Picture perfect

Pictures don’t tell the truth. They’re flat, one-dimensional, only allowing you to use your eyes to make an assessment. So considering that the other four senses—hearing, touch, taste, and smell—are neglected, it would stand to reason that pictures don’t give a very good picture after all.

In fact, you could say that photographs are devious little liars.

Take, for example, this picture of The Baby Nickel.

Aw, shucks, you say. The little four-year-old is folding laundry. Ain’t that so sweet! It just melts my heart.

Then, He must be so well-trained. Speaks well of the mama, too. I mean, she must be so attentive to include him in her work. And she’s teaching him responsibility and helping him build confidence, to boot. She’s got her act together, that’s for sure. She must be so organized and calm. Probably has sparkly windows and a toilet so clean you could drink out of it. Man, I wish I could run my household as smoothly as she does. Maybe if I woke up at five, and if I smiled more often—

Eh-em. Excuse me for interrupting, but mind if I step in and set the record straight?

What You Don’t See*:

*the three other children slaving over their mounds of laundry
*the cacophony of fussing that happened beforehand
*the bickering over space and laundry-pile size
*the name calling and spitting (we’re part llama)
*the meting out of consequences and the beep-beep-beep as I set the timer for deadlines (i.e. If you don’t finish in x amount of time, then big, awful, scary, terrible ymwahaa-haa-haa—will happen to you, so GET BUSY.)
*the heavy smell of garlic and onions sizzling on the stove
*the whirring fans
*Yo-Yo’s incessant whistling (and occasional foot stomping to accompany the tootling)
*the across-the-field neighbor’s kennel of dogs going berserk-o
*the sticky, crunchy kitchen floor
*the extremely rare moment of silence (it does happen!) that’s split by…
*the ringing phone, and then the thundering feet as everyone races pell-mell to answer, crashing into each other, bonking heads, and shrieking with frustration and rage
*me angrily meting out more consequences
*the whiny question of “Why do I ha-ave to doooo all this stuff” and the lesson in logic/philosophy/ethics/manners that follows
*the oppressive feel of the hot afternoon sun pouring in through the kitchen windows
*the headache-y tiredness, lethargy, and irritability that inflicts each of us at 4 o’clock every afternoon

All you see is a sweet little boy folding laundry.

Consider yourself fortunate.

The end.

*The above list might not correspond to the exact moment that the photo was taken, but it’s all one-hundred percent true nonetheless.

This same time, years previous: honey-whole wheat cake, blueberry coffee cake


  • Megan@SortaCrunchy

    OH MY GOODNESS. YES. That's how I feel not only about pictures, but blogging in general. If only there were a way to show the three-dimensional LIFE going on on the other side of the screen. But everyone would run far, far away. I'm sure of it.

    Thanks for this little peek at the 3D. 🙂

  • Mama Pea

    I am devastated. All this time I thought you, your children, your husband, your home, your life was perfect. And now you're telling me it's . . . not? Oh, no.

    Excuse me. I need a while to go process this.

  • Karen

    I LOVE LOVE this post! Thank you for the reminder and for the dose of reality. I was feeling pretty rotten today about myself and my mothering skills and the fact that our house seems to be in constant motion, noise, and chaos. As I peruse other blogs I start to feel worse a lot of times because I see the pictures and read the words and it all seems like it's so serene, well-ordered, quiet.

    It's so easy to paint the picture we want to paint for others to believe. I am so glad you went beyond that.

Leave a Comment