The Best Piece of Parenting Advice I've Received
Sorry for the inactivity. I've been focusing on family time and my 26 acts. More to come on all these in the future.
They're right when they say from the moment your pregnancy becomes obvious you will become inundated with advice from all corners. From family, from friends, from the postal worker, from the random mom you run into in Target's baby department, from the cashier at Publix. Does it make me strange that I wasn't bothered by it? I'm not saying I took every word for gospel, but as a first time mom I knew I was diving headfirst into the deep end. I found that by listening to and evaluating the advice, I actually came across a few gems.
While wandering in Target's baby department in my third trimester, a mom with a newborn introduced me to the awesomeness that was Once Upon a Child and insisted I put down the items in my cart and go buy them there (she was 100% right, and I'm a total addict. If you're wondering why my kid is such a fashion plate, it's because I can get her awesome outfits for $2). An old friend sent me an email about baby schedules and sleep (and saved my sanity the first month (Sleep Saga Part 2).
There was a third email that came along in those first few weeks that, while not offering some magical baby survival secret, has turned out to be my favorite piece of advice I've received. It came from my good friend Mary's husband, Neil.
Take lots and lots of pictures. They grow so fast. I look at pictures of [my kid] from back then and he looks so different.
Before actually having my kid, I was bound and determined not to be one of THOSE moms. You know, the ones who can only talk about the contents of their kids' diapers and post a picture every 5 minutes of whatever their kid is doing. (I have a new perspective on "those" moms). In those early parental zombie days, it seemed like the only fun thing I could do with my kid was snap a picture in the 5 minutes of peace she would give me.
It should be noted that I've always loved taking pictures and would have loved to be a professional photographer if my life had gone in a different direction. In high school when I would go to concerts every weekend, I loved to photograph the band performing. When I got dogs and lizards, I photographed them incessantly. I suppose it should have come as no surprise that my child would inspire a new fervor in me.
At a rough count, I have taken approximately 1137 photos since the day Daphne was born. That's not including all the cell phone pictures. And I've uploaded more than half of them to facebook. I am THAT oversharing mom. I justify it to myself that she has so many people who love her who live out of town and want to see her, but really even if nobody was looking at these pictures I would still take them.
In the early days, when I was tethered to a nursing baby, my cell phone was one of my only lifelines. I would find myself going to my own facebook galleries and looking at pictures of her. Sometimes when she was screaming at me I would look at the photos to remind myself that she wasn't always a pain in the tuchas.
Looking over these photos, I have a lot of memories of things that perhaps aren't super significant: maybe she was just being cute that day. There are also so many important "first"s that I will always be able to revisit.
Sure, my news feed is overflowing with pictures of my kid. I've never understood people who bitched about what other people posted; if you don't like it... just remove them from your feed. Or if you want to see my non kid posts, just hide my pictures. Facebook lets you do that.
My photography obsession has been cranked to the next level since investing in Adobe's Lightroom. I'm shooting RAW with my Nikon and really giving my camera a chance to show me what it can do. I photograph other things, but with a muse this pretty can you blame me for obsessing a little? Neil was 100% correct: I look at these pictures and marvel at how far she's come and how different she looks already.
My mom was a ridiculous picture taker. It used to drive me crazy. She took pictures of me doing every little thing. She has a giant wardrobe full of photo albums. I hated them. Since having Daphne I've started to go back through my mom's amazing photo archive (it's the only way to refer to it, each book covers perhaps a year) and compare myself to Daphne at the same age. I've been scanning significant pictures to show to Daphne later and even to share with some of you here. It really is a wonder that my mom managed to maintain such an incredible record of my entire life, and all without the help of a computer. I want to be able to give that to my daughter one day, even if it drives her (and my facebook friends) nuts along the way.