Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Willow had a fun experience today. It was actually kind of exhausting. We were outside for nearly three hours, by the river, getting pictures taken by a photography company. Many of the photography companies in Shenyang, and there are MANY, like to take pictures of foreigners to use in their ads and promos. I guess it draws attention to their business. Come to think of it, many companies in China do this. For instance, there are large posters of Adam getting lasik eye surgery at the eye hospital where he had the procedure done. The eye doctors told him that he could get free eye exams for life in exchange for his face on their walls.

Even though Willow doesn't have that distinct western quality that Chinese people find so fascinating, she does look 'different' enough to put her in the foreign category. Chinese people know on first glance that she is not Zhongguoren. My Chinese teacher has a friend with a new photography business. They are looking to build their portfolio with mostly pictures of babies/toddlers and families. They want pictures to post on their website, blog, and their studio walls. So Willow got a free photo shoot!

Sometime in the future we'll get a disc of the pictures, and I'm excited to see if there were any good shots.

Going into this experience, I thought they would take a few pictures and it would be over quickly.

What really happened: we walked down to the river park where Willow spent the majority of the time running around like a wild person. The photographer and her assistant would give us instructions like, "Put her over there and have her walk in this direction" or "put her over there and have her look in this direction" or "have her sit on this bench with her shoes off" and then I would try to get Willow to comply to these demands without her freaking out.

Modeling is hard.
And working with a tempestuous 14 month is hard.
There is no reason.
I was tired and in sore need of a cup of coffee.

This is what happened. I would put Willow in the designated spot, and she would run the opposite than desired direction. I would run after her, get her back to the original spot and try to get her to come towards me with all sort of enticements. Cookies, juice, toys, bubbles, balloons, teasing her to chase me, and all sorts of acts of silliness. I didn't even care what other people would think of this. Now as I'm typing this,  I wonder how many people were watching the spectacle????

It was laughable, exhausting, and somehow fun.
It was also a little stressful.

She was running everywhere. Eventually, the photographer figured out that if she wanted pictures, she would have to chase Willow. So, we spent a lot of time chasing her. And being strategic about it.

"Walk in this direction and have her hold your hand". Ok. That's going to be hard, I informed the photographer, since she doesn't like to hold my hand. Surprisingly, she let me hold her hand. How cute!

"Lie down on the ground with your heads together and look up while I take a picture from above". Okay. That's harder than anticipated because Willow doesn't want to lie down. We had to set up this shot over and over and over again.

They brought some cute hats and head bands and some toys to entertain Willow. She latched onto a stuffed bunny with a little floral dress. That bunny is probably in 90% of the pictures because she would not put the thing down! She loved it so much, it was hard to give it back. She really likes stuffed bunnies. She kept feeding it her crackers and juice, giving it hugs and kisses, and rocking it back and forth.

We also met two of the cutest identical twins I've ever seen. They were 7 month old boys and extremely adorable. They had the smallest noses I've ever seen, and their little faces and cuddly bodies were just so precious. They were chewing on their mom's purse when we met them. How funny. Willow wanted to play with their mom's purse too--and she was kind enough to allow that. The mom knew a bit of English, and I could understand her Chinese--so we were able to converse. Both of the grandmas were with her. They were hi-tech grannies with iPhones. One took a picture of us--I was holding one of the boys, and the Chinese mom was standing next to me while holding Willow. I seriously thought her twins were so beautiful, so I told her to talk to the photographers who were still chasing Willow around. She got their info and will probably use them for a portrait session.

After we said goodbye and parted ways, she ran back over to me to tell me one more thing. She said that I looked like Maggie Q, who is a 'famous movie star from Hong Kong---she in Hollywood now and have handsome boyfriend. She in movie with Tom Cruise. Very famous."

Okay....Googled that person.

Apparently, Chinese people can literally smell if you're a half-blood. Even though I never mentioned it to this lady, she knew that I was bi-racial and so is this Maggie Q actress. There is no word for bi-racial in Mandarin---we're just called half-bloods. Feels like the 19th century doesn't it?

Went back home. Willow chilaxed with some TV while I made her lunch. She ate, and then passed out, clearly exhausted from her stint as the center of attention.

She woke up with a diva complex.

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