For some reason, when we realized over the summer that Chooch likely would be doing school remotely, the thing I fixated on the most was, “But what about school pictures?” I know, I know – I have tons of photos of Chooch and it’s not like his 9th grade existence would be wiped out if he didn’t get a formal school picture taken on Picture Day, but it’s like…part of the process of school, you know? We always purchase the smallest portrait package possible just so we can have one 5×7 to frame for the “Chooch Wall”:
Probably no one else gave a shit about this, like I’m sure it’s the last thing the actual school was concerned about, but I kept wondering. “Maybe they will do something informal on a weekend sometime, where they schedule small blocks of kids…” I mused, to the silence of both Henry and Chooch who could not, between the two of them, even muster up one full fuck to give.
But then in a recent school newsletter, they said that because they were unable to offer a normal picture day, everyone was welcome to submit their own photo! (Of course there were guidelines so I couldn’t have him don a welders mask and stand in a tub full of empty Spam tins while wrapped in a 1970s afghan. Dumb rules.)
But x2! In another email, they said that a local photographer had offered to take headshots at a discounted rate, and I signed him up for that because as much as I would have loved to have had an elevated heart rate for an hour while fighting with him to cooperate with me for ONE PICTURE CAN YOU JUST GIVE ME ONE FUCKING PICTURE WITHOUT THAT SMIRK, I just wanted some slice of normalcy in these shitty Covid Times.
So that’s what happened on Saturday. I don’t know yet what the picture looks like but at least he’ll have a picture in the yearbook now!
Anyway, we’re going to redo that wall with all of his pictures on it and I always thought that he hated the fact that we have an entire wall with his pictures on it but when he heard me talking about repainting it, he asked in a panic, “Wait…is it still going to be my wall, though?” I said yes, and he sighed, “OK. Good.”
I’ve been really scrutinizing that wall though and I think that some pictures will be replaced with others of him, but every time I look at that wall I smile. Of course the school pictures are all boring and standard, but the other ones are so fun and as much as he hates doing these dumb photoshoots with me, I hope that one day when he’s an adult, he’ll look back on them and be glad that they happened. I’m sure his future partner will certainly be happy, haha.
I’m going to repost one of my favorite ones here, because it makes me so happy and maybe it will make you smile too. Smiling is good!
ICE CREAM CONE CANNIBAL: 2013
A few weeks ago, Chooch unearthed his very first Halloween costume in his closet, put it on and then surprised me with it. I almost died laughing, seeing his big head shoved through the small opening of a fabric ice cream. It pleased me because he was 6 months old that Halloween and it poured down rain so aside from a quick photo op at my grandma’s house, that costumes was totally wasted. I even considered putting it up on eBay a few times, or giving it to someone who has a baby, but now I’m really glad that I didn’t, because nothing is funnier than someone wearing something that they’re too big for.
One day, he wore it in the backseat of the car and waved to people at red lights. He’s even considering wearing it for real next Halloween and I will fucking die if he does because I love this costume so much, so yes — PLEASE WEAR IT!
In the meantime, I wanted to do a little photo shoot with him wearing it. The weather was so amazingly warm this weekend, and I couldn’t stop picturing him eating an ice cream cone while wearing an ice cream cone. There’s an ice cream place right down the road from the abandoned building we use for some of our pictures, but we didn’t learn it was closed until we drove all the way out there (only like 30 minutes, but still — Henry’s frown is in full effect over things like this). We figured McDonald’s was probably our best bet at that point, and remembered that there was one down the street from the closed-down ice cream shop we took pictures at last September. Even better!
“But does McDonald’s have rainbow sprinkles? No, I don’t think they do. You’ll have to stop at a grocery store on the way and buy some, just in case,” I said, planning ahead.
Henry glared at me.
“What? There HAS to be rainbow sprinkles! I can’t do it without the sprinkles!” I cried. EVERYTHING IS IN THE DETAILS, OK?!
So that was another 25 minutes in the car with Henry who had almost completely shut down verbally by then. I even tried to calm him down by ironically holding his hand. He wasn’t amused.
Rainbow sprinkles procured and a vanilla cone in hand, we drove back to the Twist behind a partially disabled elderly man who cruised along at a pace of about 18 mph, melting the ice cream and our patience.
But we made it with the cone mostly intact! I jumped out of the car and poured the sprinkles on while Chooch stuffed himself in the costume cone.
I positioned him in front of the closed-down ice cream shop and handed him the severely-dripping cone.
“Vanilla? REALLY? VANILLA? You knew I wanted CHOCOLATE!” he cried.
“Well, McDonald’s only has vanilla,” I muttered, but really — he was getting vanilla no matter where we went. It had to match his costume!
And the rest of it panned out smoothly! Henry and I didn’t even argue. We were only there about 5 minutes before I got what I needed and Henry got to finish Chooch’s cone.
This was right after 2 teenage girls walked by and giggled at Chooch. He was totally angry with me.
He even DANCED for me at the end. You know why? Because that little sucker got paid to do this. I have found that giving him a few bucks is a small price to pay for cooperation and amiability in front of the camera.
God, Henry is totally going to start asking for payment now too.