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Picture This

In the first year of our twin boy's life my wife and I snapped 1500 or so digital pictures, and endless hours of MiniDV movies. At about 1 1/2 years old that all stopped. Partially it was just lack of commitment on our part, but mostly it was the frustration of trying to get pictures of the uncooperative. Our boy's are blurs both on camera and off...

Nowhere was this better illustrated than at the local Picture People portrait studio this week. We were in the last week of our annual club membership that entitles you to unlimited free picture sittings, and includes some free prints. My wife, bless her soul, wanted to get a family portrait.

We arrived at minutes before the store opened and the fireworks began shortly thereafter. Neither of the two toddlers wants to be held for long periods, except on their own terms. I can't really blame them for that… If you take either of them outside the house and they are not strapped down to a stroller or tied to a leash, they will immediately take off in opposite directions. This is a real problem for my wife when I am not around. Throw in the requisite tantrums, fighting and screaming and you have a barrel of fun.

During the exceeding brief photo shoot we were treated to kicking, screaming, crying, and headbuts. I am proud to say neither my wife nor I engaged in the aforementioned behavior, tempting as it may have been.

We did manage to get one semi respectable shot out of the allotted 5, but it's not going up on a wall or out as a family Christmas portrait. There was a hand in one mouth, and tears on another face. I've got to give it to the pimply teenage photographer - through 15 minutes of cajoling and clowning he did manage to get a shot where we were all at least looking at the camera. As a participant, I could have sworn such a moment did not actually occur.

I always wondered why couples with older children always had framed pictures of their children as infants, but none of them as toddlers. I think I know the reason why now…

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