Due to my delicate condition, I outsourced the yearly trek out for the Mall Santa photo to my husband and mother-in-law last week.
I shuffled around semi-usefully just long enough to get the boys in sweaters — as "sweaters" are about as close as we get to "dress clothes" around here, since collared shirts require ironing (fuck dat), and everything else they own proudly features a) a garishly colored, licensed cartoon character on it, b) some sort of orange-y red Mystery Stain, or c) both.
So! Sweaters for everybody! Or...wait...unless... Crap, does everybody even own a sweater at this point?
Turns out, they do! I was amazed. They all even seemed pleasantly coordinated, which...huh.
A few minutes after they walked out the door, I realized that I'd just sent at least two children out wearing the same sweaters they wore in last year's Mall Santa picture, because that's the last time I gave a crap about sweaters.
Note that I possibly bought them those sweaters while they waited in line with their father, ripping tags off and shoving them over their heads while all around us, families arrived with children in velvet dresses and sport coats and tiny babies in bow ties.
And now it's 2014.
You can tell because it says so right there, and because this is probably the most awkward photo yet, as we've officially been carrying this nonsense on far too long and who gives a shit?
Also Noah is wearing a different sweater, because I studiously rejected it at the last minute last year because I thought it introduced one pattern too many to the composition. Seriously. That was a conscious thought I had and a decision I made. Why didn't anybody tell me how desperately I needed a hobby, a higher purpose, or at least a hip flask?
I'm surprised that sweater still fits, seeing how Noah now appears to be a good foot taller than ol' Saint Mall Nick himself.
When Jason got home and handed me the photos, he watched my face for a minute before volunteering that actually, this was totally the best one. Ezra kept trying to make finger guns at Santa, Noah couldn't keep his eyes open (THAT'S MY BOY AND/OR MY EYELID GENES), and Ike made that same face in every single photo because they later realized he'd taken two miniature candy canes instead of one, and was hiding them both in his clenched little fists, while his big, guilty eyes betrayed him with every flash of the camera.
Oh Mall Santa photos. You are the worst and also my favorite, because every year there's a story and every year the story gets weirder and more hilarious. To me, anyway.
I will force this ridiculousness on my poor children for as long as they'll possibly endure it, mark my crazy words.