An honest take on life and parenthood

Picture Day with the Pooh

on November 4, 2015

Do you remember picture day at school when you were a kid? I don’t, but my sister remembers a classmate’s mom, Mrs. Licciardello, who volunteered to help every year, plastic comb at the ready.

Ye old picture package

Ye old picture package

Second grade me

Second grade me

The Pooh’s school had picture day in mid-September, and I was tapped to be a parent volunteer for it.

I didn’t exactly jump out of my seat for the privilege. I agreed more so out of obligation than enthusiasm. Parents are expected to volunteer at school regularly, and I figured I might as well pony up early.

On the morning of picture day, I dressed the Pooh in a classic dress from Hartstrings and pulled her hair back into a fuchsia bow. I poured coffee into a travel mug to survive the morning and off we went.

The Pooh's Kindergarten picture day outfit

The Pooh’s Kindergarten picture day outfit

After dropping the Pooh off at her kindergarten classroom, I found the big room they were using for a studio. I paired off with Jen, a kind photographer with dark rimmed glasses.  We would work together until 12:30 pm, photographing the youngest children in the school, from nursery up to fifth grade.

The four year olds in Pre-K arrived first and took a group picture. The children then formed two lines, and I soon found the first kid in front of me. Jen coached me on how to position him for the best picture. I told him to hop up onto the small stepladder we were using for a stool and fastened the lower button on his polo shirt. He smiled for the camera, showing his tiny teeth.

That was all it took for me to suddenly understand Mrs. Licciardello. I was totally smitten.

Jen and I soon had a rhythm going as a two person team. I’d tell the kids how to angle their bodies, while straightening collars, taming cowlicks, and pushing long hair aside to better see a little face.

As I seated and directed each little one, I’d think, “This is someone’s baby,” and “I wonder who this child will grow up to be?” In some cases, I knew the child, and couldn’t help but smile at a resemblance to a mom or dad.

After we finished photographing Pre-K, we moved on to the three year olds in Nursery. The little ones were so innocent, and so sweet. They were slightly rumpled with silky flyaway hair and they tended to scrunch up their faces for the camera.  Matilda could not sit still and fidgeted with her bright pink and yellow flowered dress, a likely hand-me down from her older sister. Connor’s ears stuck out, and I had to straighten his clip on bow-tie and make sure that khaki colored jacket didn’t show the pen mark on the pocket. John’s hair just would not behave and I finally gave up.

As I seated Georgiana, a tiny three year old in a black ruffled skirt and exquisite white top, I laughed to myself. Her delicate appearance would never tell you that she loved to accompany her daddy on handyman projects around the house, and that she was fascinated by power tools and machinery.

And the day continued.

My first grade picture

My first grade picture

First grader Samir wore a blue jacket and crisp white shirt and glasses, but no matter how we tried to get a good picture, all of them ended up with either a glare off of his glasses or a silly Seussian smile that covered his teeth. Charlie dressed and acted like a boy with jeans and a plaid oxford shirt, with long golden hair pulled back in a ponytail, but I later found out Charlie was a girl. Second grader John, a boy with owlish glasses, a checked oxford, and a smart tie, looked like the history professor he might become one day.

Annie wanted her long hair to show down the front of her shoulders, and Scarlett wanted to make sure her necklace and earrings showed. There was a freckled little boy who could barely muster a smile, and I wondered why he was so sad.

Sophie wore a beautiful white dress with a big lavender and blue chiffon bow at her waist, and pink patent leather ballet flats.

Fourth grader Laila pushed her glasses back on her face and looked a little self-conscious as she posed, reminding me of myself at the same age. There was the fifth grade boy who looked like a European prince, lanky and graceful, straight hair falling in his clear blue eyes.

Another fifth grader, Jonathan, clambered up onto the stepladder and told me that his dad didn’t like last year’s pictures. The background was blue, and Jonathan’s shirt was blue, so Jonathan ended up looked like a floating head in his school picture. I laughed at his story as his teacher rolled her eyes.  I mentally noted that Jonathan was wearing a blue shirt this year again. Fortunately, the background was grey.

There were shy kids and confident kids, hambones and self-conscious kids. There was the one who thought he could put his fingers up in the peace sign for his picture (um, no).

Third or fourth grade me

Third or fourth grade me

Kindergarten was the last class to arrive that morning, and in came Pooh with her classmates. She made me feel like a celebrity as she pointed me out to her little friends, blowing me kisses and throwing me hugs.

Her classmate, Gabriel, was first in my line, but he insisted that his name was Pizza, which is how I proceeded to address him. Come on, I know how to follow instructions.

The Pooh was one of the last kids to have her picture taken, and I was able to position her in front of the photographer and straighten her bow. She kept smiling a goofy smile, channeling Samir, I suppose. The photographer offered to show me the pictures she had taken in case I wasn’t happy, but I waved her away.

When she finished her shoot, I gave the Pooh a smooch and sent her back to her teacher, and thanked Jen for the opportunity to work with her as I left.

And yes, I’ll be volunteering for picture day next year. I can’t wait.

The Pooh's Pre-K school picture from last year...because I don't have this year's picture yet

The Pooh’s Pre-K school picture from last year…because I don’t have this year’s picture yet

2 responses to “Picture Day with the Pooh

  1. jgroeber says:

    Love it. And I love even better picturing someone who really cares about my kids as they line up for their school pictures. (And yes, I did make them all practice picture day smiles at breakfast before heading out the door. Say cheese!)

    Liked by 1 person

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