“Will you come in with me?” his eyes wide, full of frantic energy, met mine from the backseat of the car, where he sat buckled in like a fighter-pilot.

“Of course we will, Baby,” I took his hand into mine, marveling at the feeling of his tiny bird-like bones beneath his skin.

He nodded, unsure if this was an elaborate trap, trying to get him to go to kindergarten under false pretenses – his Mama’s boy.

“We’re juuuuuust going to go and finish your registration,” I assured him, his hand still gripping mine for dear life. “And then we’ll go home.”

“Do I get a treat if I’m good…?” he asked slyly, always my wee conman.

I just laughed and nodded – that kind of simple request is about the easiest I’m dealing with these days. Although, to be fair, the kid wants a treat when he’s stayed dry overnight, when he’s eaten all of his dinner, when he’s managed to NOT to stay dry, when he’s properly wiped his own ass, when the moon is full, when the moon is NOT full.

Most treats involve Batman in one form or another. As the girl who’s first bra was a Super Woman training bra, I can fully support this.

We walked hand-in-hand into the school just as we’d done so many times before with our eldest son, Benjamin. I could hardly believe it wasn’t Ben’s hand I held in my own; that my middle son was ready for kindergarten. The same kid who was a clingy infant last week, not 4 years prior.

Standing in line at the registration counter to receive our “school handbook*,” I sat on a bench with Alex, remembering all the times I’d walked those hallowed halls with my firstborn. Suddenly, like a stab to the heart, I missed him terribly. I shook it off as best as I could as we made our way down the hallway that once led to Ben’s forth grade room, winding through a maze of kids and their parents.

“Okay, J,” I said, “It’s time to take a picture.”

He nodded solemnly.

“Now, see if you can make a REALLY silly face, like this,” I squished up my face, stuck my tongue out and gave the metal horns. Sorta like this:

helicopter parents

He giggled, the laugh that always makes me burst into gales of laughter – it’s so from the heart, you simply can’t not join in.

“Okay, Mama,” he said, grinning ear to ear. The kid is a ham – he loves to make people laugh and this would be the ideal opportunity for him.

We stood around awhile in the LRC (did they always call the Library the LRC? I can’t remember, which, for some inexplicable reason makes me want to play Oregon Trail, but that is neither here nor there).

helicopter-parents

We stood in what appeared to be a line, but turned out to be just a bunch of people standing around, which is something I do often. Form lines of people in my head, and then stand around like a doofus, waiting for my turn until someone gently explains that I’ve been waiting on the fringes of a group of women discussing their cats.

I noted the large pile of combs sitting around and giggled – I don’t remember seeing combs when I had my last school pictures:

helicopter parents

Could’ve benefited from both a comb AND a tan there. Possibly highlights, but this was back before Jennifer Aniston made everyone think that cutting your hair into face-framing layers and highlighting it would make you as beautiful as her.

Note to world: doesn’t work that way.

Alas, I motherfucking digress.

We stood there in the line-but-not-a-line for a long while, as I tried (in vain) to hack through the school’s firewall so I could tell The Twitter, “LOOK OUT BELOW, MOTHERFUCKERS!” It’s the little things in life, really.

Finally, a PTO lady who was probably in charge of all things picture-related stared at my arm tattoo to my son, back to my arm tattoo again before asking: “What’s his name?”

“Alexander Harks,” I replied, looking around for Daver, who is more official-looking than I, and therefore more apt to be taken seriously.

“Okay,” she replied, looking as though I might knife her or something, “ummmmm, you go stand in THAT line,” she said nervously as she pointed to the line farthest from her.

“Thanks!” I said brightly, giggling inside – I find it funny that a tattoo of a peacock would intimidate ANYone.

helicopter parents

It’s not like I got a snake eating a lion with a knife oozing blood (although perhaps I should’ve).

We stood in that line (which was not ACTUALLY a line), waiting for the photographer. “Should we, uh, comb his hair?” Daver asked as we stood patiently in the non-line.

“Nah,” I replied. “Let’s remember him how he was at this age, and not all Toddlers and Tiaras.”

It was at that moment that I began to hear what sounded to be an Eagle, standing in the non-line next to me.

