I’m going to do it.
I’m not going to do it.
I have to do it.
Why the hell do I have to do it?
Because, Genius, you’re a mom, and this is what moms do. Not to mention, it’s your child’s first day of Pre-K 5, and you want to remember that with a cutsie picture, don’t you? Aren’t you the mom that dresses up for your child’s birthday parties? Aren’t you the mom who designs cakes for the same birthday parties? Aren’t you the mom who writes blogs about your child’s life? Aren’t you the mom who brings a camera and/or iPhone to every event, and has taken at least 35,000 pictures over the last five years?
I hate when my logical side speaks to my lazy, tired, overburdened side. It’s so inconvenient. Tiny Tot’s first day of Pre-K 5 also coincided with the end of my sister and her family visiting over Labor Day, and my call week. Yes, I knew it was coming up, but honestly, I also thought I’d missed it. His teacher had made a reference to his first day being September 2nd, and then two days later said he’d done so well on his first full day. Now that I think about it, I wonder if she meant his first full day in his new classroom. That would make sense, right?
Except, work for me has been so crazy lately that logic and my brain are not leaping together. They’re not even skipping through raindrops together. Heck, they’re barely friends right now, which is how I nearly missed that first day picture.
When I realized that his first day was actually September 2nd, I started remembering all the cute, happy, proudly beaming children I see (and have seen) on Facebook each year around this time. Now, suddenly, it was my time to take that memorable first picture, and proudly display it on Facebook. So why was there so much hesitation and angst? I’d already pulled out a blue, button-down shirt, and cute, little, white shorts. I’d already packed his backpack with backup clothing. He was already going to look like a tiny stud muffin of a GQ model on his first day of school. … Except for his hair, and I’m done fighting over his lack of all things gel-related. My child refuses to let me style his hair, and has already decided that a greased-down flat look is what he wants. So, to combat, I don’t mess with it.
I knew, though, why I was so hesitant. It was the chalkboards. It was the posters. It was the artfully-designed photographs with cute phrases. It was the driveways designed in numbered array. All of these pictures I’ve seen floating around by all of my super-artful, super-talented, super mom friends.
And then, standing in the corner, hair frizzed out like an insane woman, feeling pressured and defiantly grumpy (yes, defiantly grumpy), was me. I didn’t want to take the time to design a chalk board; I don’t own a chalkboard. I didn’t want to draw across my driveway, have you seen it? There are cracks a mile deep, and weeds creating family trees; it’s not very pretty. I didn’t want to make a poster, I suck at posters, anyway.
Here’s a well known truth (and not at all a secret): I can’t draw a stick figure.
Why the hell would I want to make a poster, a chalkboard, or a driveway?
I did, however, crack a joke that I could take a picture and draw on it. But, my backdrop is the front door. It’s white. There’s no studio. There’s not one pretty backdrop in my home. So, what I wanted was to close my eyes and forget about doing the picture completely.
I couldn’t compare, so why try?
That morning I woke up, made coffee, threw on my scrubs, slapped on my makeup, fed the tiny dinosaur dog, and had the above discussion in my head. With about five minutes to spare, I dug around, tried to remember where I put the markers, then slapped together a poster. “Tiny Tot’s 1st day of Pre-K 5, September 2nd, 2014” was what the poster said. I even threw in little, yellow stars–which ended up looking like looped circles by the time I finished the last one. I believe I was even cursing the fact that I decided to put stars all over the small piece of poster board.
Of course, the one thing I didn’t count on was my tiny human. Much like in reminiscing about Pumpkin Patches, My Utter Failure, my brain had an image. A smiling, happy, proud, tiny human image. All of these Facebook moms, like with the pumpkin patches, created this awesome kid picture in my head. Sure, I didn’t have a chalkboard, but I had a last-minute poster, and a kid. That’s all that I need for the first day, proud-to-go-to-school picture.
Ah, when will I learn? When? All of my Christmas cards have a grumpy, crying child that I somehow, magically got one great shot of, and can’t remember clicking the picture amidst telling him to stop his crying and smile at the camera for just one second. Only after four years of trying did I get my magical pumpkin patch picture, and not the back of the head of a tiny person chasing after a fly. So why would I ever think other mothers First Day pictures will be a representation of mine?
I walked into the bedroom and gently tried to wake Tiny at around 7:45 AM, which is much later than he wakes me on a Saturday (that felt necessary to add). Then I shook him and told him it was time to wake up. Then I decided to just dress the dead baby, because he was acting like it was 5 AM, and not almost eight in the morning. By that point he was growling at me in his usual fashion, trying to kick me away, and throwing the covers over his head.
Drama, drama, drama.
Finally dressed, I scooped him up and brought him into the living room. Then I tried to cajole him with first day eagerness, and told him I wanted a picture of him for his first day of school. I was all bright and cheerful and bubbly, which felt fake even to me. But, hey, picture. It took about ten minutes to get him to stand up, and probably another ten to get him to hold the poster board. This … this was the child I know and love when it comes to most things picture-related. A fact I chose to forget, or thought wouldn’t happen, or blatantly ignored.
Clearly I live in fantasy, not reality. Luckily, Tiny Tot always takes me back to real life.
After taking the picture, I just have to laugh. It’s the antithesis of every picture I see on Facebook, and every picture posted on Instagram. My normally happy, loquacious, bouncing green-eyed boy was nowhere to be seen. In his place was the tiny human who truly hates the lens of my camera. I believe the look he gave me can be called a “death glare.”
Daggers at the lens.
Pure hatred of my camera.
Well, at least next year he starts Kindergarten. I can try again, then. Or at least get another awesomely baleful stare to go with another hastily slapped together poster.