A mum’s knack for photography has left people in stitches.
Laura Smythe’s perfectly-timed photos of her daughter’s ‘jealous’ expression as she watches her sister open her birthday presents every year have gone viral.
Laura first captured her daughter Isla’s look of envy when she was just three-years-old, as her baby sister Kiri, then one, ripped open her presents.
Five years later, mum Laura and dad James has managed to capture green-eyed Isla delivering longing looks while her sister’s presents are unwrapped every birthday.
In one shot, the toddler appears to be ‘throwing a wobbly’ in Peppa Pig pyjamas, while in the most recent picture, an eight-year-old Isla wistfully looks on at her sister’s stack of presents.
Laura, 34, shared the shots online – leaving people divided as some online critics dubbed it “cruel.”
She has now vowed to stash away the precious images until Isla is 18 years old and said the unusual tradition is a much-loved activity by family and friends.
Laura, from Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, said: “It makes me laugh every year.
“Without fail we always catch this jealous face from my eldest. It’s almost become more of a tradition than the actual birthday itself.
“This started when [Isla] was three. When Kiri would have been one.
“We were taking pictures and because she was younger, she made a lot more sound while throwing a wobbly.
“We were like ‘take a snap of that – that’s funny’. We talked it through with her saying ‘you’ll get your day – it’s fine’.
“It kept happening and it’s now got to the stage where we sit and wait.
“If we can’t have a laugh and a joke, especially in these times, we’ll all be miserable and I haven’t got time for that.”
The couple says they can even capture the perfect shot even when their daughter vows she won’t get caught doing it.
Each year Laura and scientific consumables sales manager husband James, also 34, warn Isla that they’ll be taking the shot.
Laura said: “Isla knows we’re going to take the picture. We say ‘get ready for your picture tomorrow’ and she says ‘I won’t do it’.
“Then she does it and we’re like ‘there we go – got it’.
“Nine times out of 10 James is the one behind the camera. One of us has to take photos of whoever is unwrapping the present and one of us has to be on photos of Isla to make sure we get it.
“I’ve got two younger ones that are four and three years old, I’m waiting for them to start doing it now.
“It doesn’t happen the other way round. Kiri’s not too bothered and will be like ‘open this one’, [but] Isla will sit in the background and just watch.
“She does play but has that moment where she thinks ‘I wish I could be opening presents now’.
“Kiri asks for the most random items for her birthday too. She’ll ask for a toilet roll and we’ll get a pack of nine and wrap them up, or a wind-up torch, she’ll think it’s the best thing ever.
“It’s random things and all stuff my eldest is not interested in in the slightest.
“It’s just the fact she’s not opening these presents that she’s thinking ‘nope, not happy with this’.
“All our friends on Facebook will be sat there waiting for the picture to pop up each June.
“My friends and family love it. They say ‘I always wait for this every year – it’s my favourite picture’.”
The family have now vowed to save the cheeky pics for Isla’s 18th, along with other ’embarrassing’ snaps of her.
Laura said: “I’m waiting until she’s 18 now to embarrass her, I’ve got a lot to embarrass her with.
“Some people online have said ‘oh, it’s cruel’, but it’s not really cruel. I’m not banning her from playing.
“We’ve got lots of pictures of our kids that are embarrassing. I once walked into the bathroom and Isla was flossing her teeth with the string of a Tampax.
“If we can’t laugh at ourselves, we’ve got a problem. We’re quite a funny family.
“I’ve got no pictures of myself as a kid and I think that’s why I take them all.”