|Magdalena is about to get intercepted (al-Azhar Park).|
There is a right way to take a picture of my kid, and a wrong way. Actually, there are lots of wrong ways.
Asking me ahead of time if you can take a picture of my kid is a step in the right direction. But if I say yes, I don't mean that you can completely arrest the flow of her play in order to get a good shot. Don't ask her to get off the swing. Don't grab her by the arm while she's climbing up the ladder to the slide. Don't snap your fingers in her face. Don't physically move her face so that it's facing your camera. Don't force her to sit down on the slide so you can see her better. Don't wait to take her picture until she's giving you a perfect smile. My kids don't even smile for the pictures I take of them. When they're being harassed by a perfect stranger, the chances of a smile are even slimmer.
Don't follow her around with your camera for long periods of time.
Don't gather all your friends together and surround her and all of you try to get pictures at once.
Don't haul her off out of my sight to take pictures in a different setting, at least not without asking.
Don't continue to pester her even after she's made it abundantly clear (by crying and hiding behind me) that she doesn't want her picture taken.
And most of all, if at any time I feel like your picture-taking has taken precedence over my kid's fun-having, and I intervene to tell you so, just stop it already. Don't pretend like you don't hear me telling you, "OK, all done." I know you do.
The people like you, the people who do it wrong, are the reason I have to gear up my kids for public outings by telling them, "You don't have to say hi if you don't want to. You don't have to have your picture taken if you don't want to. You are in charge of your body and if gobs of people come up to you and touch your hair/face/cheeks or give you kisses, you can tell them no, in whatever language you please, including just body language. Even if they give you candy."
I know, I know, it's just a picture, right? What's my damage, anyway? Well, I used to think it was no big deal, too. It never has been, really, not in Syria or Jordan. But you Egyptians are over the top. You might think it's just one little picture, but you are LITERALLY the twentieth person to ask in the last 30 minutes. We paid for the taxi to come here (al-Azhar Park). We paid to get in. Our girls haven't seen wide expanses of grass in over a month. I'm not going to let "one picture" get in the way of them running and playing their little hearts out. And I'm not going to apologize for that.
I mentioned there is a right way to do this, and there is. Be a genuine playground friend to my kids. Play with them. Help them. Follow them, sure - I don't mind. And maybe at the end of some good, quality fun, just maybe, you can take a picture.
|The right way - these girls genuinely played with Magdalena and helped her enjoy her time at the park.|