Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and is complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He has written the fiction book “The Boy in the Wrinkled Shirt” and is working on releasing a parenting humor book. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons and can be emailed at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.
The kids in this picture are about 8 and 10. That’s how long you’ll have to wait for two simultaneous smiles.
No one ever said being a parent was easy…with the exception of sperm donors and essentially every celebrity with a nanny, of course #kanyewest. That said, people who aren’t moms or dads may wonder what the most difficult parts of parenting actually are. Well I’m here to tell you that it isn’t the loss of sleep. It isn’t even the dreadful music you’re forced to listen to. It’s taking pictures at a Godforsaken portrait studio.
It starts innocently enough. In fact, you think you’re doing the right thing and that it’ll go off without a hitch. You think you owe it to your children to dress them in their Sunday best and document their growth to film. But you’re wrong. You make an appointment for a random Saturday morning in September to have four-month pictures of your child taken. Next thing you know, you’re desperately striving to keep your children entertained and nondestructive because Buy Buy Baby overbooked and now you’re waiting for the family ahead of you to finish who, for reasons known only to them, are actually not losing their minds in this ghastly process. (The family ahead of you are off-their-meds crazy.)
Taking small children out in public and expecting them to keep their clothes clean, stand up and smile when prompted is apparently an insurmountable task. It’s like pointing to something you want your dog to look at. It seems like a completely reachable goal, but all they do is stare at your hand! So close, yet so far away.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve had some pretty terrible experiences with cameras. Because of this, I’ve established a four-pronged approach to survival:
1) Respect the nap.
Don’t be stupid. If your kid is usually asleep from 1:00-3:00 p.m., don’t be daring and schedule your photography appointment at 12:30. You’re just asking to have your glasses snapped in half.
2) One at a time.
Think of a photography session like a subway turnstile. Try to sneak in two at a time and you’re taking a shot in the pelvis and maybe even paying a fine. If you manage to keep two small children happy and photographable at the same time, you should be President or something. Asking two children to smile simultaneously is like asking for two good John Travolta movies in a row.
3) Bribe reasonably.
If you’re going to bribe your kids, now is absolutely the time. But don’t get crazy and offer something you can’t produce, like college tuition at an ivy league school. Just point at anything in the store under $20, and odds are they’ll smile for a chance to destroy it.
4) Go local, not loco.
Whether you know it or not, you have a connection to a photographer via your friends or social networks. Most of them will come to your house, give you more time than a portrait studio would, and since your kids are at home, they’re more comfortable and far more likely to smile. If you’re in the New Jersey area, I highly recommend Brandon Murray Photography or Julie Fleming Photography. Both terrific with kids and have that inherent skill of capturing the perfect moment that you miss because you’re busy downloading the new IOS on your iPhone.
As far as my own experiences at studios go, this brief tale should sum it up…
Over fifty years ago, when the movie Some Like it Hot was being filmed, writer/director Billy Wilder insisted that Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis nail each scene that included Marilyn Monroe on the first take. Why? Because Monroe was such a train wreck (pardon the pun, if you’ve seen the film) that whenever she successfully got through her lines, that was the take they were going with. So, in this case, my wife Sonia and I were Jack and Tony, and our son Antonio, well, Antonio was Marilyn. The only difference was the blonde hair and unabashed alcoholism. All he had to do was smile once for 2-4 seconds. Hell, I’d even take a portion of a second. But no sooner did the cameras point at him when he looked like he’d been given socks as a Christmas present. True to our roles, Sonia and I kept iron-clad grins on the entire time. It was like the Miss America pageant, with no hopes of a crown to follow. I mean, tickling, a tap-dancing Elmo, that weird vibrating tongue drum roll noise that all the store photogs seem to think works, even a whispered promise (read: begging) to get him a toy and a Swedish massage if he smiles. No dice. I desperately tried to conjure up an image or action that would wipe the stoic wall off his face. So I came up with a mental list of things Antonio had laughed at in the past:
- Me getting hit in the face with a flying shoe
- My wife getting hit in the face with a flying shoe
- Himself peeing on the bathroom floor
- Shouting the word “penis”
None of these were viable options in that moment. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the photographer (who I’m pretty sure was Tempestt Bledsoe of Cosby Show fame) worked Antonio into submission. She got the shot! At least she thought she did.
“Oh. No. Dad, it was you. You blinked,” groaned Tempestt.
First of all, I’m not your dad. I’m not sure why all photographers think this is acceptable.
So, ultimately it was I who ruined the one good shot. Fortunately for me, once Vanessa Huxtable broke the smile seal, she was able to squeeze out a few more mild ones. Of course, this was coupled with me intermittently tickling him and then quickly getting back into position, causing me to appear in a weird, hunched position in the final shot, making me look constipated. Not that I cared at that point. I would gladly appear incontinent for generations to come if it meant us getting the hell out of there.
And we did. Right to the nearest liquor store.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to share your own photography experiences by adding a comment below!
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billy wilder, brandon murray photography, cosby show, Elmo, jack lemmon, john travolta, julie fleming photography, kanye west, marilyn monroe, miss america, parenting, pictures, portrait studios, some like it hot, tony curtis | Categories:
Friday, May 17th, 2013
When you have kids, you end up needing a separate house to basically store their upbringing. The artwork, the pictures… you know, all their “stuff.” If you’re at all sentimental, you feel guilty tossing that piece of paper that has a fuschia smear. Especially after they tell you it’s a self portrait. Then the guilt is equivalent to throwing away the Mona Lisa.
