October 19, 2010

A Deer in Headlights







Oh my little Gigi...... Gigi is a supermodel. Can you tell by the Gigi and Lula photographs?? Gigi has been keenly aware of cameras since she was old enough tp be aware of her surroundings.  As a new SAHM with my first bundle of joy in a new state in a half empty neighborhood we spent hours playing dress-up and having photos shoots.  There were millions of pictures of Gigi by the time she was a year old.  As soon as she was old enough to smile on command she would do so at the mere sight of a camera. It didn't even have to be mine or aimed at her. Gigi knew a camera meant attention and oohing and ahhing and big smiles. The bigger her smile, the bigger Mommy's smile. I know that this must make me sound like a monster. NO I am not a stage mother. I shutter at the thought of baby beauty pagents and I always though that G was beautiful enough to be a model but was not willing to have her spend her youth as a performing monkey. Our photo shoots were something to do. A way to chronicle her days and show all of our family what their grandaughter or niece looked like.

Gigi is anything but a wallflower. She is a ham, and bossy and engaging and kind and playful and full of energy. She can be a drama queen and is sharp as a tack.  I have an image of her not long from now chasing down newspaper photographers at community events; much the way Muffy and I did when we were kids.  She will be the life of the party- is pretty sure she is the center of the universe- and I adore her for it.

Today was school picture day for G. She picked out a darling dress, told me how to fix her hair and practiced her biggest smile throughout breakfast. She posed and chattered on to her sister about how she was going to "look like a movie star".  This is yet another moment that I was unprepared for. Just as the Father-Daughter dance at her school last month hit me like a sucker-punch to the gut.... This milestone... being old enough for school photos... Just tear my heart out of my chest and dance the Irish-Jig on it why don't you.  I was ready for preschool, I was excited for preschool, but this... School dances, school photos... It's too much, she a baby for God's sake, she not in grade school!

Deep breath, time stand still for no one... Embrace it. She's growing up, she's amazing and she loves the camera.  Push the "she's too young" out of your mind and go off on an adventure. Heck think of it as practice... Two years of preschool photos and she'll be ready when Kindergarten rolls around!  We skipped Stroller Strides. She got to play onthe playground instead. We went to Mcdonald's for smoothies before school  {I  wish Jamba-juice had a drive-thru. Heck I wish there was a Robeck's here - I'd unload the kids from the car for one of their smoothies, but I digress.....} and then to school to join the other mom's combing, primping, redressing, washing. G seemed to think this entire adventure was exciting.  She played with her friends while other classmates had their photos taken. I saw mom after mom go behing the screen and pop right back out - Easy-Peezie. Painless for both mother and child - OK. I'm ready........

Turns out G was not. Once on the stool my little girl, my little ham, my dram queen sat frozen. Hands plastered to her lap, head straight on eyes as big as saucers and a creepy half smile stuck on her face. "Gigi..... Gigi, smile." Nothing, not even a blink.  "Gigi.... Say 'Cheese'.."  {crickets chirping} smile getting creepier and creepier.  My stomach is in knots now.... Not beacause she cannot smile or wont smile. Not because I can see this isn't going to happen or that the photo will be horrible.... My stomach is in knots beacuse I realize I have seen this smile once before....

A few weeks back we were in the ER. I know I have yet to tell the whole story and I will. It was Gigi who was in the ER.  She drank a bottle of Children's Tylenol and I rushed her to the ER.  We were there for several hours, almost all night and when the nurses and doctors needed to do anything they would wake her. She would lay there, stiff as a board, eyes wide and unblinking with a smile, a half smile half biting her bottom lip look on her face. Unresponsive, unchanging except to shift her eyes from looking at the medical staff to back to me. It was the WORST part of the entire affair. I could see my baby terrified and coping in the unnatural manner.  My heart was sick watching her pretend it was all okay that night and this same frozen panic today..... Uugh....

What do you do? Do you swoop in and save her and take her away and kiss it better and tell her it's okay - Beacuse damn the photos you don't care about them and didn't want them anyway??  Do you make her sit there and have the photo taken because there is nothing to be afraid of and facing the fear with break it???

I asked her to close her eyes and take a deep breath. The said "Okay.... One....Two...Three....Open your eyes." When she did she had at least a normal fake smile on her face, the photo was snapped I swung her off the stool, hugged her told her she looked like a movie start and kissed her all the way back to her classroom where our normal, outgoing Gigi was returned to us once again.

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