I am the mother of 19-month-old twins (a boy and a girl). They are IVF babies. They were also preemies, born at 32 weeks gestation, and spent a month in the local neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I tell you this because I hope it explains a bit about my obsession with taking pictures of my kids.
From the moment they were born, all eight pounds combined, my little babies had to learn to love the camera. Literally, the moment they were born, the camera was going off, introducing them to flash blindness. Well, I had been waiting 11 years for them.
They were in NICU for one month, which seemed like an eternity. You might think that since they were in isolettes it would deter my husband and me from taking photos. Heck no! By the time they left the NICU we had, and this is an exact count, 826 photos of our darlings.
Once they were home, we continued on our picture snapping frenzy. Then we found out we could show all these marvelous pictures to my parents, Nana and Papa, on their TV – big, distorted pictures. After about two hours, Papa said in his best attempt at civility “How many more?” When did he get so cranky?
This became an ongoing joke with Papa. Every time we visited we would pretend we brought “a few more” pictures. We used to laugh at the expression on my father’s poorly disguised, smiling, but clearly terrified face. Gotcha Dad!
Now that the twins are little bigger, toddlers now, we do take a few less photos because we found something out. It’s something we didn’t want to know. It’s something we didn’t ask to know, but it’s something others, little by little, revealed to us: our pictures stink!
After denying this for some time, I did some careful research. I decided to look at the pictures on my camera. There were 105 on there from the previous day – no just kidding. But to protect myself from ridicule, let’s just say there were a few days’ worth.
Unfortunately, they break down into these categories:
1. Messy, sloppy, inappropriate background (i.e. laundry pile that rivals the Leaning Tower of Pisa, or husband in underwear)
2. Out of focus (one or both children whooshing across the photo or are those ghosts?)
3. Out of the frame (a picture of nothing but a partial arm or maybe an ear)
4. The move I like to call the camera reach (2 or 4 toddler hands reaching up and trying to grab the camera away while blocking their faces)
5. Binky or food in mouth (open mouth showing off the food – yum!)
Once I subtracted the pictures that fit into these categories I had only six photos left. Of the six that were left there were four where only one child of the two was looking at the camera. Should that be a separate category? That left me just two pictures out of 105, and they were just perfect.
Some might say I’m a sloppy, bad picture-taking mother. I can see that. I prefer to say that it takes 52.5 photos to get a perfect one. Those are just the facts.