Anyone who has ever attempted to get from point A to point B with a small person in tow can attest to a child’s attention to detail. The youngest walkers stoop down to inspect every crack in the sidewalk and each ant that marches across their path. The older set may be unable to pass by low hanging branches without a minor tree climbing session. It’s a natural tendency that in many cases, we grow out of as we get older.
Yet, the moment a brand new baby is placed in your arms, the skill of noticing every little thing is reborn. Each tiny fingernail, the perfect swirl of their hairline, the wrinkles that make them look brand new and a hundred years old all at the same time. There are few things we are ever as in tune with as our children.
With that understanding, there’s an art to observing the things that make them who they are. Given the tools we have these days, there’s no question that it’s easy to amass thousands of photos and videos of our kids. But truly capturing them extends beyond clicking and tapping buttons.
Consider these few things to build a rich collection of memories.
Take non-traditional photos
Of course there’s a time and place for posed, picture perfect photos. But the truth is, those captures rarely tell a story. Candid shots of an afternoon in the yard, or little hands caring for a favorite stuffed animal have far more to connect with. Occasionally, focus on the action itself, not the obvious smiling face. Or leave the kid out entirely, and take the photos they’ll want to have.
Document the “boring”
The normal of today won’t be the normal of 5 years from now. What seems mundane and uninteresting in the moment is often super fun to look back on. Make a video of the song they’ve been singing on loop for two weeks straight, or write down three sentences about a particularly disastrous trip to the grocery store (“You insisted the place to ride was under the cart. I finally talked you into riding properly and you knocked at least two things off the shelf in every aisle. I got desperate and opened the goldfish crackers in line.) After all, there are far more of those moments than anything else.
Let them lead the way
Stepping back and allowing a kid to be in charge is a great way to watch them shine. Let your toddler lead you on a walk around the neighborhood, or hand a recipe over to a 9 year old to prepare for the family. A quick photo of them genuinely enjoying that freedom can speak volumes.
It’s the New Year, and I have been doing a lot of thinking. I want to say, with all of my heart and all of my soul, that I am sorry. I want apologize for anything (and everything) I have said or done that made you feel less-than or sad or small.
This year I am resolving, with a twist. There will be no diet, exercise, less swearing and drinking, "more church" kind of resolutions. This year I'm simply letting go of the things that are just not productive nor conducive to my life. This is the year I give up several of my hard-earned mom-related titles.
Surround yourself and your kids with piles of magazines and update vision boards for the fresh, new year to come. If nothing else came from this evening together, we exercised our creativity and bonded while reenacting some of the over-the-top advertisements we came across.