Until it’s not.
I thought I had a pretty good idea for all the artwork Fia comes home with. I use it as wrapping paper. That way I’m reusing it and I don’t feel guilty for throwing it away. It’s someone else’s problem. Plus she has fun wrapping the presents with me.
However, we don’t go to enough birthday parties to use up the constant influx of art.
When I was at Mom2.0, I met this great guy Jedd, who created an app for parents that allows them to save their kids’ art in a different way. It’s called Artkive. Get it? Like archive… okay, I’m babbling.
The app is amazingly simple to use… even a third grader could probably handle it. Which means I can. You take a picture on your phone (thru the app–which has an icon for the camera) of your child’s artwork, school work, or whatever you want to document. Just take pictures. Like, every piece that comes in if you want.
If you have more than one child, you pick who created each piece, and the pictures then get stored (on their servers, thus not taking up precious space on your phone) with your child’s name, grade and the date. It’s all in order so that when you’re ready, you hit print and the app puts all the artwork into a coffee-table book that is mailed to you. Almost no work and no risk of your child finding their art in the garbage. Speaking of, here’s a funny video on the psychological damage done to your kid when you throw their
sh-t, err, stuff away.
I wrote a few weeks back about my quandary with photos and what to do with them all. Well you could use Artkive for that too. You can upload anything from your camera roll and then rather than ordering 900 prints a year to go into 9 different photo albums (which is my current system), I can add my favorites to Artkive and get a book made for me. Or, just skip that step and take every picture through the Artkive App on my phone.
Jedd started the company after watching his wife photograph their kids’ art one day. She then uploaded it to her computer and uploaded it from there to a photo site. She never actually made the book she had hoped because the pictures were all out of order and she didn’t have the time to spend sorting it all out and making a book. So he created an app that would make her life easier.
What a guy, right? I’m waiting for Phil to hire a personal chef after watching me struggle in the kitchen.
Anywho, it’s a small business enterprise that I just thought as a mom myself was cool and invented by cool people. And hey, Ivanka Trump apparently likes it. Need I say more?
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albums, App, archive, Artkive, Artkive App, artwork, child's artwork, Mom2.0, Mom2.0Summit, photos, pictures, toddler artwork | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
It’s been a stressful and also tragic week in many parts of the country. From the Boston Marathon bombings, to the town in West, Texas, to the defeat of the Senate gun bill (yes, shameful and shocking). At times like this, I find it helpful to take pause and look at the pure joy of my kids. I hug them and my pulse instantly slows down. My heart warms up. My gratitude that they are safe, loved and healthy overflows. Here are a few snapshots from our week.
We may be Californians but the boy still represents (even though technically we aren’t Yankee fans)!
Heading into the sprinkler:
A pensive Fia working on her bubble machine:
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Boston bombings, gratitude, hug kids, photography, pictures, pulse rate, pulse slows, Senate gun bill, West Texas | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Fia Friday, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips
Friday, May 4th, 2012
We took a picture of Fia at about 3 months laying on her then-brother, Wayne Sanchez. Now she has a real brother and the cat is just, well, a cat again. But we thought Emmett deserved a turn as well.
Can you tell who is who? Ignore the color of the clothes. Both outfits are/were Fia’s. Phil thinks our babes look identical. I don’t think so…though definitely brother-sister. And isn’t Wayne the picture of perfection as well?
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babies, baby, baby pictures, cat, fia friday, identical, photo, photography, picture, pictures, toddler, Wayne Sanchez | Categories:
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Our New Blog Picture
We have a new name! No, not of Emmett or Fia, but of my blog. While we loved Of Fi I Sing, Emmett was excluded. Plus, with two kids I am entering a new phase of my life. As my blog has evolved, we realized my outlook is more than just focusing (and obsessing) on Fia. Motherhood is so all-encompassing and takes on almost all aspects of my life. We wanted the title to reflect that more. Plus, I didn’t want my boy to need (more) major therapy later on for feeling left out.
So after some massive brainstorming sessions in which I thought my computer Thesaurus was going to fire me, we came up with this new one. Introducing:
Fearless Feisty Mama: Candid and Comical Confessions of a Slightly Obsessive Mom
I’m really excited about it. I think it conveys more of my tone and style. We decided on “Fearless” because I’m not afraid to share my story. Whether it be the death of my drug- addicted mom, my decision to stay on antidepressants when pregnant, or my ugly vag issue, I tend to speak my mind and give an open and honest opinion.
We came up with “Feisty,” not only because I love alliteration, but in many ways it is my attitude towards parenting issues. From my annoyance at my babysitters for constantly losing sh-t, to the people who pay their nannies six-figures (ridiculous!), to my adamant stance on sleep training (do it!).
With my new name, we have a new look! My friend Jilly Wendell is an amazing photographer. She was kind enough to come over to our chaos and take a zillion pictures, hoping to get one without Emmett barfing, Fia screaming and me grimacing through a forced smile–though that is probably more realistic of our current state.
I’ll post some of the others this Friday.
Also, you may notice some of the older posts have images missing. And there are a few technical difficulties we are sorting out in changing my blog title. So bear with us and keep coming back. You guys help feed my creative soul.
Blog photo courtesy of Jilly Wendell Photography
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babysitter, Candid, comical, drug addiction, Fearless, Feisty, Ferber, jilly wendell, nannies, nanny, new blog, new posts, old posts, photography, pictures, posts, sitters, sleep training, taking antidepressants when pregnant, toddler pictures, ugly vagina | Categories: