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The Dreaded School Pictures

This year when my children brought home their school pictures, I cringed. These kids can leave home looking cherubic, but the minute they pose for that school photographer they are transposed into unrecognizable beings. My middle daughter brought home pictures bearing her name and room number that couldn't have been my offspring. Nor a distant relative.

I had worked for hours on this child. Her hair was parted in the middle and drawn into a cute little ponytail over each ear. Even though she is at an awkward age, she looked adorable when she went out that door. Her missing front teeth only added to her charm. The kid in the picture has her mouth open wide displaying ugly dark gaps. Her one visible ponytail is lopsided, her part is uneven, and her bangs look like they were cut with pinking shears.
I know this isn't my child because I always give my children a good haircut before they have their pictures taken.
The only thing vaguely familiar is the sweater the child has on. My daughter has one, too. But hers isn't covered with ink spots.
Our school seems to hire photographers that snap all their pictures after gym, art, recess, or lunch. Why can't they take those pictures as the kids climb aboard the school bus in the morning?
I don't mind my children having the wind-blown look. However, I dislike passing around pictures that present them as survivors of a storm.
Next year I hope the photographer can keep his records straight and send home pictures that properly portray my children. If not, then I hope he takes up retouching.

Note: this article was written back when my children were in school. Now, their children are bringing home school pictures. And this grandma thinks they're perfect.


  1. Since my one and only child is a male, hair issues weren't a problem with him. He did like having nice haircuts that didn't require much attention. But my own hair, that was another matter when I was at that elementary school age. I remember with deep distress my first grade hair do. Mother, with all good intentions, set my hair the night before pictures in pin curls with bobby pins on the top, sides, and back of my head. (I can't remember if she used water or that wave setting stuff that came in a bottle, can't remember what it was called--actually, I think it was called Wave Set.) Of course in my photo, it shows that the morning comb out didn't go as planned and it still looked like my hair was in pin curls!


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