SHINE – Cancer Research UK’s night time marathon walk is drawing near and so today a photographer, along with a lovely lady from the charity’s media team, came to the house to take a few publicity snaps of me and the children looking..er…shiny. Ella immediately entered into the spirit of things and within minutes was dressed from head to toe in a silver sequinned skirt and jacket. Louis morphed into a miniature 1970’s game show host donning an oversized silver sequinned blazer and sequinned hat and Jake wore a silver sequinned waistcoat and a mortified expression (did I mention the silver sequins?) Theo was miserable with a streaming cold, refused to go anywhere near the shiny clothes and seemed to have decided that blowing bubbles out of his nose would be his contribution to raising the profile of what is a fantastic event.
I definitely got the short straw as far as dressing up fun went. No glittery garments for me. Instead, I was handed a large t-shirt with the SHINE logo and charity name emblazoned on both sides. All well and good and I was proud to wear it but goodness me – is there a less flattering item of clothing to be found than a unisex, oversized t-shirt? If I’d wanted to accentuate my large, wonky boobs and give the impression that I had absolutely no waist then I couldn’t have asked for anything better. We did the shoot in the garden and I thought seriously about grabbing a couple of clothes pegs off the washing line in at attempt to create the illusion of a nipped in midriff. I didn’t and silently told my ego to go and hide somewhere.
And so the photo shoot began and all was fine. Jake was being a tad resistant and sulky but a few snarled threats of computer game withdrawal and he soon managed to raise a smile. Louis was scarily enthusiastic about the whole thing and seemed to have found his calling – fluttering his eyelashes, smiling his best showbiz smile and stealing the limelight from the rest of us, hands down.
It all started so well. It fell apart spectacularly. Fifteen minutes in and we had three screaming toddlers and a sullen nine year old. I’m not sure that the photographer got one shot with all five of us actually looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. My shiny smile got more strained and tense by the second as I tried to prize a dummy out of Theo’s mouth and a stinky, soggy muslin out of Ella’s.
“They’re not normally like this,” I kept mumbling as the whole shoot crumbled and our sympathetic but slightly startled guests tried to work around the chaos. “How strange, I don’t know what’s got into them,” I said laughing nervously as I tried to wrench Louis’s jaw from Theo’s left shoulder. We ended up having no choice but to barricade the triplets in the living room, Jake in charge whilst I sat on a blanket in the garden grinning manically for the camera and doing my best to ignore the three squished faces pressed up against the glass screaming for me and tearing each other to pieces.
I don’t expect to see our faces gracing too many bill boards anytime soon. Unless Cancer Research UK decide to turn the whole thing around and plaster pictures of my children at their astonishing worst on every corner – thereby terrifying the public into supporting the amazing work they do. Wait a minute, that could work…