“Wait, WAIT,” she nearly screamed. “LET ME FIX HIS HAIR.”

The Helicopter Parent had arrived.

The little boy in question was starting kindergarten as well, and his hair, well, it appeared to be perfect from where I stood. I don’t know, maybe it was like all over his face like a werewolf or something – I couldn’t see. All that I *could* see was that he was just a little boy.

The Eagle Helicopter Mom swooped in and began to vigorously comb her son’s hair, practically hissing in his face, “YOU’RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT THESE PICTURES FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. YOU BETTER LOOK GOOD!”

The three of us stood there, stunned into silence, as the Eagle Helicopter Mom prattled on. “Forever. You’ll be looking at these pictures FOREVER and YOU WANT TO LOOK YOUR BEST DON’T YOU?”

The kid just sat there, nodding – probably afraid of The Eagle’s wrath. I know *I* was.

(It was at this point that I began to smirk into my hand – maybe the kid’s future HUSBAND or WIFE might care, but most boys don’t give a flying shit about their school pictures)

By the time she’d fixed his hair so he looked impeccable (for a 5-year old), my own son had already had two snaps taken and was now standing neatly by my side, asking for a treat for “being good.”

I took one look back at “The Eagle” as we left the LRC (without playing Oregon Trail), and saw that she was standing there, trying to direct the school photog to make sure that the lighting was proper and that he had a “good angle” for the photograph – the shitty school photograph, not even one of those studio places.

“Did you make a face?” I asked Alex on the way out.

“I tried,” he looked up at me, hand firmly clutching my own.

“Good,” I smiled as I picked him up and twirled him around. “THAT is perfect.”

I’m sure “The Eagle” Helicopter Mommy will be all about retouching the snaps of her kid, pointing out all the flaws, and insisting that he have his photo redone, while I’ll be content looking my son. Just as he was. No more. No less.

helicopter parent

I couldn’t ask for anything more.

*Not entirely sure WHAT that book is – could be The Anarchist’s Cookbook.

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26 Responses to *Thwap* *Thwap* *Thwap* Incoooooooooommmmiiiinnnnnggggg

  • Andrew says:

    Full of THE AWESOME, as per usual.

  • CycleNinja says:

    The only people who show any interest in school pictures are wedding-party blackmailers.

  • Erin says:

    Those helicopter Moms are just worried that someone will think they weren’t a perfect Mom if the picture doesn’t look just so! Whereas you have the wisdom to know that none of us Moms are perfect and to love your kids like they are. I remember being so proud when my oldest duaghter’s four month picture looked like she was a little angel except that she was flipping us the bird! Now those are the photos you like to look at forever! Please post his picture if you can- would love to see the face he came up with…

  • Grace says:

    Wow! School photos before school has even STARTED?? Crazy pants! Although where we live, we get maybe 2 days warning before pictures here. Tons o fun.

  • magpie says:

    gosh. you’re my kind of mom. the other kind make me REALLY glad i get on the train and go to work every day.

  • Stacey says:

    She was really worried about the photographer getting a good angle? Uh … aren’t kids freaken adorable from any angle?

  • Vanessa says:

    My son has a 6 inch Mohawk in his kindergarten and first grade pictures. For the second grade he had a green 4 inch Mohawk. This year I’m trying to talk him into some fake ear gauges. They won’t let him put his hands in the picture which is a bummer. I get the same reaction from some of the parents at his school because of all my tattoos as well. I say they need to liven up and get the corn cob out.

  • Kelly Fox says:

    So Precious! I always call them Juice box Mommies. They’re the Mommies who sign up for everyfreaking thing at the school, who are always there, always impeccably dressed, and pressed, lips pursed like they’re afraid someone’s going to sneak something in there on them. Same ones start out at the playground when their kids are young and haven’t started school yet and always have juice boxes and graham crackers and assorted deliciousness, while my kids were busy trying to club the crap out of each other and every one else with sticks. They always look smug and better than thou, while I always look tired and don’tgiveafucky.

