Chances are that, unless you live abroad with your off-spring, you probably haven't had the pleasure of getting your newborn baby a passport. You likely aren't that crazy (i.e. stupid) to plan international travel with a new baby if you don't live abroad anyway. However, if you live abroad, you must get your baby a passport within 42 days of his/her birth. Otherwise he/she will be stateless. And illegal, for that matter. The former just sounds scary and the latter comes with a possible $2000 fine and/or 6-months jail time (for you or the baby? Because if you have a colicky one, you may just send them along for a few months reprieve). Also terrifying, without a passport your child will be unable to travel across boarders. So in the unlikely event that the US Embassy needs to evacuate you suddenly or in the more likely event that you are dying to soak up some rays while laying on a white sandy beach and drinking mai tais, you would not want to be in the predicament of having one of your children ineligible for travel.Now there are rules to everyone's passport photo, which you may or may not be aware of. For example, these rules include:
- 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm) in size
- Sized such that the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (between 25 and 35 mm) from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.
- Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
- Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
- Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
- With a neutral facial expression and both eyes open
These are pretty simple rules for anyone over a couple years of age. However, applying the "full-face view directly facing the camera" with "both eyes open" to a newborn photo is.....challenging, to say the least. Like, labor might be faster and less painful than getting this done. It is also mentioned that for newborns, neither your hands nor their hands can be in the picture. Which is tricky because you are trying to hold their head straight and they are twitching their arms all over. Also because newborns sleep for 80% of the day. Of their awake time, 80% of that is at some ungodly hour of the night during which the only thing you are doing is trying to coax them back to sleep. That leaves about 15 minutes of daytime when your baby is awake and you are willing to wield a camera in attempt of a photo that meets the above criteria.
Now I had booked my appointment at the US embassy for Nate's passport application to allow myself a full week to get a good photo. For me, I chose to attempt this challenge every day post-bath so Nate is awake and alert. There are usually at least a few minutes where he is satisfied and looking around, before he becomes so content that he falls asleep or becomes so starving that he is screaming for food. However, after day 6 of repeated photo failures, I had to cancel that embassy appointment and rebook for a week later. Considering that Nate spent 11 days in the hospital and it takes two weeks to obtain a new passport, we were getting dangerously close to our 42 day limit immigration buffer period. Yet still, most of our photo shoots ended up something like this:
|Not looking at camera, hands in photo|
|Not looking directly at camera|
|looking at camera but moving, head probably too small|
|Top of head cut off, not looking at camera|
Finally, 2 days before our second Embassy appointment, I got a picture that I was pretty sure would work. I spent large portions of that day patting myself on the back at my success. Eyes open: check! Head facing forward: check! No hands: check! White boarder all around head: check! So you can imagine my consternation when I proudly showed it to Regis and he was like, 'We can't use that photo!'Me: What? Why not?
Regis: He looks like he had a rough night at a frat party the night before! Look at that hair and that baby acne and the hoodie?! Also he has more chins than a chinese phonebook! (This is one of my husband's favorite jokes....You see what I put up with on a regular basis?)
At which point I promptly told him where he could shove it.
Just kidding. I told him that I would love to have him submit some alternate photos and we could choose the best one. We went with my photo, shown below. Because there were no alternate photos. Nate will just have to spend the next 5 years looking like a party animal frat boy. We'll be sure to save it to compare to the photo he takes in his college years.