Family Fun

(June 2008)

Since Family Fun magazine will be publishing a piece on our candy experiments in their October issue, we spent this afternoon getting photographed. Two photographers came to our house, (arriving early, before I'd changed and applied makeup--greeting the photographers in my clean-up clothes felt as weird as wearing pants to church). They lugged in all sorts of gear and spent half an hour just setting up light screens and positioning everything. Then they asked how long they'd have to photograph the kids--would their attention spans last more than half an hour? Ha, I wanted to say. You just watch.

Even though it turned out my job was pretty much to stay out of the way, I'm still recovering from the strain. Were Katherine and Alex listening to instructions to move closer together, stir their bowls, look at the camera (no, no, and no). Would I ruin a potentially brilliant shot if I ducked in to pour more water, lay out more bowls, wipe up spilled candy-water? Would I miss an important scientific discovery that I couldn't see from across the room? Would they ever get the lighting right? (The first half-hour of photos seemed to be discovery after discovery that the light was too dim). Would any of the shots work? Would they all work? Would they be so brilliant that my children's faces would be splashed across the web forevermore? Would this be a bad thing? Not to mention unquenchable concerns about the number of dishes I'd have to wash!

After an hour and a half of experiments (Alex managed to ruin my crowning achievement, a five-color density rainbow, by "helping" to pour), the experiments had been duly recorded and the photographers were ready to shoot a family photo. Photographing a herd of monkeys would have been easier! After so much prolonged concentration, my kids were ready to split, with Alex racing away after baseballs and Katherine hiding behind Laramie's back and in the wisteria. You would have thought they'd been eating all the candy they'd dissolved, they were that crazy. As for me, all those seasons watching America's Next Top Model helped me not at all--I could feel my smile straining (especially since I was wrestling to keep Rebecca in the picture). To top it off, it started to rain. Ah, Seattle. Maybe they can do one of those photo collages and paste our faces onto the bodies of people who are actually holding still.

At last it was all over. With Mom's help (she raced to the store for another pack of Skittles and stirred frantically while we were all posing for the family photo), Lar poured two more density rainbows with clear enough color striation that the photographer got a few pictures. ("Look, your tripod only has one leg," said Alex). Then they were gone.

But the kids weren't done yet. Katherine embarked on art projects, painting flowers onto paper towel with M&M color, while Alex (unwatched) dumped candy into his biggest bowl until the water level reached the top. There must be two pounds of M&Ms, Runts, Milky Ways, Snickers, Sweet Tarts, and Laffy Taffy still in there (he wouldn't let me dump it out). He calls it "candy soup." Goodbye, candy stash.

My dining room table is still sticky after three scrubs, I'm running my second load of dishes, entropy is overtaking my recently-spotless living room, and the rest of the house is a mess. But now we're famous. And I've learned a valuable lesson: I was never meant to be a model.

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