I thought it was going to be simple. Go in, take a single photo of each child for their passport and leave. Sounds easy... right? I timed the trip for when each child should be at their relative best, plied them with the elusive gold known as a happy meal and promises of time in the toy isle and then headed to the Walmart photographer to get the necessary task done. Never did I expect that the years spent unconsciously conditioning my children would come back to haunt me. Like a pair of well trained Pavlovian dogs, every time the photographer stood behind the camera the girls would smile. Have you ever tried to convince a child, particularly a child (read: Lexi) who is thrilled with the fact that they have suddenly become a pint sized celebrity with their own personal paparazzi, not to smile? It's extremely difficult, let me tell you. Because smiling is absolutely not allowed on passport photos, Trent, the photographer and I kept the fellow patrons thoroughly amused with our antics. We tried playing "happy face..sad face.." We tried holding their lips together and then quickly ducking away. At one point, I thought I had a brilliant idea and we all started humming. It sounds like a good idea...doesn't it? I thought so too! Unfortunately, the girls did not agree. Lexi, looked us like we were completely insane, and stated singing. After all, why hum when you know the words? Tatyanna, despite her relatively chipper demeanor, was having a bad day seizure wise so when her turn came I sat, ducked below the camera's line of sight, holding on to her midsection to keep her safely on the stool while Trent and the photographer tried to work their magic. They danced around holding stuffed cats and bunnies to keep her attention and she pulled my hair and tried desparately to thwart my attempts to keep her stationary. It was not pretty.
In the end, we have photos of two girls looking kind of confused and slightly amused that may or may not pass inspection at the passport office tomorrow and photos of two parents looking completely disheveled and more than a little frazzled. I'm thinking that when the time comes to present said passports at the airport, after lugging several suitcases, carry-ons and two cranky pre-schoolers who hate to travel, the likeness will be unmistakable.