I have a few fading portraits of myself as a baby, looking rather googly, with a bobbing head, large eyes and a wet mouth. A snakeoil salesman came to call and sold my unsuspecting mother several hundred dollars worth of pictures that left us eating cans of cambells soup and pb&j sandwiches the rest of the month so we could pay the mortgage. Yet, it is nice to have these pictures, and ones taken in subsequent years (until suddenly they stop abruptly when I'm 4 or 5): Jennifer, my sister, looking ant-like, her head far too heavy for her slight body, the photo tinted red with age. The two of us posed in matching dresses--her hair curly and wild, mine matted and stuck to my cheecks--holding on to each other in a rare, loving moment.
So when my friend Nancy showed me pictures taken at Babies R Us of her twin boys, Reid and Mitchell, propped up on their elbows, looking very much like they were waiting for someone to bring them a beer, I decided I needed to immortalize Sophia in a down-to-the-diaper (they won't do naked) sexy-baby pose. I went up to my mom's and squeezed Sophia into a never-worn but already-too-small hand-made blue ballerina-esque outfit my mother gave her at birth (one of many such outfits). She fussed as I pulled the cerulean tulle up over her bulging milky-belly. At the studio, we chose a simple, but dramatic black background and the photographer set to work, stacking blocks to prop Sophia in unnatural, adult poses. She did an excellent job of making animal sounds, evoking broad, laughing smiles from Sophia. In between shots, Sophie slumped, and once, almost took a nose dive off of the platform. My mother practically knocked the camera over, diving to catch her, stumbling over the photographer in the process (if only we had captured THAT on film), but Sophia emerged from the experience, unscathed, if not a bit grumpy, with some lovely portraits. All in all, I'm glad we did it. I hope that they are a source of pleasure (as opposed to humilliation) when she is older.