Now that Hilary Duff is a mom of two, she's probably realized that getting a perfect photo of both of her children at the same time can be tricky business — if not nearly impossible. It helps that her son is a bit older and is likely to follow simple instructions. But as evident by Duff's most recent Instagram post, her infant daughter is another story entirely. And honestly? Hilary Duff's photo of Banks and Luca meeting Santa is every parent trying for a decent Christmas portrait.
On Monday, Dec. 24, the singer took to Instagram to share a photo most parents probably have somewhere in their arsenals as well. The post features a portrait of her smiling 6-year-old son, Luca, — whom she shares with her ex-husband Mike Comrie — and her pouting 2-month-old daughter, Banks — whom she shares with her boyfriend Matthew Koma — on Santa Claus' lap. Although Banks isn't full-on screaming in this shot, she's clearly not impressed with old St. Nick. (That lip!) Duff captioned the priceless holiday treasure with, "Merry Christmas lol."
Her fans were clearly amused by the classic unhappy-child-on-Santa's-lap photo. One Instagram user wrote, "The lil lady is not feeling Christmas." Another person commented, "Your daughter makes the best sad faces!! Haha too cute!!" Yet another Instagram follower chimed in with, "She’s not having it. 😫." Another person wrote, "Her face! Poor Banks! 😂😍." Check out the pouty adorableness for yourself!
Two years ago, Duff shared a similar encounter with Santa — except that time it featured a 4-year-old Luca alongside her niece/Haylie Duff's daughter, Ryan, according to E! Online. Luca was again flashing a cheesy grin while perched on Santa's lap. But poor little Ryan was clearly having a rough go of it as she sat there wailing on Kris Kringle's knee. "Classic. Every fams gotta have one of these❤," Duff captioned the photo. "We love meeting santa and all his helpers @thegrovela every year! 😘😘happy holidays everyone! Hope spirits are bright!! 🎄."
Although plenty of families have at least one photo of a visit with Santa gone awry, experts warn that forcing a child to sit on Santa's lap can actually be damaging. "If a child is distressed or non-consenting then it's disrespectful and it can even be bullying to force a child to sit on a stranger's lap for a photograph," Dr. Jason Coulson — a parenting expert with a Ph.D. in psychology — told the Daily Mail earlier this month. In a different interview with Mamamia, Coulson took it a step further, advising, "Parents have got to stop bullying their children. It’s using their power to force their child into an uncomfortable situation that just makes them feel awful."
I agree that physically forcing a scared, crying child onto Santa's lap is a really bad idea. However, from my experience at least, crying Santa photos aren't always that black and white. With my kids, it's usually a slow realization and reaction. We plop a toddler onto St. Nick's lap, start taking photos — and all of a sudden, the child realizes they don't know this person at all. A combination of, "Who the heck is this?!" and, "Why is this person dressed so ridiculously?!" takes over. Then come the waterworks.
I'd be willing to bet the photos Hilary Duff's kids fell into the latter category. And sorry, not sorry, but crying Santa photos of this nature will always be amusing to me. Maybe by next year, little Banks will have had a change of heart about visiting with Santa. If not, then at least Duff can always count on Luca for a cheesy photo with old St. Nick!
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.