A picture-perfect morning until the photographs arrive

“Hmm, she’s not going to stop crying,” said the photographer. “Can mummy be in the photograph too?”

It was the moment I had been dreading. Yet, unfortunately, one that I had not given much thought to before leaving for crèche and school this morning.

“Photographer – crèche – 8.15am” had been buzzing an alert on my iPhone for a couple of days now.

post 10

Thanks to the reminder I carefully selected clothes for Super PG and Super PF last night and ironed them while Super H and I watched the second episode of Mr Robot (a drama about hackers, and we’re almost addicted).

Super PG has already had his official school photograph taken this year. Now it’s Super PF’s turn at the crèche. But, the crèche ladies, being kind and thoughtful as they are, had told me that Super PG could come along so that we could have a photo of them both together.

I realised this morning that they’d told all the mums and dads with older siblings exactly the same thing. We all clearly thought it was a great idea, too, until it became apparent that it was all taking slightly longer than expected.

The crèche had even put tea and coffee out in the reception. They were prepared for the long haul, it was just us who weren’t.

I remind myself often that the crèche and the brilliant ladies there are like an extended family for Super PG. They still see him when we take and pick up Super PF, and they always greet him with a smile, and a kiss, and ask him how he is. This morning they say: “Come in and play while you’re waiting.”

I say hello to the other mums and dads and I’m holding Super PF, who is cuddling into me while I watch Super PG. He’s holding up a tiny toy dog and pretends it’s talking to the little girl sitting next to him. “Woof woof,” he barks, twirling it in his hand. She laughs and they rush off to the miniature kitchen to make some food and put a baby doll in the cupboard.

Even though I had to go to work and get Super PG to school on time, I felt totally serene amidst all the clamour of the parents, kids and babies waiting in the reception. I was observing him play so beautifully with the other kids and secretly surfing on a wave of pride. More and more we experience these incredible moments – like treasure – that allow us to glimpse at the boy and the young man he will become. I was mesmerised by his flawless interaction with the other children and his joy of having some special time to actually play at the crèche instead of just passing through.

Our turn next
Our turn next

Soon it was our turn and our name was called. The photographer started talking up close to Super PG straight away, and he slunk behind my knees. The photographer then asked me if I was going to be in the photo too. “Clearly that’s not really a good option,” I wanted to say, thinking about how I had just grabbed an old flowery Mango top this morning in the rush and flung it on randomly over a pair of maternity jeans (which, I might add, are not as loose as I would like them to be).

What I actually said was that the most important thing was for the children to be in the picture, so let’s aim for it being just the two of them. The photographer guided Super PG to the table and asked him to put his arm around Super PF who was calmly sitting next to him. To my relief he did exactly as instructed, but then the arm placement action evolved into a bit of an overly-tight hug, and Super PF started to cry.

And she cried and screamed, and I knew it was bad when I offered her pink shoe to chew and she looked away, and cried some more. Oh dear. I did think when she refused her half-hour nap at 7.15am that we might have a problem later. When she quietened down a little bit the photographer reached forward to wipe her tears away (I didn’t have a chance to stop him) and set her off again.

“You should see what happens when we wipe the dinner off her face,” I wanted to say.

We tried other ways to cheer her up, including putting her on my lap, and all this time Super PG sat there quietly waiting, poised to get into position. I then tried getting out of sight (sometimes she’s harder to calm down if I’m there because of the breastfeeding, especially when she’s tired) and leaving her with her favourite crèche lady (also a family friend), but to no avail.

“Hmm, she’s not going to stop crying,” said the photographer. “Can mummy be in the photograph too?”

Seriously not a good moment, but I realised that this was in fact the only way it was going to happen, as the photographer was ready to quit and move on.

I sat Super PF on my lap and jiggled her up and down while kissing her head and humming her favourite tune: Essa Moça Tá Diferente by Chico Buarque (I know, very specific). Sniffles and then silence.

I was waiting for Super PG to say “chomage” (“unemployment”) as he smiled for the picture, as when we ask him to say “cheese” or “fromage” (as a not-very-funny joke that has been in existence since I was at school) it’s often how he responds. But today he just smiled really nicely (no screwing up of face or silly expressions), positioned his head on me, where the photographer asked him to, and click, click and click.

Just like that. At least three pictures and I’m in all of them.

As we emerged I could tell the other parents were relieved it might be their turn next.


“She started crying from the moment she sat down to have her photo taken,” I told them. “Yes, we heard,” one of the mums said.

As we walked to school, Super PG’s little hand in mine, I crouched down on the rain-drenched grass (getting my knee soggy in the process) so I could look him right into his eyes and tell him how proud I was of him, to be so patient while his sister was crying and to follow the instructions of the photographer so well. We were a real team I told him.

He looked at me right back and smiled. “Thank yooouu,” he answered in his half-English, half-French accent and we double high-fived.

Why a morning which has potential disaster written all over it can go so well, when on other uneventful days I might have to engage in serious negotiations and wade through tantrums even to get Super PG out the door, I have no idea. But I’m not going to complain.

Not until I see the photographs that is.


2 thoughts on “A picture-perfect morning until the photographs arrive

  1. Haha, it has, well the hard copy at least, so I have a picture of a picture. Maybe if I’m feeling brave tomorrow I’ll post it as an update – it is better than I thought. Brush my hair? Nope. But I think that’s clear from the photograph, lol 🙂 x


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