What I want to know is did the mother of Jonathan Buttall (a.k.a. “Blue Boy”) sit in the wings with a hairbrush while Gainsborough was painting this portrait? Was she at the ready to put any stray hairs back in place and straighten his collar? Was she poised to spit on her thumb and wipe the dried milk residue off the corners of his mouth? I’ll bet she was.
I was wishing I had been there the day they took my son McKay’s school picture last year because that picture now hangs on our kitchen wall, and every morning when I look at it, I have to stifle the urge to poke my finger through the glass and comb his hair.
Now the opportunity to replace the messy-hair portrait is upon us. As we were getting ready to go out the door this morning, I fortunately glanced at the calendar and saw that *eeek* it is school picture day. So I sent McKay in to change his shirt. He chose his favorite one – probably not coincidentally the only shirt he got this year brand new from Target rather than handed down from his older brother or the thrift store. The shirt has stripes and I paused for a moment to debate the whole “you should wear a solid color when posing for a photo” advice rattling around in my brain, but what the heck, at least it’s not his stained soccer T-shirt.
I wet down his hair and combed it to perfection and told him to go wash his face and brush his teeth while I got the baby ready. When McKay emerged from the bathroom, I saw (of course!) a big goober of toothpaste planted on his chest. As I went after the toothpaste with a wet paper towel, I noticed that the shirt was in fact quite wrinkled and the ends of the collar were curling up. I really didn’t want to face wrinkles and a funky collar on my kitchen wall every morning for another year so I suggested a change of clothes. I was met with sad puppy dog eyes. It was, after all, his holy striped shirt. Well okay, I could always iron it. I do own an iron. Somewhere…
So with freshly pressed clothes, McKay grabbed his backpack and put on his jacket and then pulled the hood up over his head. Aaaack, time to fix the hair again. Then I drove him to school and sent him to class while I checked in the office for a picture form because for some strange reason, one hadn’t been sent home with McKay. The secretary kindly handed me a form with the reminder that “Don’t forget – picture day is next week." D'oh!
Well at least I’ll have time to get the rest of the toothpaste out.
Tags: school pictures, art, parenting, art history.