When I walked into the guest room, I found my daughter on her knees, hunched over the floor working quietly and intently.
In front of her was a pile of off-limits supplies from my craft stash–permanent markers, expensive yarn, rubber stamps and fancy papers. I felt my blood boil.
This had been happening a lot–the sneaking off while I was occupied somewhere else in the house. The getting in to things that normally required supervision. Craft supplies, food from the pantry, gardening tools. It was driving me crazy!
Didn’t my children understand any boundaries? Didn’t they understand they couldn’t get into anything and everything whenever they pleased?
I questioned my daughter about what she was doing: Why didn’t you just ask?
“Because I knew you’d say no. You always say no.”
And there it was. I was confronted with the truth. Or what felt like the truth to my daughter.
Now obviously, I don’t say no all the time. But my pile of no’s far outweighs my pile of yes’.
Sometimes, I catch myself saying no because I think that’s what I’m supposed to do. It’s what parents do. But I also realized my barrage of no’s was driving my daughter to deception. There were plans and ideas burning inside of her. Things she just had to try. And when she brought those ideas to me they were often shut down before they even had the chance to be tried.
I don’t want my kids to give up on me. To think they have me figured out. To write me off as a no. So while some situations may call for a no (no, you’re not sending the baby down the stairs on a pillow), I want to surprise my kids. I want to be open for new ideas and crazy experiments.
More than a no, I want to be a yes.
Three important things to remember about photographing your kids:
1. The eyes have it. The most important place to focus your camera is on your child’s eyes. It’s that magical sweet spot.
2. Get down on their level. Take a picture. Then move and take another picture. Take your kids’ pictures while lying on the grass, under the swings, standing on the sofa over their heads. You’ll be so glad you got a new perspective.
3. Catch them in their element. Make sure you photograph that one thing about them you don’t wan to forget. How they drag their bunny around by its ear. How they hide under the kitchen table with their toys. Or how you always found them tucked in a special chair with a book. Those are the things we don’t want to forget.
I’m an on-again-off-again journaller. And though my beloved Moleskine is always at my side, it’s become more of a to-do list keeper than a place to record memories that I don’t want to forget.
This year, I let go of my anti-technology-journal philosophy and downloaded the DayOne Journal app on my phone and computer.
Truth is, my phone is almost always within arm’s reach, so taking a few moments to tap out the day’s goings on in the DayOne app is pretty easy and painless. The app’s interface is simple and beautifully designed. And it even lets you upload pictures, tag entries and set reminders.
So far, two months in to 2013, I’m consistently jotting down a few sentences every day so I can make sure I never forget that time I had a meltdown in the parking lot of Target or the day the baby cut her own hair.