I like to think of myself as organised (who doesn’t love a list?!) but no amount of planning could have prepared us for the epic journey that was the road to getting a passport for the youngest 0938er.
It wasn’t the passport office at fault (who, it has to be said were brilliant), it wasn’t even the post office. No. It was 0938er no. 2 himself.
Who would have thought it would be so bloody difficult to get an appropriate photograph?! Oh how we tried. Specialist photography shops, photo booths, the resident photographer at our local pharmacy (random but true), but nothing worked. If the requirements stipulated a back of the head shot, side profile or TRAUMATISED look, we’d have been spoilt for choice. Despite all photographers bringing out their full arsenal of tried and tested methods in an attempt to tease out the winning pose, all failed.
What he thought the camera was a guise for we’ll never know. He seemed to find it truly terrifying – either that, or he was picking up on the vibes of desperation from dadda0938 and myself and had decided to fight against them.
I repeatedly read through the photo regulations in the hope of discovering a loop hole which in actual fact would allow a side profile, traumatised look. But try as I might I couldn’t find it. So the quest continued.
Four frigging weeks it took. We abandoned all traditional routes. If he didn’t know you he wasn’t going to play game. So with a self fashioned cream backdrop and a grandad behind the camera (not to mention chocolate to keep him still) we finally got a face forward shot. Yeah, he may have looked a bit like a convict (munching on chocolate buttons) but it was a PHOTO. And not a nape of the neck curl insight. With equal measures of glee and relief we decided to have the image checked prior to sending. Our six week passport window before our holiday had rapidly decreased to three and we were starting to feel the heat (and sadly not from the Tuscan sun).
The verdict? His head was too close. Too close. Despite being a head and shoulder shot there was not sufficient room above the top of his head – aarrrrrghhhh! It really shouldn’t have been so difficult. It felt like a test!
In despair we contacted our friend – a professional photographer – for help. Originally a press agency photographer, she moved into Bump to Baby photography at the same time 0938er no.1 was due, so we’d been incredibly lucky to act as very willing ‘Guinea pigs’ for her new venture. And it hadn’t stopped there. A couple of times a year she still photographs our little 0938er crew and our most recent family shoot had been a couple of months prior. Hearing of our challenge with our camera shy boy she trawled through the images in the hunt for a shot that would meet all requirements – and thankfully (with just two weeks to go before h(oli)- day) she found a potential winner.
His face wasn’t completely centre and his mouth was open, but quite frankly it was the best we were going to get. Absolutely gorgeous it was too – not a convict stripe in sight. But I’m pretty sure they dont pass photos on cuteness alone.
Before finally sending off the application I called the passport office. I bumbled my way through an embarrassed explanation as to why I’d left practically NO TIME and explained the trouble we’d had. I basically gave the poor guy who answered the phone waaaayyyyyy too much information (something I do a lot of if you ask dadda0938 – but if I didn’t I wouldn’t be very good at blogging right?!) and he was wonderful. He calmed me down and explained child passports are turned around in just one week (oh why hadn’t I found this out before…) and that I could call after ten days if it had not been received as planned. Basically he allayed my fears. So a trip (and check – at which the photo was passed -WOHOO!) to the post office later and the application was finally in.
The build up to your holiday should be a wonderful thing. A wind down on the count down (of sorts anyway, amidst the packing frenzy) is the normal plan. What it shouldn’t be is like a ticking time bomb. A passport panic. Whilst we were fine (it arrived a week to the day it was posted – love you Passport Office!) we really would have preferred less camera drama. So my advice to any mummas or daddas who think they have oodles of time to get their little ones passport done is add weeks onto that oodles. Just in case he or she gets camera shy, traumatised by a lens or too close in their close up…