Who’s harder to photograph, a dog or a baby?

Happy New Year! I didn’t make any resolutions because I wasn’t awake at midnight. That’s how that works right? If I were to make one resolution, it would be to write more. I wouldn’t mind showering more too, but one thing at a time.

Did you know that JCPenney’s Portrait Studio takes photos of dogs? Did you know that JCPenney’s has a portrait studio? Now you do. And what’s better than a photo of a dog and a baby? I call to schedule an appointment. The lady tells me,

“Any photos with pets have to be the last appointment of the day.”

“What time is that?”


“That’s a hard time for my baby.”


There appears to be no negotiating. 5pm it is. I ask,

“What’s the cancellation policy?”

“Give us a call anytime, no problem.”

Perfect. I’m going with an 80% chance of cancelling and a 20% chance of showing up with Baby Bop in some stage of disintegration.

Day of the photo shoot, Baby Bop takes an epic 3 hour afternoon nap. And Booker, our chocolate lab, appears well rested.

My mom, Captain, Baby Bop, Booker and I head to the mall. Booker is thrilled. He’s never been to JCPenney’s before. Baby Bop has never been to JCPenney’s either, but she is not as thrilled. Although she does seem to be keeping it together.

We’re early and they’re running late. We stand near the studio in the curtain department. Should I nurse Baby Bop? How is she going to make it another half hour? These are the dilemmas of my life. And I never know what the right decision is.

Several people come up to Booker and say,

“I’m going to talk to you, because I’m sure everyone is talking to the baby.”

No one is talking to the baby and that’s just fine.

We head into the studio. The photographer tells us,

“You can let your dog free to explore so he’ll calm down.”

He’ll never calm down. He’s 12-years-old and it appears that the answer to old age is carrying your favorite rubber rattle around and never stop moving.

The photographer asks,

“Mom, will the baby sit on her own?”

I glance at my mom. Oh RIGHT. I’m “mom.” I ask the photographer,


I’m in charge of trying to have Baby Bop sit. My mom is charge of trying to get Booker to sit. We’re both in charge of trying to get them to sit near each other. The photographer tells us,

“Closer together.”

Booker starts to scramble away.

“Closer together.”

Baby Bop wobbles, but stays upright.


Now in an attempt to get Booker and Baby to look at her. The photographer makes a clicking sound. Booker dashes straight for her.

We try again. Baby seated. Dog seated. Photographer makes clicking sound. Dog jumps up.

She’s using the same sound we use when we want him to come to us. Booker hasn’t sat still for more than a second.

This seems to be a disaster, but the photographer keeps at it. We get some adorable shots. Booker is smiling in all of them. I know what you’re thinking: ‘there’s no way to tell whether a dog is smiling or not.’ Oh but there is. He never smiles in a “stay” at home. See home on the left and JCPenney’s on the right.

On the other hand, Baby Bop isn’t smiling in any of the photos, but she’s also not crying, so this is going down as a win.

We head out to the car for our drive home. Captain tells me,

“I think Baby Bop likes us.”

“Yup. I think we’re guaranteed that for at least 13 years.”


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