There’s not very much that stays consistent between our three children. Personalities, size at their various stages of life, parenting styles… I can try and make it sound pretty, but we definitely have a little Third Child Syndrome going on. When our first child graduated to a toddler bed, Zach made her this gorgeous, custom princess bed; our middle child got a nice, but second-hand, wooden sleigh bed; the third child basically stayed in a crib until he was big enough to share a bunk bed with his older (I may or may not have more, and better examples, but I don’t want to embarrass myself too much). I am paranoid about this Fact of Life, so I have made a conscious effort to keep things as consistent as possible between the children, with varying success.
To my point: when our oldest was around two, we made her an alphabet book. I spent weeks making a list of items to match each letter (Because you can do that as a mom of one, and you’re always like, “I am SO BUSY.”). It took three or four photo shooting sessions and included multiple wardrobe changes. We even invited her friends along. It was marvelous (ly stressful) but the result was so good that we naively said to ourselves, “We must do this with all our children when they turn two!” When our second child turned two, we had just moved overseas and I was nine months pregnant with #3 and hardly able to bend over, BUT, being a chronic over-achieving A-type personality, I set up a backdrop in our covered patio and just resolved to shoot 4-5 pictures a day until they were complete. That post is here.
Then came our little baby Game Changer. This fella transformed my Whole. World. Have you ever watched Looney Toons? You know that little guy who whirls and spins and wreaks havoc? Imagine Taz multiplied by about four. My Tornado Child has the best facial expressions, so I always forgive him, but the boy can clear our bookshelves, toy shelves, tupperware shelves, and any other shelves we have laying around in thirty seconds, flat. When he was a week old, I got really sweet newborn photos, and in one last fit of Super Mom I even made a baby photo album…. and then… just… it was too much. I never even did a cake smash for his first birthday (is it too late to do that when he turns three?).
I have embraced imperfection, learned to laugh at myself and my dirty floors, and found some amazing moms to commiserate with. And his cute facial expressions and hugs sure have brightened my life.
But DANG IT, I wanted that alphabet book. I wasn’t going to let him be the only child without one.
Game Changer turned two nearly a year ago. Tick-tock-tick-tock.
“I wish I had the energy…” Tick-tock-tick-tock.
My brother flew out to help me recently. His visit coincided with a visit from my mother-in-law, and between the two of them, we chipped away at my to-do list, until I began to feel so energetic and accomplished that it was feasible (This is the part where I tell you how jealous I am of anyone who lives close to a wonderful family circle and gets this treatment all the time). Anyway, it happened. I made a list of alphabet items. I collected all the stuff, and we shot 24 letters in ONE morning (saving D for Daddy and M for Mommy for later when my husband was home to trade off). Are all the shots perfect? No. There are at least two where the focus is just THISMUCH off. Did I Photoshop my mistakes and put in fancy fonts? Nope. Do I have any secrets? YES. In no particular order:
-N is for Nutella. I just took the lid off and gave the kid a spoon. Because Third Child Syndrome.
-E is for Eggs. Yes, I let him crack them against one another. Because Third Child Syndrome.
-C is for Chocolate. Or Cookie. Because…
-I is for Ice Cream (Sandwich)…
Notice a pattern? I inserted an edible prop for about every third photo. By the end, we were kinda stretching his patience and he was riding the Candy Land Roller Coaster, but we made it. And he was sugared up for the rest of the week. But I got my book. THE END.
If this story is anticlimactic, it’s because I just realized my little Game Changer has been silent for over half an hour, and that never, ever, ever means he’s helping clean the kitchen, so I must away.