Harrison in jolly-jumper
Letters to Harrison,  Parenting

I Am the Papparazzi

I take so many pictures of you, Harry, and I have so much fun doing it.

Photos are important to me, and I already appreciate looking back at pictures of newborn you (picture a small, jaundiced, newborn with resting-bitch-face). Many memories are recalled while reviewing photos from my own youth, and someday I’ll look back on yours and invoke all the emotions I experience with you now. We are lucky to have a camera in reach at virtually every moment, and to have near endless options for photo-capacity. I’ll bet we captured every single “first” in those initial weeks: your first bath, first outfit, first nap at home (oh, please!). Grouped also are the first-time you puked in your Dad’s mouth, and the first (hopefully only) time you “destroyed” our white carpet while having bare-bum time. I hope someday you will be able to appreciate these, and laugh at ALL of our expense.

Project Pomona

We are ambassadors to Project Pomona and that gives me another reason to post pictures (they make the bestest ever kid pants…check them out). It gives me an excuse to get creative with your photos, and helps me feel purposeful in what I post. I love these pants, as well as our participation with the Project Pomona family. You wear your “fancy pants” lots, since after wrangling you they are the easiest to shimmy up and over your big cloth-diaper.

For the sake of our ambassadorship, and for 10% off your order…Check out the Project Pomona Website! (affiliate link, discount automatically applied at checkout) These pants have a panelled, adjustable waist, and are super easy to put on squirmy children. They easily accommodate big bums, for example cloth-diapered babies! Adult sizes not available, but my request for a pair has been submitted.

#getoutside

I have so much fun showing the world your life and play. You have an infectious laugh, and are (usually) so much fun to be around. You make activities fun, since everything to you is new and exciting. Any activity caters to your outgoing and adventurous nature (I’m not sure how you picked that up from your introverted parents). So far, you are an adventurer, and I never hesitate at a new activity because I know you will take the experience in stride.

I’ve always enjoyed stretching my creative muscles, which I get to do by “snapping” everything we do. This usually takes place in conjunction while seeing how big a fool of myself I can make to capture your best expression. These memories will fade, but my documentation keeps them fresh in memory. Your far away relatives appreciate it too, despite my frequent check-in’s to see how “spammy” my posts are getting.

How obnoxious am I?

Sometimes I ask: Do I let photo-taking come at the expense of my own first-hand experience? Does having a phone always within reach prevent my full participation in your childhood? I have caught myself mid-reach during playtime- because- rather than marvelling at you or joining in on your fun, my first thought has been, “I should get a picture of this”. I hate the principle of those thoughts, because, clearly I am thinking first of “appearance” rather than “experience”. I hated the emphasis on looks that was placed on me growing up, and I hope to avoid dumping that baggage on you.

Since cameras became widely available, I assume many childhoods have been captured from behind a lens. I also assume that the scale of accessibility in modern times is…extreme. I hear about the dangers of screen time and smart phones, and I try to only use my phone around you as a camera and avoid mindless browsing in your presence.

I have complex feelings, because in spite of all that I’ve mentioned, I love having this vivid record of our joy. On the other hand, my vanity and pride also influence. Sometimes, I revel in every self-satisfying “like” or comment I get on a post. I love being told how cute you are, since I wholeheartedly agree. The opinion of a stranger means nothing to me, but why is it so gratifying? I know all these wonderful things about you, and that validation feels good, when really it shouldn’t make me feel anything. Does this invalidate my feelings? I approach social media as a game, so perhaps I feel as though I’m “winning”? Parenting in these times of publicly-shared anything is layered and complicated to me.

What about your consideration, Harry? How does one get “consent” from a baby? Pictures can be deleted from an account, but never from the internet. Will you be embarrassed someday of my photos? Of you riding your horse clad in nothing but your diaper, or another of your bare bum “flapping” in the wind? Is my promotion of a clothing brand that I love fair to you, and how you will someday present yourself?

I actually bribed you yesterday. You heard me, I wanted a picture and you were moving like a tornado, as always. I plunked a handful of Cheerio’s in your lap and you sat still as a statue, and I leisurely took what I needed. In reflection, this evokes feelings that don’t sit right with me. It puts a bad taste in my mouth, like watching those stage-parents on TV, ones you hear about who do anything to promote their child, or drug their crying babies to make them settled and compliant on camera. I don’t go that far, of course, but I think from now on, I’ll limit the bribery.

Slacks and plaid:

I have never had a huge love of dolls or barbies, and I don’t dress myself with any degree of original fashion. I try very hard to not let the concept of appearances get the best of me. That’s why it’s shocking (and to your Papa especially), how much fun it is dressing you! Is it the novelty of such tiny clothes? Am I trying to keep up with your stylishly-dressed baby friends? Something to do with my own clothing-childhood-trauma?

My main goal is to put you in things that I too would enjoy wearing, is that so bad?

I’ve had comments from friends that you are the “Best dressed baby”, and that gives me pause. I call you cute, handsome, and wonderful without hesitation, but for some reason hearing comments about something subjective like clothing makes me uncomfortable. Why do I dress you nice when I’m weirded out by such comments? In reality, I do like to dress you well, I just want your “labels” to revolve around more than that. I hope when people think about your character, traits like “happy”, “intelligent”,  and “compassionate” come to mind, rather than attractive. Appearance is never the most important thing.

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