Camera ready

Addie LOVES the camera. The other day, she was lounging around on the floor, crossing and uncrossing her ankles. I was admiring her adorable little baby legs and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take some candid photographs. As soon as she heard the camera turn on, she flipped over onto her belly and began to pose. She didn't need a moment to check her hair or make sure there wasn't anything hanging out of her nose. She didn't want to look at how the pictures turned out to see if she needed a "do over". She just enjoyed the attention and gave me her biggest smiles. The photos are perfect. 

It made me pause and think... Where does she get this love for the camera? It seems like most babies and children go through a phase where they love to be photographed. There's something exciting about getting to see a picture of yourself and it doesn't matter how silly you look or if your shirt has a stain on it. It's just fun and innocent. As adults, however, we tend to immediately cringe the moment we see a camera emerge from someone's bag. "I don't have any make-up on," "Oh, I look horrible. Don't get me in the shot," etc...etc... Where do we learn this?
I know that I have had plenty of those moments in front of Addie and thank goodness she hasn't become aware enough to take my reactions to heart.

This picture was taken just seconds after Addie was born. My midwife asked me before I began to push if I wanted to put in my contact lenses. I was extremely nauseated and just wanted labor to be over with so I couldn't be bothered. Of course at the time, I was not concerned with how I would look when Addie was no longer inside of me and the most important moments of my life would be captured forever on film (well... a digital memory card, but you get it). On any normal day, I would have thrown a fit if someone tried to take my picture while I was in such a state. I would be mortified to show it to anyone and insist that it be deleted immediately. I couldn't be more grateful that in that moment, I couldn't have cared less. Raw and unedited, this is probably the most beautiful photo I have ever been in. Addie and I meeting face to face for the first time. Truly priceless.

After the joy of the moment wore off and we settled into our new life as a family a few days later, the photo frenzy died down and I sadly returned to my self-conscious camera cringing. However, that tiny photo shoot with Addie made me reassess my ridiculous relationship with the camera. How many other precious memories have I been missing out on documenting because my hair wasn't fixed or I didn't have the right sweater on? What message have I been sending my daughter when I duck out of a picture, telling everyone present that I would prefer not to be photographed? When would observing my behavior begin to sink in and result in her mimicking the same actions? Oh that thought breaks my heart! 

Point taken, my love. One of MANY lessons Addie has taught me in just a short 9 months--embrace the spontaneity of photographs. Throw away the worry of "How do I look?" for the joy of the moment and the importance of documenting our life as it is and not how it could look on a magazine cover. And here we have it! One freezing cold morning, about to head off to my office, Addie is cute as ever in her winter cuddlesuit and ready to once again smile for the camera. Instead of setting her down for a solo shot, I decided to join in on the fun. I'm so glad I did.