It’s usually pretty easy to find him because he is constantly singing the Thomas the Tank Engine song or making truck noises. This little celebrity has a great picture face that he makes every time the camera comes out. It involves pulling his bottom lip up in a reverse smile pout and it’s incredibly cute. I have shots of him making this face at the kitchen table, standing beside the dog, not wearing pants, selfie-style with myself sort of in the frame. The list could go on and it does. My muse is named Wolfy and he is my two year old son.
I have been compulsively documenting Wolfy’s life since a few minutes after he entered the world. It’s embarrassing to admit but I have actually caught myself thinking, “I need to capture every expression Wolfy makes.” And then I tried.
How could I resist? He’s just so cute.
I don’t think this just because I’m his mother; the kid has even been a model for a certain hip designer clothing company for babies. Besides digital technology makes it so easy to scoop up a camera and capture pretty much everything my kid has ever done.
I am in good company with making it my mission to document my child’s early years. At every family gathering and at almost every play date, some well-meaning parent or relative will whip out the camera and attempt to capture the excitement of our kids just being their amazing little selves. Well, that’s only if I haven’t beaten them to it.
Seriously, I love documenting Wolfy’s childhood. I consider scrap-booking for him one of my hobbies. For his birthday every year, I make him a snazzy little photo book of his year in review. I know he will appreciate this when he gets older. And if he doesn’t then I’m sure I will love pouring over the memories of the early days of his life.
I often feel guilty if a few days have passed without taking a photo of Wolfy. Yet only a few dozen photos were taken of me every year and I don’t feel that I was neglected as a child. So why do I feel the need to take out the camera every single time something even remotely interesting happens with my own boy? When I was Wolfy’s age, I was equally cute. I was the second child in my family so there are not an overwhelming number of pictures of me. But I still have a few photo albums of my childhood and every few years I might flip through them. Somehow only having a few hundred photos of the first ten years of my life has been enough for me.
Earlier today Wolfy was singing an adorable rendition of Old MacDonald. He was happily making all of the animal noises and everything. I had to move quickly and capture it on film. It would have been a real shame to miss such a great opportunity. I took out my camera and Wolfy stopped singing. He made his adorable picture face. He tried to grab the camera. Finally, with some prodding he gave a half-hearted attempt at picking up the song where he left off but the moment of magic was gone.
Ironically, it seems that when something is documented, it often becomes less authentic. I am trying to learn when to whip out the camera and when to just sing along with Wolfy. After all, when Wolfy is thirty years old, I don’t think it’s likely that he will ask why I never captured a good recording of him singing Old MacDonald.