Have you ever needed to get passport photos of your children? It’s not an easy task, with a wriggly, ants in your pants, fidgety, little one year old. I am still suffering post traumatic stress from the whole affair. I’m not sure if it’s just the universe conspiring against us but it has been the ultimate mission trying to get these tiny little pictures done! I don’t know what the regulations are like in your part of the world, but in NZ I would have to say they are pretty strict.
Let’s begin from the start shall we, so dramatic I know. Friday night bowled around and we decided to schedule passport pics for Saturday. This would mean the little one could be rested, clean, calm and cooperative. If we planned it right, time would be on our side. I imagined we would breeze into the photo centre, pose for a few seconds, get the shots, and pay for our glamorous un-smiley passport photo’s. Ready to send off our completed applications, all the while envisioning holidaying in far off tropical, distant islands. Ha! Dreams are free my friend. What ensued was comical hi-jinx fit for any comedy show – all we needed was theme music and we would of had a hit on our hands.
We parked, placed the toddler in his buggy/stroller, rode the elevator down to our first stop, where the lovely counter assistant asked us as to who the pictures were for. When I explained I needed them for both myself and my son, a look of pure terror shot out from her eyes. She informed me that the photographer was currently on break…and that they had run out of film. You mean to tell me on Saturday probably the busiest day of the trading week, you have no film? What is this, 1970? We were politely informed that we could return on Monday where they would be fully stocked up again. We decided to try our luck somewhere else. Stroller back in car, toddler in car seat, off we go.
The second place we visited, I again was met with a look of shock horror that we required photos taken of our son. We were told there was a big queue and that we would be waiting at least half an hour before they could even see us. I looked around the store, and found it hard to believe that we would have to wait half an hour…maybe the customers were invisible, or there was some secret booking form we didn’t know about. Normally I am a pretty patient person, but for some reason it was muggy weather, humid and hot. Not great for my usually polite, friendly demeanour. Stroller back in vehicle, toddler in car seat, here we go again.
We arrived at the third place, they didn’t even advertise that they offered the service we were after…I decided to give it one last shot. “Do you take passport pics by any chance?” The same look of fear I had previously witnessed washed over the assistants face. I was starting to get a complex! “Are they for you or the child?” Wearing a huge smile I replied – “for us both” She ushered me into a small room, where the real fun and games began. When someone tells me not to do something, I have this innate desire to do the exact opposite. You guessed it the moment she said “don’t smile” I could feel the corners of my mouth trembling and trying to turn up. It took all of my self control not to burst into hysterics. We got the picture… even though I look like an idiot trying not to laugh … errr awkward much?
Then it was the child’s turn. I saw the guidelines poster on the wall showing the kind of picture we required. If I had trouble keeping a straight face, how on earth did they expect a giggly, drooling, can’t sit still for one second type of toddler to look dead centre at the camera with no expression, mouth closed, ensuring both ears are showing? By the end of it there were 5 of us crammed into this stuffy little room trying all kinds of distraction techniques to get the boy to sit still, look at the camera, and NOT smile. I was holding the back drop up so the background was neutral, my partner was hanging over (and probably scaring) the lovely photographer, clicking, making strange sounds trying to get him to look in the right direction. And two other staff came in to offer their assistance to no avail. By the end, the sweat was pouring down my neck, and I had to control myself (yes again) from yelling out “Just take the dam shot!” With no more tricks up our sleeves, we all slumped over. My beautiful happy toddler decided it was time to crawl over and take things into his own hands, literally he latched on to the camera and wouldn’t let it go.
I didn’t even proof the shot in the end…I trusted the photographers judgement in selecting the best of what we had to choose from. Apparently there were plenty of adorable pics of him flashing his pearly whites and big eyes, which normally would make me weak at the knees, but proved utterly useless in this situation. We are 50/50 at this stage, not sure if the selected photo will make the cut or not. The photographer left us with an optimistic parting sentiment “hopefully they will just think he’s cute and approve the application on that” Here’s hoping! Please don’t make me have to go through this all over again…