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PIcture Day - Times Two

Maddie had her first ever Picture Day at
school this week.

So did Cora.

What’s that, you ask? You didn’t think Cora goes to
school? Yeah, she doesn’t.

Maddie and I spent the night before her
picture day picking out the perfect outfit – even giving it a
test run and modeling the selection for all to see. I guess we
talked it up quite a bit, and Maddie was very excited the next
morning as she got ready. As she walked into the school room she
said, “I’m ready to take my picture!”

Cora and I turned away from the school door, and Cora looked at me
and said, “Mommy, when do I take MY school picture?”

You see, Cora believes she’s in school too. Maddie’s in
the Purple Room at her school, and we’ve coordinated all
school-related things to go with it. Coincidentally, Maddie’s
ballet class all wears purple as well. So when Cora chose her
ballet outfit for her (pretend) ballet class, she picked pink, and
announced that she is in the Pink Room at her school. Most days
when Maddie’s at school, Cora will have some “school
work time”, and I’ll get out an assignment having to do
with stickers and crayons and tell her to do her school work. And
sometimes I’ll say, “Pink room! Time to do your school
work!” If all that isn’t enough, when we walk out of
the school Cora will say, “Maddie’s in the Purple Room
and Cora’s in the Pink Room!” and I do not contradict

So I can see how Cora believes that she is scheduled for –
nay, entitled to – a school picture time as well.

I looked at Cora in her favorite pink Cookie Monster shirt, bow
perched on top of her Pebbles-style ponytail, and couldn’t
figure out a way to break her heart. We walked slowly down the hall
as I prevaricated, trying to come up with something meaningless but
reassuring, when we passed the room where they were going to do
pictures. I saw the whole thing already set up, and the
photographer taking light readings. An idea was born.

I opened the door, smiled my most charming smile, and said,
“Excuse me – is there any way I can take a picture of
my daughter on your set really quickly with my cell phone? She
wants a Picture Day like her big sister.” The photographer
smiled graciously and said, “No problem. Let her hop on
up.” I turned to my purse, only to discover I’d left my
cell phone in the car.

This was bad, but not insurmountable. I dragged my iPod out of the
purse and decided to pretend it was a camera. I’d have
nothing to download and show Cora later, but one problem at a time.
I calmly walked over to where Cora waited sedately, held up my iPod
like a phone, and cheerfully shouted, “Click!”

At which point Cora said, “Mommy, dat’s not a

The photographer quietly stepped forward and said, “Would you
like me to take a few pictures?” I smiled gratefully and she
set to work, cheering Cora on and chatting quietly with her. Three
minutes later the photographer had her light readings and Cora was
all finished. I pulled Cora off the set and prepared to make our
getaway, thanking the woman profusely.

At which point Cora said, “Mommy, you have to give her the
order form, like with Maddie.”

Dang it, this kid is sharp.

The photographer once again saved the day. “If you want to
order a small package I’ll write on here that she’s not
actually in the school. Don’t worry, I’ll get it
figured out.”

Which is how I ended up spending fifteen bucks on a school picture
package for a school Cora doesn’t even go to.

And which is why, when Cora looks back through her photo albums
twenty years from now, her first official school photo will be of
her as a two-year-old, smiling toothily in her favorite Cookie
Monster t-shirt.


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