Let it be noted that if Micah doesn't want to do something, he doesn't. It's very difficult to change that stubborn boy's mind, and it generally involves many tears, much coaxing and bribing (that are largely ineffective), and sometimes ends in punishment like a time-out or a nap before his mental mindset is one that more resembles compliance. We have become skilled at redirecting that boy any way that we can (if he can be at all), and just accepting Plan F (because plans A through E have all failed miserably).
Micah got in the car happily enough this morning, but when we parked at the beach, he pretty much said, "This isn't going to happen today, folks." He sat in the back and fussed. I think his whine was saying, "I'm done with the beach, Please just drive away." We assured him that we just wanted pictures and we wouldn't go in the water at all. We asked him to bring Woody. We told him to bring his iPad to take his own pictures. The last thing finally enticed him out of the back seat. We quickly locked the door after he got out of the van.
Thankfully, the path through the dune was the perfect place to take pictures, so we didn't even have to prod the boy out onto the beach. We could have a private session out of sight of the general public, and when dealing with an 11 year old, 100 pound boy that could have meltdown at any given second, that's a good thing. He's definitely big enough to look like he should listen better than he does on occasion. (Actually, he's definitely old enough to just act like he should all the time, but sadly reality is a different story.)
I set the camera up on the stair railing, did all the fun knob turning and twisting that needed to happen to make epic photos, posed the family, set the timer, and ran to be a part of the picture.
But you never stop at just one photo. In a family this size, at least one person would be blinking, or not looking at the camera or just plain looking like a goof. So I ran up to press the shutter again and in the 10 seconds before the click of another photo being taken, Micah decided to be a ham.
That boy's sense of humor is right there, and we love it immensely. During photos, however, your humor needs to remain on the inside, not show on the outside. He had a few more outtakes of funny faces and hand gestures before deciding that he wanted to be the one to take photos.
The fact that the camera was up a few steps was a problem. That boy is slow on steps. We're working on it, but his weakened hips delay him a bit. There was no way he could get down the steps, cross the distance and pose himself in 10 seconds. He's the King of Dawdle, even without his handicap. We had to get him to comply happily, because otherwise we were forced to be done with photos.
"Micah, use your iPad to take a picture," we encouraged him. So he did. Repeatedly. And prolonged. "Micah, come be in the picture! It's mom's turn to take a picture again." Except he didn't think so.
That right there, friends, is one of the best family photos in the history of ever. It represents our family so very well. Welcome to RockingPonyVille, where Micah is his own person, doing his own thing, while we are just over here pretending that we're normal.
Somehow, someway, we coaxed him to join us for one last photo. He posed like a boss, with a grin on his face. That should have been a clue, but we were focused on the camera too much to really notice. He waited, and waited and at the very last millisecond before the click, his sense of humor reared its head again.
So it turns out that the best photo really was the first one we took, because we just quit after this. There is no reasoning with that boy when he's in a mood like he was this morning. But hey, we have a photo where mostly everyone is looking at the camera, and that's a win.
(And ignore that Keep Off Dunes sign. Editing is a beautiful thing. Let it be noted that we did, indeed, keep off the dunes.)