So, our lovely wedding photographer invited us to a bonus baby shoot to document Mush’s beautiful baby features.
And I was so up for this!
I envisaged gorgeous photographs of my beautiful daughter tucked amongst fluffy white nests, all pink and naked with a serene look on her face. Or black and white shots of the three of us, Mack and I gazing down at our baby girl as she smiled up at us. Or even a few cheesy Christmassy pictures with Mush dressed up in some cute getup, surrounded by snow and real life reindeer (ok, I think I knew in my heart of hearts that that last one was probably not feasible but I had high hopes for the rest).
On the morning of our photoshoot I washed Mush carefully, brushed her few baby hairs lovingly and dressed her in a cute onesie. I also carefully selected a few more outfits for wardrobe changes. I then got myself ready by putting on some clean clothes (whilst getting dressed in not normally noteworthy, I feel it is worth a mention now as these days my clothes are mostly covered in baby sick so a clean outfit is a big deal), I applied make up (I can count on 1 hand how many times my foundation has seen the cold light of day in the last 4 months) and dried AND straightened my hair (a break from the wash it at night, scrag it back in the day and dry shampoo it for one day more than I can get away with it routine I’ve adopted of late). Mack also got himself together by trimming the beard, donning jeans rather than his trademark shorts and styling his mop.
We were looking good. Well, clean. We looked clean. After all no amount of preening can wipe three months of sleepless nights off your face! In any event we were ready to go pose for our idyllic family photos.
Only thing was…Mush didn’t get the memo!
Before we could leave the house she had thrown up on Mack’s tshirt (the one I carefully selected as it coordinated with me and Mush). In the trauma of cramming Mush in the car (she hates the car for reasons only she is privy to) we managed to leave the bottoms of the lovely Christmas outfit we’d bought for those oh so perfect seasonal shots. And we’d forgotten to check the contents of the nappy bag (rookie mistake) meaning we were about to enter the outside world armed with only 4 nappies (this would not be enough).
The weather was blowing a gale so when we arrived (parked 200m away) Mack and I sat in the car for 10 mins deliberating who should make a run for it with the baby (she’s carried everywhere as the pram is her biggest nemesis next to the car) and who should unload the car (yes, with a baby there is always cargo to unload even for a 30 minute photo shoot). Mack opted for unloading and I legged it into the studio, worrying in equal measure about keeping my baby dry and warm and keeping my freshly straightened hair away from the elements. Mush focused mainly on flailing her limbs around so that the blanket around her kept falling off causing me to drop the brolly several times as I tried to keep my little octopus contained.
Phew – I made it in the building in relatively one piece with only slightly mad hair and a hardly damp baby. Our photographer took us through her ideas and the three of us nodded and agreed; excited to get started (well I was, Mack had been dragged along begrudgingly on the promise I’d make brownies and Mush was showing all appearance of listening and agreeing but she was blatantly crossing her fingers behind her back).
Pose 1: parents to kiss each of baby’s cheeks as she beams a big gummy grin.
Reality: Mush screams with relish the moment either of us has the audacity to kiss her or in fact show her any kind of affection.
Perhaps she needs some me time says the photographer so let’s try laying her down.
Pose 2: let’s arrange the baby in a blanket nest on the floor and let Mummy and Daddy lie next to her gazing down at her pretty little face.
Reality: Mush spends the whole time sucking her thumb (which she does with thumb in mouth but also all other fingers spread over her face) and facing away from the camera as we try to hold ourselves in an unnatural position and take it in turns to pull Mush’s thumb out her mouth.
Perhaps she’ll be happier naked. Says the photographer. Erm…she hasn’t pooed for 5 days but naked…sure.
Pose 3: Mush in all her cute butt nakedness nestled in a white fluffy blanked surrounded by pink rose petals
Reality: you guessed it folks! Poo! Mush suddenly went from grumpy devil baby to smiley. Thank goodness we thought. Until she farted. I hope that’s not a precursor Mack joked. Then…poo face.
Let me explain – Mush has a special face she pulls which means ‘Mummy, Daddy look – I’m pooing’. For a girl who would rather look at anything or anyone other than her parents, when she’s pooing she fixes us with undivided eye contact. As if to say…I’m brewing something truly disgusting which you will have to clean up. Poo face cannot be mistaken. So when Mush suddenly looks at us, knits her brow and purses her lips – Mack and I dive in but it’s too late. Beautiful fluffy white nest is now orange brown toilet. 5 days worth of toilet.
Our photographer was lovely – ‘these things happen, just let her do her thing and then we will be able to try again’ etc etc. So Mack, I and the photographer all wait for Mush to finish her biggest poo yet. Mush’s effort would have been almost impressive had we not been mortified. In an attempt to stem the flow – Mack had got through 2 nappies. When Mush had finished she then free weed all over the 3rd nappy. As Mack pulled out the forth and final nappy we realised our error and started to panic.
The photographer stepped in and said to leave her naked – ‘she’s done both poo and wee so she must be empty so she can just be dressed after the shoot’. Okie doki, on to the next.
Pose 4: some Mummy and Daughter shots and Daddy and Daughter shots where parent and baby alike are full of joy at this bonding opportunity.
Reality: Mush is uncharacteristically happy and bonny with Mummy. Unnerving really. Then she screams and frowns with Daddy – ah that’s why so nice with mummy – divide and conquer.
Pose 5: baby rolled up onto 2nd blanket next to a chalk heart with her name on it, looking like a fallen angel.
Reality: we did indeed have smiley angelic rolled up Mush but only because she was weeing on this new blank canvas.
2 blankets in we are reassured that there’s no one in after us and it’ll all come out in the wash.
Pose 6: a girly pink blanket with a cutey baby lying in the middle on her tummy giggling up at the camera.
Reality. Mush hates the car. Mush hates the pram. And Mush HATES tummy time. So cue crying child writhing on pink blanket free weeing out of pure spite (her butt did look cute though).
Ok. Let’s dress the baby – there are only a finite amount of props after all and prepare for the Christmas shot (on goes the final nappy).
Pose 7: baby surrounded by Christmas decorations and a sign reading merry Christmas which she beams up at as if reading it.
Reality: now dressed Mush has to get creative with her sabotage. She figures throwing up all over the large baubles will do it. It does. Merry bleeding Christmas.
Ok ok. Why don’t we pick baby up. Maybe she wants to be loved.
Post 8: let’s try some standing shots of Mummy and Mush and Daddy and Mush again. We can throw baby in the air to illicit those cutesy baby chuckles etc.
Reality: Mummy gingerly holding Mush above her (well she was just sick) whilst Mush does smile a bit (Mush’s smiles are usually followed with a frown as if she didn’t mean for the smile to get out). And then nothing but tears for Daddy – Daddy is starting to take it personally.
Mush is now hysterical. Perhaps that’s a wrap.
Down the stairs to leave we go with the photographer carrying a bag of poo and wee soaked blankets and one sicky bauble.
I wonder if the next wedding she photographs will be getting a free first baby shoot. My guess is not.
We step out into sunshine (bloody typical) and place Mush into her hated car only for her to fix each of us with a stare, give half a smile and then fall asleep trumping like a trooper as if knowing that’ll we’ll be waiting for the poo which is going to make us nappy less.
I shall be lowering my expectations for our next photo shoot to considering a session where my child does not shit all over the studio, a win!