would've saved them so much time not saying: "Chin up, back straight. A little to the left, no tilt your head a little to the right while holding a monkey." Did I mention I hated photo day?

  18. Oh, the horrors of picture day. In Grade One, my grandmother was in charge of getting me ready for picture day.

    I kid you not, I ended up with a bee-hive hairdo and when they took the class picture, you could not see the boy behind me. He was completely obscured by the massive mound of hair sitting upon my head. It was just as well, we would have many fist fights in years to come and he would ruin many of my outfits - just like Tom Zander.

  19. i think the bad pics are the best ones. those are always the ones that make me laugh the most when i look back at mine. i bet your daughter will love to hear the story about her dress and how it fared on picture day when she's older :)

  20. Ah yes... picture days were the worst in my book. like you mentioned something bad always happens like grape juice or some other tragedy.

  21. picture day is big stuff - even for my 13 year old. We had his hair cut a couple weeks back so it should look just fine by picture day (I hope). I cringe when I look back on my pics - especially those with the pixie haircut and braces - GAH!!!

  22. @Josephine - " I always managed a look that seemed to suggest my parents were siblings" OMG! I laughed at that for HOURS! :-)

    @ladytruth - The cut-out idea is great! For some reason, since it IS a uniform school, if they forgot and wore their uniform they wouldn't take your picture. You had to wait till the next day.Odd. But I will post one of boo! She did look fabulous!

    @Travel & Dive - Beehive?! In first grade...well, that's something that I hadn't heard before! And to think that you lived through it too! :-)

    @Lana - I agree with you. It'sthe bad picture that I remember, not hte good ones. Oh, were there any good ones? I don't think so, that's why I've forgotton!

    @Mr. Glob - Tragedy. That's a good word to describe, perfectly, picture day. :-)

    @carma - Isn't it funny how the kids now (at least alot that I know) have to have everything 'just so' on picture day. Ahhhh, the pixie haircuts. Thank you Twiggy.

    Thanks you guys for your comments. I love hearing the feedback and stories of YOUR picture days!


  23. New Here
    I tried and tried to read this post.
    Sadly, I could not.
    That damn hamster and I were playing and then I got creepeed out because it continued to follow me all over the place.

  24. Another reason I'm glad I have all boys. :) As long as I don't put them in loud prints, they don't ask any questions.

  25. Oh, this brings back memories. I must have tormented my Mom in much the same way! What a lovely read today. Oh ..and I have something for you over at my place. Come on by, you won't need your 'brelly or boots, I promise. - G

  26. Oh, and there's a tag for you over at my blog!

  27. I know exactly what you mean about picture day. The only time it's really mattered to me was when Tay had his senior portrait. Now, THAT was a biggie.
    Gosh, Nancy....she's growing up! As for the green coat? That was her pop of color! She's a little fashionista in the making!

  28. I always hated when school sent a handout home about about Spring Picture Day saying "THESE ARE SPRING PICTURES! YOUR FEET WILL SHOW!" because it meant wearing those awful loafers that pinched my toes.

    Now I won't go anywhere without first slipping on my awful loafers. Thankfully, I have a pair now that don't pinch my toes.

  29. So, was your Peter Pan collar any different than the Peter Pan collar in this picture? HA! Those ARE some wicked bangs by the way.

  30. I remember screaming at my mother when I was 11, looking for the shirt I wanted to wear so desperately for picture day that she had donated months before because it didn't fit anymore. Oh, the horrors! As a daughter nothing much else matters than the PERFECT outfit, really.

  31. Oh too funny -- I just posted an old school photo of me yesterday on my blog!

    Found you thru Privilege's blog....saw where you said you do the visuals for Brooks Bros. I don't know exactly what that entails but I'll just tell you I drove past a Brooks Bros store the other day (one not inside a mall) and I had to go around the block again to see the window display it was so lovely. I even took a picture. :)

  32. I'm so glad I'm a dude. We never cared what we looked like. Ever. :)

  33. what blogs this it?
    i see a nice articel here,,


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