Getting the photos home from school is always stressful. They come wrapped in a flimsy paper envelope. There is a note on the envelope that reads:
Do not fold or bend
Do not open until home
Keep Package dry
Cue hysterical laughing. Do these instructions sound like something an infants school kid can (read) follow?
For us it's more like a check list.
Are the photos folded and bent? Check!
Have they been opened before we get home? Check! (Miss Five was waving hers in the air as I drove towards her at school)
Is the package dry? Well, yes, but only by miraculous circumstances have I saved the photos from being covered in orange juice, milk and a leaking water bottle in the last 24 hours.
By the time I had the three sets safely in my hands at home, one had been accidentally stepped on ("sorry Mum"). So one portrait now sports a big white crease through the forehead and class shot. I had to count to 1000 when I saw this in order to maintain composure and perspective.
The photos were taken in May, when I had the kids on my own for three weeks. It could be just me, but I think when you look at the photos this year, you can tell we were living on the edge..
Jesse did his own hair that day. I remember him asking for the pineapple hair gel and I'm sure I would have counselled moderation. Ha! I'm surprised his classmates didn't pass out from the fumes. Anyway, at least this year he had two front teeth - last year he only had one (full size) while the other was missing in action. Small victories..
Mim's photo is pretty cute, and I suppose it was too much to expect the photographer/teacher/hordes of onlookers to adjust her fringe so it was smooth rather than splayed over her forehead.
Eleanore inexplicably has one side pigtail at the front while the other pigtail is at the back of her head. She also looks very tired, which is how we all felt while their Dad was away. Her set is currently lost somewhere in the house, so I couldn't access the digital image to weave my artistic magic on it. Shame.
These days there's controversy about school photo companies offering photoshopping options and like most people I'm fairly horrified at the concept of adding fake tans, erasing blemishes or whitening teeth. (Hats, sunglasses and fake flowers are obviously another matter entirely!)
Faking characteristics means you won't appear as you really are. Twenty years ago (or more, sob) photoshopping one's school photos was not a possibility, and I'm glad. Heck at least my kids have something to laugh themselves silly at when they flick through my albums and see the year I had no front teeth or favoured crazy teased hair (hey, it was the 80's!).
I think everyone's school photos should stay as a warts and all (though hopefully not on the face) tribute to childhood innocence, terror and happiness with all of the individual quirks. And if one year's a disaster, hopefully you'll receive a record the following year of vast, and natural, improvements.