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8 First Day of School Pics That Keep It Real

Photograph by Instagram

The kids are heading back to school and you can just feel the pressure in the air. No, I’m not talking about tests, class assignments or volunteering—I’m talking about parents having to take the perfect first-day-of-school photo.

Kids are being dressed up in their new clothes, handmade signs have been drawn that say, “5th grade!” and props are being carefully picked out and placed. (You’re not fooling anyone. We know they’re just props. No one uses a feather pen anymore or chases after the school bus on an old-timey tricycle.)

Man, these kids all look so happy to be back at school! It’s as if they’re saying, “Thank God all those carefree weeks of summer fun are over! I can't wait to sit at my hard wooden desk and do times-tables!” You can just feel their excitement at getting back to their mystery-meat lunches and cartons of expired milk.

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But what if your kid doesn’t actually like getting up at the crack of dawn to put on pants, mug for the camera and then go to a place where someone tells them what to do for seven hours? That’s OK because sometimes real-life is hysterical and your photo will be priceless. (Don’t steal that quote, I’m putting it on my “First day of grad school!” sign that I’m going to make for my kid’s photo in four years.)

Last year my daughter refused to let me take a picture on her first day of her senior year, no matter how many Starbucks Frappuccinos I tried to bribe her with. So I took a picture of her breakfast burrito instead. That burrito ended up being way more cooperative.

Also there was the time I forgot to take a photo in the morning so I wanted to “recreate” the moment after school, and they were like, “What? No way, that’s so fake,” so I took a picture anyway and I was all, "Stop walking away from me, children, and look like you're happy to be getting an education."

Then there’s this kid, who pretty much sums up what every kid is really feeling inside. I wish I could see the face she makes when her teacher tells her she has to go home and change into closed-toe shoes.

If you just cannot wake them up, sometimes you have to get them dressed, prop them up against a solid object and take your shot anyway. I'm sure they’ll wake up when mom drives by a Pokéstop.

Be careful once they figure out the conspiracy, because they’re going to be mad. You would be, too, if you’d mentally prepared yourself for only six hours of this torture and then you found out you had 250 more DAYS ahead of you. SOMEONE’S GONNA PAY.

The first day of school is hard for online students, too. The upside is you can take a nap at your desk. In your pajamas. The downside is your stuffed animals don't have any gum to sneak you during class.

And sometimes, even a brand new Curious George lunchbox isn’t enough to get your feelings up off the floor. (I happen to know this kid just graduated high school and according to his mom he still isn’t a fan of the first-day-of-school pic, although she says at least now he remains standing.)

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Finally, there's this mom whose back-to-school pic went viral. She's not afraid to let her feelings show about her kids getting the hell out of the house going back to school, and we applaud her. Her kids will recover soon enough.

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