That moment when your son is able to bring you his blanket, climb into your lap, and say, "I love you," is the day every parent looks forward to. It's what makes those late night feedings, spit up-covered shirts, exploding diapers and cranky days worthwhile. But it's a moment that doesn't last forever, and every mom has heard the sage advice, "Enjoy it while it lasts. Before you know it he'll grow up and move away." It's a little stressful, wondering if we're enjoying the moment enough, trying not to wish away the tantrums and diapers that seem so trying now. Here are 50 other things money can't buy.
That's why picture-taking has become such an important pastime. It allows us to capture those moments that we can't fully appreciate at the time. Each snapshot is a window to those "good ol' days" that flit by so quickly, though we don't feel the time passing as they happen. Every picture is an important piece of those childhood memories, but here are six pictures that every parent should endeavor to capture before it's too late.
Whether you take them with your smartphone or hire a professional photographer, there will never be time or money better spent than what you invest in those newborn pictures. They're best taken before your little one is even 10 days old, as babies are easier to position and lull to sleep in those first days following birth. Before you know it, that tiny infant will be several months old and you will never quite believe how small they were when they were first born without that photographic proof.
A first time for everything
When babies are first born, every day is full of firsts: first bath, first feeding, first cuddle, first yawn. And in the months following those first days there will be first visits to the zoo, first solid food, first time in the high chair, first crawl, first step, etc. As they age, children's firsts are spread farther apart, but there will be first friend birthday parties, first days of school, first sleepovers, first choir concerts, first airplane flights. Then, they'll have first dates, first dances and first boy or girlfriends. Don't miss the opportunity to photograph these firsts. After all, they only happen once.
Messes happen; it's a big part of growing up. In the moment, they can be annoying or frustrating. You'll be inclined to yell, pull your hair, maybe even stomp your feet. But if you would only step back for a moment and see how little that event matters in the scheme of things, maybe you'll realize that this messy moment is really just another memory in the making. So instead of quickly reaching for a wipe or a dish towel, reach for your camera and snap a quick pic. You'll be laughing about this before you know it.
The frowny face
Most often, the aim of our picture-taking is to capture our kids at their happiest: big smiles, dimples, wide eyes and all. Looking back, you might even trick yourself into thinking those early years must have been pretty easy. People just smiled all the time! But there's so much more to life than that, and just like your pictures of messes, pictures of your kids with all their emotions will give you a rounder, better defined picture of what life was really like. So capture your kids in all their forms — sad, surprised, excited, pouty, confused, awestruck and, yes, even frowny.
Look through the last 10 pictures you took. And the 10 before that. How many of those pictures featured you or your spouse? Is one or are both of you missing from the myriad of pictures you take of your children? Don't leave yourself out of all those pictures, or one day your kids will ask, "Where were you?" If you are often the only picture-taking capable person around, figure out creative ways to include yourself in some form. Take selfies, use mirrors, or take a picture pointing down at your feet with your child looking up. Just make sure you can show your kids you were there.
Perhaps the most regrettable picture moments are the times you miss snapping a picture of your child and a grandparent interacting. Whether they live near or far, are much aged or still in their prime, grandparent time should never be taken for granted. The pictures your children will love the most are the ones that show them doing something with their grandparent, rather than sitting and posing. Here are 5 more ways for showing love to grandparents.
Very few of us possess degrees in photography, but you don't have to be an expert to capture a simple moment in your child's life. Don't worry about whether you're skilled or not, just take pictures as often as you can. A single pause in your day to press a button on your phone could bring back many fond memories in the years to come.