So yesterday my 3-year-old daughter and I hopped down to the mall to visit Peter Cottontail. She was excited to tell the Easter Bunny what she wanted to find in her basket on Easter Sunday (that’s why he’s sitting in Santa’s chair isn’t it?) and I was thrilled to finally get a picture of my little one perched on Floppy’s lap.
You see, my daughter has always been deathly afraid of any and all costumed characters. She has run screaming from Santa (multiple times); won’t go near Mickey, Minnie, any of the Care Bears, Dora, or Blue; heck, she even ran for cover when she saw a guy dressed up as the Hardees star at the hot air balloon festival we attended last summer (and the summer before that). So when one of her dance class friends bragged about her recent visit to see the Easter Bunny my daughter instantly asked if she too could join in on the fun.
As a snap happy parent her request was music to my ears. I immediately began making a mental list of all the family members and friends who would be getting proof of my daughter’s major milestone. Could it be that after three previous tries I would finally get to hold the elusive 5×7 glossy (plus 16 wallets, 5 3x5s, an 8×10…) that I had seen so many other parents proudly show off in years past? Could 2008 really be the year for us?
I did my best to prep my daughter for her visit even telling her that if she didn’t feel comfortable cozying up to the bunny on his lap she could simply sit next to him (baby steps, right).
“Oh no Mommy,” she exclaimed. “I’m going to give him a big hug… and a smooch.”
Hmmm… I’d heard this before prior to our visit to the pony farm last summer and that day ended with my daughter clinging to me instead of the miniature horse.
So off we went with my camera in hand. I knew from previous trips that parents were allowed to snap one (and only one) photo of their child with the bunny regardless of if they purchased one of the photo packages. As we got closer to “Bunny Lane” I made manual adjustments to my camera taking note of the mall’s far from ideal lighting and making sure my face detection mode was on.
Turns out I didn’t need to prep my camera at all because as soon as we got within ear shot of the bunny my daughter took off in the other direction. I didn’t even bother cajoling her to return as I had been-there-done-that many times before. We did eventually make our way to the fringes of the bunny’s lair where I saw many moms dragging their squirmy tykes (some dressed in their Sunday best) over to the white fluff ball with long ears.
I don’t know who was louder the crying kids or the moms screaming over them to “Say CHEESE!” Even more shocking was the fact that so many of them were snapping pictures despite the tears and missing shoes (not to mention missing smiles).
It made me wonder: Is it really worth all the angst for a single shot with a rabbit?
Not for us.
Of course, if it’s an overstuffed Hawaiian macadamia nut with legs that’s ripe for picture taking with kids, well, then, that’s an entirely different story.