I realised the other day that somehow my son has made it to 16 months old without us having a photo of him, my husband and me all together. And that’s despite attending three weddings and countless family events in that time. So I thought it was time to enlist a professional photographer to take some pics of us at a local country park.
In my head I have visions of us being photographed while bathed in the glow of the warm sunshine, all natural smiles and laughter as, with hair ruffled by the gentle breeze, we chase each other across the grass.
The reality, as with most things where there’s a toddler involved, was very different. Here’s what happened.
Photo shoot in T-minus 60 mins – Get toddler ready. Slap on make up that hasn’t seen the light of day in many, many months. Retrieve hair straighteners from the bottom of the drawer where they’ve lain since toddler was still in womb. Straighten hair while trying to stop toddler emptying bathroom cupboard.
T-minus 40 – Husband arrives home. Tell husband to get ready.
T-minus 30 – Toddler demands cup of milk. Toddler spills milk down himself. Change toddler. Tell husband to get ready.
T-minus 20 – Find husband has dozed off. Wake up husband by letting toddler jump on him. Shout at him to get ready.
T-minus 10 – Husband realises his favourite t-shirt is dirty. Husband reveals that he actually ran out of clean tshirts two days ago but forgot to a) mention it and b) do any washing himself. Husband selects shirt to wear. It needs ironing.
T-minus 5 – husband faffs around ironing every inch of shirt.
Actual time of photoshoot – Husband is STILL IRONING SHIRT.
Five mins late – Husband finally gets into car. Berate him for always making us late. Have big row about how it’s apparently all my fault as I didn’t get the toddler in the car early enough.
Ten mins late – Arrive at location not speaking to each other. Plaster on big smiles for photographer to hide fact we’re not speaking to each other.
Realise incredibly dry, hot weather has left the usually glorious, lush, green country park looking like the Serengeti – all dried yellow grass and big cracks in the ground.
Curse choice of location and choice of footwear (flat, strappy sandals) as photographer gets us to walk through thigh-high grass and prickly plants to get a photo near big tree. Stop to remove thorny thing from big toe.
Remove toddler’s hand from down my bra for third time as photographer snaps away. Toddler yanks top down, exposing bra to photographer and passing jogger. Rearrange top while trying to remain composed and serene. Hand toddler back to husband.
Start walking towards different location in park, manage to put foot in one of the aforementioned cracks in the ground which turns out to be a deep crevice. Lose leg up to the knee. Ouch. Struggle to pull out leg and scrape skin in the process. Praise be for the unshaven legs that made me decide to wear jeans rather than floaty dress. Hobble after photographer, husband and toddler, too wussy to look to see what damage has been done.
Find lovely, open path to walk along while having photo taken. Toddler develops complete and utter aversion to walking in same direction as anyone else, runs into the undergrowth, tries to pick up animal poo. Repeat numerous times.
Realise, as toddler has mini strop, that I forgot snacks earmarked for bribery purposes. Offer toddler long but hypothetical list of snacks anyway, hoping he won’t insist on cashing in on promises when we get home.
Toddler smiles and poses briefly while perched on a gate, then realises cake, biscuits, cheese, strawberries, and Nutella (please don’t judge me) aren’t forthcoming so tries to hurl himself off the gate backwards.
Resort to pulling faces and singing “I Went To The Animal Fair…” at full throttle to try to calm toddler and encourage return of smile. Doesn’t work with toddler but receives smirks from passing dog-walkers.
Toddler, finally happy after being offered photographer’s walkie talkie, giggles, pouts and waves for camera (we’ll photoshop the walkie talkie out later) before promptly snotting all over my top.
All concerned think maybe it’s a good time to call it a day. Get back into car exhausted. Remember why we’ve never done this before. Hope against hope he got at least one good photo to make it all worthwhile.
About Claire Miller
Mum to a toddler with a mischievous grin and Boris Johnson hair. Wife to a husband who still can’t change a dirty nappy without dry-retching. Radio journalist, Cheesy pop music lover, owner of too many pairs of jeans.