For the last two or three years, I've gotten the holiday cards with a blank framed slot in the front for the 4x6 photo insert to go into; that's usually the time of year when I have to literally threaten the removal of any and all electronic devices from my kids' possessions until they agree to take a photograph that I can have 20+ copies made of.
They'll protest, still...even if I threaten to change the wi-fi password until they comply. And I'd probably change it to something SO silly, something like, "cheese," JUST to annoy them even more once photos had been successfully obtained and I've freed them. Once the holiday decorations have been put out, (and today, we've finally finished decorating the house, inside and outside!) I'll whip out the camera and tell them to get in front of the tree, it's 'holiday card picture time.'
"But Mahhhhh.....we're getting too old for this..." The moaning and groaning starts. From both of them, even though they SHOULD know better, by now. It happens EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. The son will attempt to retreat into his room after I'll have warned him earlier in the day that a photo shoot was planned for the evening. Daughter will say she's having a bad hair day. Or she'll say she has a rash on her teeth. Anything but pictures!
"No, you're not too old!" I'm doing all sorts of head acrobatics as I'm nudging the both of them into the direction I want them. "Move to the left. No, not you...your sister. Now, bring your heads closer together. Now, smile....(snap...snap...) Would you STOP giving me that look?"
Let me add that the daughter thinks that smirking is smiling. To a sixth grader, maybe. But for a Christmas picture, it's just not appropriate. We're sending these cards to people we actually like.
"Listen," I finally said to both of them after many failed attempts at good photos, due to closed eyes, smirks, deadpan looks..."If you two don't want to take a picture, then fine...just know that I am not opposed to finding the nearest JC Penney's portrait studio. I'm still a member of the portrait club and being a member, I get free sittings. If it means I have to drive forty miles away to get a free sitting, you bet your asses, I will do that. And you'll have to be dressed in your Sunday best clothing, your hair will have to actually be combed, you'll (I point to the son) have to shave that mess you call a the beginnings of a beard, find a button-down shirt and tie...and YOU (I point to daughter) will have to actually detangle your mop of hair, which requires a heavy brushing by yours, truly (I point to me now, with a big smile on my face). Then of course, you'll have to get a nice pair of pantyhose...the nicer the pair of tights, the more itchy it is...or maybe you can wear the ugly Christmas sweater you got last year from Aunt So-and-so in Kissimmee. (We don't have one of those, but you get the idea) Then, once we get to JC Penney's, you two can drive the photographer crazy, and I'll make sure she takes out every single stuffed animal prop she owns and I'll tell her that it's the only way to get you both to smile properly. Either way, if I have to go through all of that to get a decent picture of both of you ungrateful brats, then so help me, lord, I will. Or you can smile right now, cooperate, say 'cheese,' and this can be over in five minutes."
The two of them exchange a look. They look at me again, mouths hanging. I stand there with my camera in one hand, the other hand on my hip. My eyes are saying that I'm dead serious.
"So, you want us in front of the tree, yeah?" The son was always the smarter one. He's now nudging his sister, who's nodding frantically. I must say, the thought of having to sit through a hair-brushing was what did it. Her hair is very much like Hagrid's from Harry Potter. Just PICTURE trying to run a brush through that. It's certainly not worth all the smirking she had been doing!
"Correct." Camera's at the ready, I'm delighting at their change of heart.
"And...oh, we'll pretend we're giving each other a gift?" He bends and pulls a box out from under the tree, then smiles as he hands a gift to his sister, who, in turn, smiles nicely. "Like this?"
I didn't really want to have to go to JC Penney's, but it's good to know that threat still works.