  • Sherry says:

    When my twins were that age, they had their school pictures taken and the youngest (by 21 minutes) did NOT want to have his done that day. When they came back there was one smiling twin and one “almostabouttocryandangryaboutit” twin. The teacher asked if I wanted it redone. I said hell no (okay…I didn’t say hell)! I wanted it exactly the way he felt at that moment.

    Very unhappy and very, very cute.

    It’s still one of my favorite shots EVER.

  • Jolie says:

    I guess I fall in the middle. One pic session at the Wallyworld, my girl did NOT want to do pix ONE BIT AT ALL. NO WAY. So I got boy’s done, then it was girls turn and she wasn’t having it. I said look, we’re not coming back again, so let’s get a group shot of all 3 of us then. I now have a beautiful picture of boy smiling nicely, my arm wrapped around girl holding her on my lap, and her with a big pout on her face. PRICELESS! I know it’s around here somewhere and she’s wearing a bright pink sundress, about 18 mos old. What is she wearing in the pix where she was just chilling out smiling? Don’t remember. But that one is burned in my memory.
    Almost as much as the one where they were in preschool – boy in 4 yo, girl in 2 yo classes, and they had a “mothers day” celebration where they just HAD to take a pic of me with my yahoos on my lap. Sis was pitching a fit and knocking my glasses askew and photographer is like “um, your glasses…I can come back….” and I said no, if you have to take a picture, this is what it’s like…lol there’s my girl with a scowl, my boy smiling, and me lmao with glasses askew. Again, a moment frozen in time that I will never forget!!!
    Enjoy the mussed hair, snot bubbles, unknown birds, etc as they will be sitting up acting right before we know it!!!
    Love you girl, can’t wait to see the pic!!! xoxo

  • Jenn says:

    When I used to take my kids to get their ‘professional’ pictures done (before I took them myself, I mean) I would always get annoyed at the photographer, haha. They wait for the “perfect moment” when they are doing pictures. One time they waited Monkey right into a panicked, wailing frenzy. The photographer looked at me, and said, “He’s never going to smile, maybe you should just bring him back another day” and I said, “Take the damn picture. I want REAL PICTURES, I don’t care if he’s smiling or not. Sometimes my kids don’t smile, that’s life!” I was so pissed off.

    My SIL is one of those crazies who does everything “just so” when it comes to photos. We tried to do a joint session of the kids once, and she tore into the photographer when he took a photo where you could see the bottom of my niece’s shoe, haha. I felt so bad for him, and I still make fun of my SIL for it. Who gives a fuck about the bottom of a shoe showing?! haha

  • Triplezmom
    Twitter: triplezmom
    says:

    I was all proud of myself for getting the boys’ haircuts before school pictures last year. That’s about the most helicopter I can get about these pictures.

  • Kristin
    Twitter: dragondream
    says:

    Helicopter moms drive me batshit crazy. I’ll take a page out of Rene Syler’s book and aim for being a good enough mother.

  • Cindy
    Twitter: WalkerCynthia
    says:

    there is no worse thing than whem school pictures come back to haunt me.

  • Sarah K. (The Mama Pirate)
    Twitter: themamapirate
    says:

    Gah. Too precious. On one hand, I can’t wait for the Kindergarten moments, on the other hand, I am terribly afraid of them, like zombies. All too possibly real. And soon!

  • jeri says:

    Considering the blog of the moment is mckaylaisnotimpressed.tumblr.com/ people clearly find the less than perfect photo irresistible at any age. Funny always trumps fake.

  • starle says:

    Wonderful job! I took my eldest to the dr today. I forgot to give her hair a final comb. I covered this up, with telling the Dr. “I can tell she isnt well. Ever her hair!’

  • FFW says:

    I love that he tried to make a face.

    My family does that for our photos for cards, like Costco. But that’s now where I get my prescriptions, so like 5 times a month, I have to hand that damn pic over to the pharma guy, who is trying hard not to snort on my antibiotics and sleep meds.

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  • Lego Batman is ONLY for the weekends. (Because otherwise Daddy would go crazy).

  • Sylvia says:

    I’m two years too late on commenting- I’m reading backwards- but I can so relate. My son is three and has this silly smile where he scrunches his face. My
    Mom (who is anal) tried to get him to relax the smile into something more beautiful- but I want to remember the way he smiles at this age.

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