Children are Strange

Why is it that at a certain age, children who used to be perfect photographic subjects, change into children with cheesy smiles? One day you can take a lovely picture of them, and the next day, and for at least a year thereafter, you cannot get a decent picture of them from the neck up.

Take my short little friend next door. I have great shots of that great little face of hers. But like a switch was just thrown, now I cannot get a good picture if my life depended on it. What’s more, every time she comes over, she wants me to take her picture. I now have a whole digital file of cheesy smiles. Even when I show her what her picture looks like, she tells me it looks really, really good. That’s another thing about kids: There is not a modest bone in their little bodies.

This past week, after I took her picture, I told her she was squinting her eyes so much, it looked like they were closed. “Open your eyes next time,” I said before I took the next shot. This is what I got:
DSCN2177 DSCN2179

My dear little friend is not the only child, of course, who does this. If you were to peruse your own photo albums, I’m sure you would find scads of pictures of your own children or grandchildren when they were going through the cheesy smile phase. You just have to weather it until they get over themselves, which for many children could take a fairly long time. I went through a few albums of my own and did notice some similar faces, such as this one of my youngest:

SCAN0966

I couldn’t find any of those kind of pictures of my middle child, but he was a rather serious little fellow. My daughter also didn’t have too many cheesy smile pictures when she was growing up. However, I think that was because she saved them for her later years, such as her sixteenth birthday. SCAN0967 I’m supposed to visit her in a few weeks. I hope she doesn’t rescind her invitation.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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24 Responses to Children are Strange

  1. I always hated having my photo taken, no cheesy smiles ever. 😉

  2. Robin says:

    Ah yes. The cheesy grin. Instead of telling my granddaughters to “say cheese” I’ve started telling them “cheesy grins!” They usually laugh and I sometimes manage to catch a real smile in there.

  3. coletteknowsrealestate says:

    Omg! Isn’t that the truth! My son loved having his picture taken…so sweet looking…now since kindergarten he has a goofy smile! Unless the girls are around! 🙂

  4. Margie says:

    My daughter tells the kids they can make as goofy a face as they like (and she will photograph them) right after she is satisfied that she has a photo of them without a goofy face!

    • Coming East says:

      Good strategy, Margie. Unfortunately, my little munchkin neighbor thinks her goofy pictures are actually great pictures. And you know what? I think so, too.

  5. I have stacks of goofy pictures of my daughter’s goofy smiles… great post!

  6. pattisj says:

    This is another reason I’m glad for digital over film! I don’t know how many pictures I took of my nephew–without him in them!

  7. If I had a dollar for every time I said “when will I ever get a normal picture” I would be vacationing right now. I did bust out laughing at how well your little guest followed direction with opening those eyes…priceless.,LOL

  8. John Hric says:

    Their personality is growing at its own rate. As long as it is meant to be a smile we just have to count ourselves lucky ! Look at the bright side they are still posing mostly willingly. They probably think we are weird wanting another picture, one with a smiley face instead of the happy one they are wearing ?

  9. My daughter always breaks out into a big grin or does some silly face, but my son? He refused to even let me get a photo of the side of his head with his hand in his face.

    • Coming East says:

      As I said, Darla, children are strange. Kids also go through that stage when they don’t want you taking their picture. It coincides with the age when they think their mothers are pains in the butt.

  10. Jenny says:

    Nice photos of adorable children. I hope and expect “handsome” smiles from my kids and rarely get what I am hoping for because of that forced smile. I see many parents being too hard on kids for not smiling nicely. I just don’t think they have it in them for those posed photos during this stage.

  11. Dianna says:

    And….(maybe this is just with boys)….once they outgrow the cheesy smile stage, they’re into the: “I REFUSE to smile for a picture, and you can’t make me” stage. sigh…. unfortunately my son was in that stage right up through high school senior photos. Now, thankfully, his smiles are so easy… 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      Hahaha, Dianna, I’d forgotten about that stage. And I do think that’s more likely with boys than girls, though I do have to say its hard to find a picture of my youngest son when he’s not smiling.

  12. My 3 little ones don’t sit still long enough to get a decent shot. Or I need to upgrade from my basic point and shoot to something that goes faster.

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