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Published October 22, 2012, 11:35 PM

Parenting Perspectives: School pictures never used to be this hard

From the time we are born until the day we die we are bombarded with choices: Coke or Pepsi, PC or Mac, Democrat or Republican. But I’ve had it. I’m tired of making choices.

By: Tracy Briggs, INFORUM

From the time we are born until the day we die we are bombarded with choices: Coke or Pepsi, PC or Mac, Democrat or Republican.

But I’ve had it. I’m tired of making choices. Sometimes I just need to be given no options. What drove me over the edge the other day, in what some of you would call a “First World Problem” (look it up), was school picture day.

Easy enough, right? I remember school picture day as a kid. We walked in, stood in front of the background and tried to smile through our retainers. Click. On to the next.

What we got was pretty much the same picture every other student in America got. Same pose, same background. And to quote Dana Carvey’s grumpy old man character from “Saturday Night Live,” “And we liked it that way!”

But today my kids have abundant choices for their elementary school photos: poses, backgrounds, collages. Sounds great, unless you are in my family. We never met a decision we could make easily. Especially my older daughter and I. So, because we are also a family of procrastinators I found myself online the night before picture day trying to pick out poses and backgrounds for the kids. They were helping, or rather they were standing, beside me. I think there’s a difference.

“But, Mom, will that color blue clash with the blue shirt I’m wearing?”

“Well, that color is just depressing.”

“Is that red or pink in that rainbow background?”

“Mom, I know you think Grandma likes to see my face, but I like the standing up shot of me with my hands in my pocket surrounded by those leaves.”

We finally decided on their poses and backgrounds, something I really didn’t think we’d have to think about until senior year. Back in my day, (channeling Dana Carvey again here) seniors did one or two poses in a couple of different outfits.

If you really thought outside the box, you posed with your dog, horse or wicker chair. (I always liked those wicker chair poses. Maybe that’ll have to go on my bucket list for my ID photo for a retirement community.)

Now kids and their parents are spending thousands on pictures, dozens of poses in dozens of settings. It’s overwhelming. These are senior pictures not Vogue. (We’ll see if I change my tune when my daughters are seniors).

Back to now. So I filled out the order form. Clicked submit and reviewed my receipt. Then I realized in my haste, I screwed up.

Because I accidently forgot to click the “no thanks” box, I inadvertently ordered “Premium Retouching” on my daughter’s photos. Premium retouching on an 8-year-old?

I suppose if your child had a black eye or something, this would be a convenient option. But since my daughter hasn’t gotten into a fist fight lately, her face is looking pretty good. Fortunately, after I called in a panic the next morning, the company was nice enough to take it off my order. I think they felt sorry for me.

I’m sure the pictures will turn out lovely. They always do. But in my overwhelmed, overscheduled life, I’m really just fine with school keeping it simple. I have enough to worry about. Like dinner. McDonalds or Burger King?

Tracy Briggs is a mother of two and is an employee of Forum Communication Co.

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