I had to go back through the blog posts from last year to see if I wrote anything about Picture Day. And I did not, except to describe how one Little Person was going to pose like a boxer for his picture. In hindsight, it is quite amazing to me that Picture Day escaped with so little comment, because the truth is that Picture Day is crazy. I mean almost out-of-control chaos. It's a wonder that any preschoolers anywhere survive it. Or Preschool Teachers, for that matter.
To give you a better understanding of this traumatic event, let me just tell you all of the elements that must go together to make Picture Day. First, you have the Picture Day setting: Lunchtime. Not only is lunchtime a noisy and distraction-filled time on any given day, the combination of a noisy room, any kind of food and 21 dressed up, curled up and/or slicked down Little People is generally not a good one.
Then you mix in the fact that everyone in the school is getting their picture taken, so despite your best wishes, the Little People must actually start eating their lunches before it is their turn. (See point above.) We can only be thankful that there was no chili or ketchup on the menu that day.
Then you add in the fact that the actual pictures are taken on the stage of the cafeteria. The stage with a four-foot drop off that naturally serves as a magnet for any three or four year old. Plus a live microphone, which my aide wrenched out of Little Johnny's hand just in time before he gave his own personal broadcast to all of the upper elementary grades.
In addition to the elements already mentioned, you also have one grouchy Picture man in a very deceptively happy-looking Hawaiian shirt. I'm not sure if he just didn't like preschoolers or was just feeling resentful to allchildren needing their pictures taken. (Which would be sadly ironic, since that was obviously his job.) Either way, he wasn't very friendly, nor was he the least bit accommodating to our Little People. In fact, even though he had his own photography station that he had been using before we got up there, he didn't even take pictures while my kids were up on the stage. This left them to wait through just two photographers. Then he came to me and said I would need to line all my remaining kids up behind just one of the photographers so the bigger kids could come to the other two cameras. I furrowed my brow at him and asked as sweetly as I could, "Or perhaps could they just stay with the two photographers they're at now so they can get done quicker -- because they're four." He said huffily, "I know they're four," but he didn't make me move them. And obviously he didn't really know that which he said he knew, because anyone who really knows that knows that you don't try to line up a class of preschoolers on a stage with a four foot drop just feet away from them. In fact, the words "line up" and "wait" don't even go together in Four Year Old world. I definitely don't think he knew that.
Finally, the final part of this is that fact that the three teachers also have to get their pictures taken. We just took turns after we finally got everyone back to their seat (where they were too distracted to eat any more and were largely just either yelling as loudly as they could or were flinging their lunch boxes around wildly at their neighbors). I tried to wipe the sheen of sweat and Picture Day stress off of my face before they took my picture, but I'm not sure it worked.
I think I just looked Harried. Which I suppose captured the entire experience perfectly.