I should not be sitting at the computer ignoring my children writing this.
I should be sitting at my computer ignoring my children making a photo album of my son’s first three months.
(In my fantasy life I am an American lawyer – this mainly involves stomping about in heels and a pencil skirt shouting ‘That’s inadmissible!’)
The problem is that I have set my standards too high, which is genuinely the first time in my life I have ever had to say that.
From the very second Eeh Bah daughter arrived into the world she has been blinded by the flash of a camera. The first words her tiny ears ever heard were instructions shouted by me at her father ‘Take a picture! Not me you Dick – the baby!’
A wonderfully poetic welcome into the world I’m sure you’ll agree.
In the front room our shelves are lined with beautifully presented albums documenting our daughter’s many firsts – first holiday, first Christmas, first time she ever ate a pickled onion, first time she stroked a dog:
‘Oh my god she’s stroking a dog, she’s never stroked a dog before. Quick get the camera out ……. Aw look how good she is with dogs… She’s probably going to be a vet, no not that button, the one on the front….No darling keep stroking the doggy…..You’ve turned it off. Press the red button, don’t cry darling…. Nice doggy… Shit… PRESS THE RED BUTTON….Come back doggy……’
Repeat ad nauseam for every single event in small child’s life until you have a two year old who refuses point blank to have her picture taken. This is her camera face:
Next to the photo albums of our daughter doing absolutely everything are photo albums of our son doing, er, well, nothing. The photos of Eeh Bah son have still not been printed out, all pictures of his first precious months stuck in digital limbo.
The truth of the matter is that there was more of me to go around when I had just the one child and the time I spend making a photo album would be time better spent with him daydreaming about moving to a foreign country and practicing law.
So in years to come when my son looks at the shelf and questions why there are no photo albums dedicated to him I shall tell him that it’s because we were too busy dancing round the front room to a plastic keyboard that plays La Cucaracha to take pictures of us dancing round the front room to a plastic keyboard that plays La Cucaracha and that if I had taken pictures of us dancing round the front room to a plastic keyboard that plays La Cucaracha there would have been no time for dancing.
Either that or I’ll tell him he was too ugly to take pictures of.
So if you can learn anything from me (and to be honest I’d be surprised if you did) it’s this: Set your parenting standards low with the first baby so you don’t have too much pressure when number two comes along. Start as you mean to go on (badly).
* swishes out of room in pencil skirt and heels, trips up over plastic train.