Friday, December 15, 2006

Slapstick Always Wins

Tonight at work one of the other photographers was teasing me because she overheard me proclaiming ecstaticly to a three-year-old during a sitting, "You LOVE benches!"

We say and do some pretty idiodic things to get the kids to smile. Today, for example, the kid in question was a little, ah, scattered; he was happy to roll on the floor with his shirt over his head, but when it came to sitting still and god forbid smiling in my direction, things were a little more overwhelming for him. Hence the bench idea. I said, in my oh-my-gosh-this-is-going-to-be-so-cool voice, "Hey Jack... do you want to sit on a bench?" And the vocal tone worked, because his eyes got really big and a smile crept on his face and he clapped his hands as I brought the bench onto the canvass. "Yeah!" I cried, "You LOVE benches!"

I had this other one tonight, a gorgeous but painfully shy, bury-your-face-in-mommy's-chest 3-year-old, who I couldn't seem to pry loose long enough to sit on the canvass alone. Gradually I worked my way up from tickling him with our favorite feathered "tickle stick" (a phrase so embarrassing I can't bring myself to say it outloud when the fathers are present, and have finally started calling the feather duster a "tickle monster"), to rolling a ball back and forth (all the while shooting madly, you understand), to, finally, the kicker - banging the ball on my own head as though it were attacking me. He thought this was a riot. If I were allowed to use the images I take, I'd show you the ones of him giggling hysterically, his hands adorably clasped against his cheek. Parents love these photos.

Yesterday, while humiliating myself in similar fashion for an 18-month-old with the old Christmas-ornament-to-the-head routine, I caught myself saying, outloud, "boinky-boinky-boink!" No one but me noticed my immediate flush to the cheeks and clearing of the throat. I wanted to say, "Alright, Junior, seriously, let's get ahold of ourselves. And close your mouth, you look like an idiot."

I'm exhausted. I'm going to return to the adult world now with some rented episodes of Sex and the City.


1 comment:

Angela said...

Oh good God, I did two tours of duty as a photographer at Christmastime at Sears Portrait Studio. This post gave me a flashback. Anyway, the best way I found to get unwilling children to laugh was to pretend to hurt myself. Worked like a charm every time.