Guest Post by Dan England

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Dan England is one of our dad guest posters. He is the dad of three: toddler Jayden and 1 year old twins Allie and Andie, and also husband to Kate.  He is a writer, poker player, mountain climber, runner and baby wrangler. He has recently written for TWINS magazine, and has agreed to write for HDYDI from time to time. He and his family live in Colorado (hence the mountain climbing.) His blog can be found at:

Saturday’s holiday photo shoot at Sears was pretty much a disaster. We’d coax, say, Andie on to the sled, and then Allie would run away. Rinse and repeat. We got, maybe, three shots of the girls together, and they have their pacifiers/heroin needles in their mouths because they would not let us take them out.

Understandably, they were a little nervous, and understandably, I know it’s hard to hold still when you’re 18 months, and understandably, the Sears photographer pretty much just sat there and expected all of our three kids under 4 to pose and smile and be darling little babies, but man I was frustrated. Kate picked out great outfits for the girls, and I got Jayden looking snappy, and I had to settle for a pretty lame shot. We were, quite frankly, lucky to get one.

You get what you pay for.  Sears is $10, and you get 36 prints. we had a limited amount of time, in an unfamiliar studio, and that’s probably not going to yield a classic shot for three active little demon children who think sitting still is a crime. We can’t afford a $175 studio fee, or the prints that would come later. I was kind of wishing for her, since she takes such great shots of her kids. I do fairly well, but a posed, nice shot of the three of them together takes a real, expensive professional, probably in our home, where they are comfortable.

The bigger issueI have long surrendered to is the fact that since we have twins (and a toddler), many of the little pleasures of being a parent aren’t available, like, I dunno, getting a nice photo in a simple, inexpensive studio. All the parents and their adorable little singletons were mobbing the studio, and every time, they were getting great shots of their little reindeers. I mean, the thing is, you’re going to have moments when your singleton runs around, but you’ll also have moments when they are quiet and smiling. We certainly had those moments with one or even two, but three was next to impossible.

 Sunday morning Andie came up to me and handed me a book. The girls are just now really getting into reading. I picked her up and read her a story. She loved it, loved the individual attention and the book and time on my lap, and she grabbed another and held it up.

I would have loved to spend a half-hour or more with her doing that, but I heard noises in the other room. Allie, of course, was in the bathroom, pulling toilet paper off the roll. When I got that solved, Andie was headed upstairs, and the chaos continued. I’ve learned to surrender to the chaos. Sometimes, though, the grind hits bone.

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3 thoughts on “Guest Post by Dan England”

  1. I have considered doing something like that, and ended up deciding against it. I feel like I take better pictures of my kids than you often get at the inexpensive portrait studios, even if they aren’t the more “traditional” portraits that some people like.

    Of course, I haven’t ponied up the cash for one of the big guns, either. It’s very tempting, and maybe at some point I’ll get around to a big, professional family photo session. You know, like when money starts falling from the trees in my yard… :-)

  2. Amen! Great post, it captures my feelings with 17 month old twin boys and a first grader, a day of wrangling and wrestling my boys through meals and cleanups and wipeouts sometimes leaves me feeling dazed… like “did all that really just happen?” and “is this my (crazy/wonderful/crazy) life?
    Perfect example of singleton parents with one adorable kid and one successful photo shoot, the unattainable goal for my bunch.

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