There is one rule to follow when trying to take pictures of your children: Don't. Many a state hospital is filled with seasoned photographers who went crazy trying to get a child to "Look at the fuzzy ball and say 'Cheese!'" And while I'm on the subject, why Cheese? What is it about saying cheese that mysteriously makes kids smile? My kids are not particularly crazy about cheese and so when we say it they don't smile, but get sort of a pained, "Do we have to eat that stuff again" look on their face. Here's two classic examples: #1 Place: The Cabin. Task: To get my son Alex (aka Shark Bait) to stand next to his cousin and smile. Results: Why do I even bother? Alex seems to take it as a personal challenge to keep us from ever getting a normal shot of him. So far he's winning. Big time.
#2 Place: Our House. Challenge: To get Marcus to smile for a nice happy shot. Extra Challenge: He sleeps in the same room with Shark Bait. Results: Dang it. Shark Bait beat us to him.