He made the photographer cry.

I got a call last week from the Pampers people. They wanted Graham to come in for another shoot. It was at an equally fancy house in a different fancy neighborhood. Huge windows, lots of oak trees.

Rob took Violet to “school” so I could put Graham down for an early nap. I had to scoop him out of bed at 10 to arrive at the shoot by 10:30. He was very zen/half-awake in the car and happy enough to eat Veggie Booty on the floor next to my make-up chair. This took longer than last time because she was trying to cover the scratch Graham had inflicted on the bridge of my nose with his baby razor fingernails. Next I fed him yogurt, which he managed to get in my hair. (Apparently the stylist is used to this kind of thing.) Then I was dressed in a hideous cable-knit sweater-vest and pin-stripe capris. (Shudder) But they know what they’re doing because this combination looked good on film and in relation to the rest of the “room”. The “room” was a mini nursery complete with an uncomfortable wicker rocker. When it came time to change the boy into his Pampers, there was a snafu in that he wears size 3 and they were shooting size 4 pull-ups. The producer was concerned he doesn’t look like a size 4 pull-up baby. Well. Yeah. That’s because he’s 10 months old and can’t pull up his own pants yet. But we were there and dressed and the set was ready, so off we went.

I sat in the rocker and stood Graham on my lap. We put pajama pants on him and hiked them up halfway. My job was to hold the waistband of the pjs so that it looked like I was getting him dressed for bed, while keeping the diaper somewhat visible. The buyer is to assume that he is smiling because of his super comfy Pampers Pullups. Actually, he was smiling because of the Baby Wrangler. She is amazing. He is in love with her.

At some point they decided we should do the “sitting and reaching” pose. So after a quick snack it was off to a different room. Graham sat on a tan Berber carpet with me sitting behind him. Baby Wrangler held a mobile above him so he would reach and smile. And he did. This is where the photographer got teary. She kept gasping and exclaiming, “Oh my god! He’s amazing!” We did some shots of him standing and holding my leg and grinning up at me. She wiped her eyes and said, “I’ve been photographing children for 15 years, and once in a while you find a kid that just gets to you.” All I could say was thanks. He has that effect on me too. Of course, I’m his mom. And maybe she says that at least once a week.

The next day the producer called back and said that they want Graham on a package of diapers BUT (and this is the nutty part) the Pampers people didn’t like the color of his pjs, so could we come back on Saturday to re-shoot? Um. Okay. A couple problems, though. The only time they had was at 2:30, smack in the middle of Graham’s afternoon nap. I know some kids are fine with missing naps, but mine are not. It’s not a pretty scene. So I had to try to move his naps up 2 hours. Easier said than done. The other problem was that Rob had a gig and I couldn’t find a sitter for Violet. No biggie, they said, she can come along. The nurse on site would take care of her.

Saturday morning Graham woke up at an appalling 5:45, which actually worked well for my napping plan. He went back to bed at 7:30, woke up at 9 and went down again at 12. While he was sleeping Violet packed her beloved backpack with toys and a coloring book to bring to the shoot. Graham woke up at 1:30 so we left early to get Violet situated before I had to get dressed and made up. I shouldn’t have worried about her because she charmed everyone and zeroed in on the catered snacks in about 30 seconds. I set her up with a plate and the nurse took her outside for a picnic. Graham was not at all happy, though. Like I said, messing with the nap schedule is tricky business. The Baby Wrangler saw this and kept trying to get the photographer to hurry. But she was excitedly showing me the photos from the previous shoot. They were amazing.

As soon as we got in the “nursery” Graham spied the tennis balls used to protect the wood floor from the feet of the lighting equipment. He lost his mind trying to get them. The assistants tried to cover them, but he knew they were there and struggled out of my arms to find them. He was not easily amused at this point. We finally took a break to see if he wanted a snack. Nope. Back to work. Struggle. Rub eyes. Flop onto my knees. Struggle. Pull ears. He was so tired. We were about to give up when Violet arrived, chattering and covered in chocolate. Graham flailed and screamed in excitement to see his most favorite human in the world. Violet stood beside the photographer and played peek-a-boo with him, saving the day. After we were done Violet got her own mini-shoot, chocolate and all.

On our way out, I had Graham in the sling and Violet was pretending to paint the side of the house with a paintbrush she’d picked up somewhere. The photographer gasped again and rushed to get her camera. So we stood around while she snapped away. She said that Pampers keeps the rights to whatever pictures they use, but that she’ll send me some of the others. Oh, I hope so. And from what I’ve seen so far, I think I’m going to be spoiled for JCPenny style portraits forever.

The end result of this long and interesting experience is far from clear. Right now it’s out of the hands of this company and up to the people at Proctor & Gamble. I have no idea when we can expect to hear anything from them, if at all. It seriously doesn’t matter. We had so much fun and made a bit of cash to boot. And now I know how much work goes into one tiny bit of advertising. Somewhat scary, actually.

Meanwhile, Graham has remained unaffected by his brush with fame. He’ll never say his diapers don’t stink.

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5 responses to “He made the photographer cry.”

  1. Mary

    That is awesome Cheris! I hope it all works out and we see his face in the ads!

  2. Katie

    Well..
    Okay I have to admit that I’ve been scoping Violet for years and I lay claim to “discovering” her. I mean it. Plus she is supposed to marry Soren (I called dibs, Amber!) I’m willing to set up an arranged marriage right now.

    None of this surprises me at all. I’m waiting for the bigger contracts and things to come your way. 🙂

    Fun and exciting.

  3. leah

    fun, very fun!

  4. Kristen

    Now, what to do with the earned cash? Start a college fund? Sounds like a lot more work for Mom than Graham – maybe a day at the spa?!?
    Definitely share the pics they send you. Can’t wait to see them!
    America’s Next Top Model is…

  5. Andy

    Violet, coming on strong! I guess she didn’t want to see her brother get blackballed like she was after her audition.

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