Mabel’s Irish passport is due for renewal in a few months’ time. (To recap: our kids were born in the US to two Irish parents. So they have two passports each.) The first US passport lasts five years, but the first Irish one only lasts three, which is good, because her current passport photos show a squishy two-month-old with dark brown hair and dark blue eyes. Like this:

Excuse crappy quality. You wouldn’t believe the lengths I will go to to avoid scanning things.

When Dash was three and needed his new passport, he was in the midst of one of his stranger-averse bouts, and was especially shy of men he didn’t know. I took him along to our local CVS hoping to get the nice lady who was usually behind the photo desk, but there was a male employee instead, and the endeavour was doomed from the get-go. (Or from the gekko, if you prefer. Those lizards.) Dash just refused to stand in front of the white background, and that was that.

An outtake
In the end, I took a shot at home against the white wall, sized it on the CVS machine that actually has a very useful passport photo setting, and sent it off to the Irish embassy with his application with some trepidation. 

This is the one we ended up using. (Awww.) They sent it back ensconced in its very own new Irish passport, so they must have decided it was okay. (Either that, or they give you a little leeway on three-year-olds’ photos. I began to understand why the US didn’t require it till five.)

This year, I thought it would be a doddle to get my gregarious daughter to stand on a stool and smile at a camera for a few seconds. I mean, the girl bids a cheerful “Hi!” to every stranger we pass. Anxiety is not an issue here. Plain old grumps, on the other hand… We got to CVS and the nice lady was there. Mabel was put standing on a box on a chair and asked to look at the camera, while two other employees watched closely to learn the correct technique for taking a good passport photo.

Because I have grown as a person in the two years since we did this with Dash, I had the good sense to bribe her with something small from Target, where we were going next, to get some cooperation. With the promise of a new baby fresh in her head (I didn’t say new baby, but she decided I had – we ended up with playdough, which made everyone except the carpet happy for an hour or two) she acquiesced. Eventually, I came home with this.

I decided it was too blurry and her hair was obscuring her eyes, and then it turned out it didn’t quite fit the size requirements for the Irish photo (which of course, are a tiny bit different from the requirements for the American one; for one thing, they’re in metric). So it was time to make my own again. I thought I couldn’t possibly do any worse.

First, it took two days to let me trim her fringe (bangs). You might think it would be easier to just use a hairclip, but maybe you haven’t met Mabel. Second, we have no more white walls. Luckily enough the basement door is opposite a window and lacks visible smudges. Then she had just woken up and was suffering from nap-head, but wouldn’t let a brush within a million miles of her.


So we have: unruly hair, sticking-up fringe, mouth open (not allowed), head not straight, and a shine on the door behind her. Not to mention whatever weird thing is going on with her nose there. I swear it doesn’t normally look like this.

Next comes the mugshot. This could be right up there beside Lindsay Lohan. She looks like she just knocked over a 7-11 for some fried chicken, and they’d run out of ketchup and then she got caught to boot. Not helped by the scab on her chin. I don’t know what she did to her chin.

I think this is the one we’re going with. Head straight, mouth closed, looking at the camera. How do you rate my chances? At least her hair is brushed, right?

3 thoughts on “Mugshots

  1. Cara

    Haha! they are both adorable. Reminds me of trying to get M’s one done – successfully meeting all the requirements with babies as well as older kiddos is easier said than done! I have been dragging the chain with getting the S’s … must begin process!


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