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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Picture Day at School - The Mommy Fantasy Photos versus Reality

Once again picture day is here.  Our school district wisely links this day to the "Official Count Day" perhaps hoping to achieve their attendance goal.  The attendance count for this day is linked to school funding and budgeting for annual resources.  There is a psychological motivation to get your child to school on "Picture Day."  This is the one day you might have a chance to "inspire" you child to dress up a little more and wear the outfits you always dreamed would make your progeny shine.  You may or may not want to admit that prior to their birth you inevitably fashioned a Norman Rockwellian picture of your sweet babe. 

Did you not create a mental if not emotional image of a child who would be the envy of all your friends and family?  Betcha did!  This holy little angel you envisioned would willingly agree to whatever you set out for them to wear and remain clean with every hair in place until their image could be captured for all eternity.  Sometimes schools have Fall and Spring photo sessions.  This is a bonus for parents!  There are two chances each school year to dream a little dream and obtain that image of saintliness that often appears illusive the remaining 363 days of the year.  These moments are the "Mommy Fantasy" Photos.

Here's the deal.  The reality is that those photos never, and I mean ever, live up to those expectations.  Sure, you make luck out and your kid actually has every hair in place.  The pants may be zippered up so that a shirt tail is not hanging out the fly.  Cute little blouses may stay in place under jumpers without bulging out at the armpits.  And that adorable tie or hair bow may actually make it all the way through the class photo line and remain visible behind the photographer's lens.  But ask yourself if that is the way you want your child to remember his or her school years.  

Will your child be comfortable all day?  Will your child worry about getting nice clothing dirty or losing any of the props that accompany the ensemble? How disappointed will you feel if there is a wardrobe malfunction?  If you're o.k. with the potential consequences, then have at it and dress your little fashionistas up to the nines.  My children are built for comfort.  So is my wallet.  I love that they are active, exuberant, and already display their own sense of style.  Today their photos will reflect their unique personalities and energy levels.  My nine year old son wanted to do his own hair this morning.  I would have loved to add some hair product to keep it in place, but I resisted.  My seven year old son decided to spike his hair up and wore a pair of black framed reading glasses he insisted upon from the Dollar Tree.  It's his thing lately.  (We're going to the real eye doctor tomorrow to determine if glasses are indeed a necessity.)  

So my kids are going to look like the real deal when we look back upon their school pictures.  Sure, it's fun to dress up once in a while.  No problem there.  But for long lasting memories that capture my children's interests and quirks, I'll take the reality photos any day.  (Dollar Tree glasses and all.)

Hope you're having a great school year.  And hopefully this post is the first of many more this year.  Feels great to be writing again.  (((Hugs)))

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