Picture This

This week has been a bit quieter than usual – it’s been rainy and grey and our normal haunts have been invaded by the “big kids” on their holidays. I’ve been going through photos picking the best ones to put on our 8-month-old-but-already-children-stained walls, wondering how on earth so much time has passed already…. 

Girly no2 is almost 9 months old and growing up crazily quickly. I can’t bear it. I keep wanting to hit pause on this phase of rolling around cooing, holding her toes and lifting her little (big) head like a meerkat. I have wanted this at every point since she emerged (far too polite a word for what happened). Girly no1 is 3 in 9 weeks and I’m already doing that annoying thing that all parents do of asking Husband how did we get here? Where have 3 years gone? How have we been parents for 3 bloody years?! It has gone so fast. She was a snuffling warthog that learnt to roll, then sat up, then ate, then crawled, then walked and then went from chubby little toddler to this slender (and slightly weird) little girl who asks me my favourite colour 14 times a day and says things at bed time like “tell Daddy to bring the telescope home from the garden at the pub”. I don’t know what this means or how she knows what a telescope is but I am in awe of how all these things have happened in the last 34 months. My baby is catching her up. When I see no2 with her face in the rug and her bum in the air shuffling to reach something she isn’t allowed, I know crawling is close and I want to hold her exactly where she is now. Not in a suffocating-her-in-the-rug way, just in a don’t-grow-so-fast way. She produces new sounds each day, we’ve gone from ba-ba-ba to ta-ta and da-da (no hint of ma-ma, second traitor in the family) and she’ll be waving and clapping before I know it. Having gone through it once before, I know what comes next and I know it’s thick and fast from here on out. 

I don’t sit around weeping over future school uniforms or envisage packing them up for university but I do stare dreamily at my babies – trying to memorise every moment. I film them both, sometimes obsessively. I spend ages on my phone when they’re in bed deleting blurred shots and ruining Game of Thrones saying “look what she did today…” to Husband, who has worn the marks off the pause button on our Sky remote. I try and remember to write down silly things no1 has said and to capture crazy situations so that my parenting highs and lows are there to be read by them later. They’ll want to know about the many times they poo’d on Daddy, the time he accidentally licked some of their poo off of the back of his hand thinking it was curry; or the time they pee’d on the model sofa in the poshest sofa shop in Surrey and Mummy didn’t know what to do so just pretended it hadn’t happened; won’t they? 

I hate all the old cliches like “every second is one you can’t get back” but annoyingly, like most other things I’ve discovered since becoming a parent, it’s true. Everyone says -where does the time go? We know where it goes, it just passes us by. When you have children it passes at breakneck speed. Once something is learnt and progress is made, it’s never the same again. Your babies change and grow constantly. You don’t want it to be the same forever, but part of you thinks ‘I do’. You just want to drink up the present into your body and slow it down so you can recall and relive it at any given moment. There was an episode of Black Mirror (if you’ve not watched it, you must) where everyone had an implant in their brain and you could replay and be back in every moment from the past. Shit for arguments, but amazing for babies. In the thick of it you count the hours til bedtime, or the days until a night out, then when a milestone happens you hit pause and realise it’s all so fast and you wish you had slowed down. Pictures and videos are the only real way of remembering at the minute – so I try and get it all, but without being on my phone the whole time.

I used to be annoyed by people who used their children in their profile pics on Facebook – how were you supposed to know it’s them? The learning to walk videos – everyone learns to walk, yawn. First day of school? Yep, they definitely look the same as all the other little hobbits in the same clothes. First day of school v’s last day of school? Shock horror, they grew. And then, my perfectly beautiful cherubs arrived. The sheer amazingness of this means I would happily share all of the amazing moments with anyone that would look or listen. Actually not anyone. Only people with children because I know how I felt BC (Before Children, though I’m disappointed if you didn’t figure that out by now). I don’t actually share that much on Facebook because I worry about photo ownership, how and where pictures are shared and where they might end up. Also, my Mum was photo-obsessed and I remember my friends walking through the gallery, sorry hallway, pointing, laughing, aaah-ing then laughing again at the timeline of my childhood to date. In today’s age of social media I don’t want to be responsible for this happening to my children, particularly with the bullying horror stories I hear and read about. Having said all that, I can’t help but post the odd picture. It’s too big a part of my life not to. My Facebook timeline would go from London Lush to Hampshire Hermit in 3 short years. The other thing is that they’re so cute! I love my little monkeys and I want the world to see these beautiful little animals I have made! In doing this I have ended up creating the hallway-come-gallery from my childhood, except I have done it electronically, eternally and in full view of the world. I assure myself it’s OK because of my friendships, privacy settings and the fact I can delete them all if they embarrass them at any point. I also question whether Facebook will be big in 10-15 years time or will it just be us old farts left on it. The reality is, though, that I have created an online gallery and a hallway gallery. Double the grief from their friends. We’ll cross that bridge when they get there. 

FAMILY PHOTOS in The public gallery
The public gallery

We have a WhatsApp group (yes I’m aware of the irony of ownership) joined only by people that want to be part of it. On this I share my weekly highlights without shame. I send videos of no1 singing Let It Go over the babymonitor or no2 saying da-da-da with snot streaming into her mouth. Pictures of me with no make up or bra and awful Snapchat filters with no shame. Naked shots with just a cup to cover girly bits with no shame. Sometimes five and sometimes twenty. I don’t worry about how many or how often as long as they know how to turn off the “automatically save media to phone”, following a couple of friends trying to remove them selves discreetly from the group saying their phones were filling up with videos of my children. I’m sure this is absolutely the real reason that any of my friends risked the very big and very public “X HAS LEFT THE GROUP” announcement and not at all because they were sick of the pictures of my little stunners!

The beauty of my WhatsApp group, besides receiving unadultered adoration from lots of people about how beautiful my children are, is that it gives me my very own highlights reel for my babies. I scroll back through being very aware of how quickly they are changing. Between this blog (in which I’m sure they couldn’t be easily identified…?!) and the WhatsApp group, I think I have a good record of it all. The reality is that I can’t stop or slow down time, even if I wanted to. All I can do is appreciate every moment as it happens and use media to fill in the gaps of my memory, trying not to bore my friends and family too much in the process. All of this is of course until I get my I memory chip inserted when I’m assuming they will be able to upload up all the photos and videos and blog commentary so I can travel back in time!

Hope you have enjoyed this week’s publication! If so, please let me know with a thumbs up and a share if you have Mummy friends. I’m also interested in your views on sharing photos so please do share them. Ciao!

PHOTO BABES
How can you not want to look at these babes?!

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