I am not sure why, but I am sort of attached to the idea of getting some "Fall Photos" of my kids. I am drawn in by the loveliness of colorful, crunchy leaves, maybe. For whatever reason, I have taken some of my favorite photos of my children in the fall (I've done it every year since G was born), and I was determined to keep this tradition going.
Doesn't this picture just scream, "Fall is so beautiful! We are a happy family! We love each other!"?
What about this one?
Hmm. Not so much? Maybe this?
Hahaha, oh George, you are killing me. It's nice that I can laugh about this now because let me assure you that I wasn't exactly laughing at the time.
The story is this: It was a pretty Fall day. A bit chilly, but I didn't know how many more days we'd have with leaves and no snow, so when I had an open afternoon I decided to quickly rush the kids over to the park to snap a few pictures. Pearl was already wearing something that I thought was fine for the pictures, but I needed George to change because he had a Superman shirt on that had short sleeves. Plus, Superman wasn't exactly the look I was going for.
George was not happy about having to change his shirt. I mean, he really wasn't happy. I can almost always reason with him, and he honestly never throws tantrums. But he was unhappy about changing his shirt and he let me know it. We sort of worked it out (or so I thought) and I told him that I would just take a couple of pictures with him in the shirt I wanted and then he could put his Superman shirt back on. There weren't any tears, and only mild protests continued, so we forged on to the park. I even sang some of my best Michael Jackson to George in the car to get him to crack a smile. It only sort of worked.
We got to the park and I sat the kids down in some leaves by a tree. I backed away to start snapping like normal and noticed that George would NOT wipe the tormented expression off of his face. You guys, I take a lot of pictures of that boy. I have NEVER not been able to get him to cooperate even for just one or two shots. He wasn't budging. I started out being nice, tried getting silly, and then got frustrated. I went over to him and firmly held his arms so he would look at me in the eyes. He pulled his arms away in rebellion and accidentally smacked Pearl (who was sweetly and perfectly sitting next to him) in the face. She started to cry and I yelled at George and picked up Pearl. I almost never yell at him and rarely even raise my voice at him, so this really hurt his feelings and he lost it and began sobbing. I calmed Pearl down and then attempted another conversation with George, but he was still pretty heartbroken. He just kept saying, "You hurt my feeeeelinnngssss!" The first picture on this post was snapped at this point. Oh the drama of it all. This one was right after Pearl had calmed down. You can still see the remnants of her tears.
He did finally calm down but he continued to really have difficulty putting on a happy face. He was seriously cracking me up though because he was really in a bad mood and did NOT want to appear happy, but he knew I meant business. So he'd be like this one second:
And then I'd pull out my youhadbetterlistentomeNOW voice and he'd instantly do this:
It was honestly hysterical how fast he could pull out that smile for one photo and then put it right back away. Like so:
Oh, the grumpiness, little George. Pearl was happy though.
This is a bad picture of Pearl, but I have to post it because George had just been scowling ferociously one second earlier (the third picture from the top was taken moments before this one), and then magically did this when the threatening voice came out:
I totally felt for him. I know what it is like to just be in a grumpy mood and it is lame to have to suck up your pride and slap on a happy face. I sort of feel bad that the whole thing unfolded that way because it really was my fault initially. I shouldn't have made an issue over the shirt and I should have fed him some dinner before we left. He was hungry and his autonomy and power had been totally taken away (I hadn't tried to do that, but looking back I can totally see how he felt), and I was really sorry about that. I took a minute and had a meaningful conversation with him and apologized for what had happened. I didn't excuse his naughty behavior and he said he was sorry, too. We hugged and he smiled a real, unforced, un-coerced smile. As you can see, he had already put his Superman shirt on (though that hadn't really done anything to help his mood up to that point, and yep, count it up, that is 5 different shades of blue he is rocking).
By this time the light was almost totally gone. I took a few more photos of my now happy children and we played in the leaves (until Pearl fell down and skinned her hands, but that's neither here nor there). I didn't get any Fall Photos that I really liked, but here are some of the better ones. (By the way, who is Pearl's mother and why didn't she do her hair before these pictures? Not sure.)
This is probably my favorite one of the bunch.
I think some of these could have turned out okay had George been cooperative from the beginning and the light not faded so fast. It was just getting so dark.
Oh look, happy children playing together! Weird!
He's a sweet, smiling boy most of the time. Just don't mess with his Superman shirt.
I was actually able to get some more Fall Photos of my kids on a different day completely accidentally. Maybe it was the fact that they were unintentional that made them turn out so much better. I'll post those next.