Thursday, May 22, 2014

Baby Firsts and Photo Ops

According to my phone specs, I have 64GB of memory on my phone. At the moment, about 75% of that is full of baby pictures. Just pictures. Not even videos, because I systematically go through and back those up on my computer (with a duplicate backup on a remote drive) in order to make more room.

According to various sources who supposedly know these things (ie my mother), it's easy to keep on top of photos with the first child. Much harder when you have two.

If that's the case then clearly I'm failing. Only about the first two months of my son's life have made it past my phone into an album.

There are just so many firsts to photograph, you know? Baby's first laugh, baby's first swing ride, baby's first Christmas, baby's first finger foods (followed quickly by baby's first how-did-he-get-food-there???) and on and on and on.

We have some more firsts coming up soon. Baby's first haircut. (Hopefully not for a while longer yet, if I get my way, because it's just so cute when it curls up around his ear.) Baby's first birthday...

That's going to be a huge one. I always thought one-year-olds were too young to need birthdays, but after a year that seems to have been both the longest and shortest of my life, I'm pretty desperate to mark the occasion, even if the baby never remembers it.

Some of the other babies in my son's playgroup have already had their first birthdays, and I'm watching oh-so-closely to see what they all do. I didn't have these other moms in my life while I was pregnant (moms-to-be at that point, I guess) and so I only had baby showers. Which is apparently Doing It Wrong since I never had a gender reveal cake or anything. I didn't even hand decorate my own onesies! *gasp*

But now I know all about birthday party themes and professional birthday portraits and smash cakes. Which I had never heard of, but apparently they are the *other* cake you make so that the baby can play in it and put it all in his hair and shove handfuls of cake in his mouth without ruining the cake for all the guests. Yes, this is a thing.

It all sounds so ridiculous, and yet we do it anyway because two words: Photo Op!

So that we can *snap* *snap* *snap* eight dozen more pictures to sit on the phone, and then on the computer along with every other "baby's first" in our collection.

And why all that trouble? So that at baby's first wedding we can put them all in a slideshow so everyone can coo over how cute baby used to be?

No. No, we do it because we are moms, and as desperate as we are to mark occasions, we're even more desperate to treasure all the little moments.

We do it because the one thing everybody always tells us is "Enjoy these times, because they don't last long." So we take as many pictures as we can, because sometimes that's the only way we know how to capture the beautiful instants that are there and then gone so soon.

If I'm lucky, sometimes I'll have a moment in the evening to write down a memory of a special moment or a funny thing that my son did. I love going back and rereading the moments I've captured so far.

But I don't often get time for that. Sometimes all I can do is whip out the phone and capture a photo or a video.

So yes, I probably will do something ridiculous for my son's birthday, and my husband will probably shake his head and wonder what in the world has possessed me to celebrate a birthday the baby will never even remember. I will do it for me and for my memories.

And I will treasure every moment.

Until he cries, which he's bound to do if I overtax him with tons of birthday stuff he never even asked for. Maybe it's a good thing he'll never remember it...