Fatherhood Adventures

When it comes to pictures of our son, my wife and I could be a bit crazy.

We take photos of him doing anything and everything. With all the new things happening each and every day, we just leave our camera on the living room table because you just never know when it will be a Kodak moment, or, in our case, a Nikon moment.

Around our house, the camera is used just about every day, even if it’s just a couple snaps here and there. There are certain times that scream camera, but I am starting to think we could be a bit obsessed.

I came to this realization last week when I couldn’t help but get frustrated with how slow my laptop had become in such a short amount of time. I am no tech expert, but it didn’t take long to discover why it was dragging. There were a ridiculous amount of photos being stored on it. Before I grabbed the spare CDs around to burn and free up my hard drive, I took a walk down memory lane, mainly the last 10 months since my son was born.

With each photo I opened, I found myself saying, “Oh that should be my desktop background.” No sooner than I changed it, I would come across another one I preferred to take its place. After I had looked through most of them, I had changed my desktop appearance about a dozen times, and I think I ended up with the same photo as when I started.

Everyone has their own way of arranging their computer desktops. I prefer everything in folders, particularly photos. Consequently, there are dozens of folders of different sets of photos on my desktop. Here’s some examples with the number of photos in each:

— Baby shower, 77 photos;
— Beckett hospital, 42;
— First Father’s Day, 40;
— Early days, 204;
— Beckett and family, 135;
— Teeth, 20;
— Baptism, 194;
— Santa and Beckett, 21;
— Christmas, 215;
— Beach, 54;
— Halloween, 42;
— Beckett Growth, 65;
— Emerald Isle, N.C., 98.
— Randoms, 284; and
— Beckett months 8 and 9, 82;

Okay, there are others, but I was getting a little bored listing them. Besides, it’s not the overall number of folders and photos within that’s interesting to me. All parents take lots of pictures of their kids. All parents think everything their baby does is outstanding and worthy images need to be commemorated. What’s most fascinating to me is we have hundreds of photos of the same things.

On a certain day four months ago, there are 84 photos of a feeding. It was his first attempt at baby food. Up until then it was all bottle for him, and the reactions, and subsequent mess, were worthy of the camera. However, 20 megabytes of photos may have been overdoing it a bit. If you flip through them fast enough, it was like making a video, which was pretty cool except for the fact we also have a 10-minute video of his first meal.

In another folder from a couple months ago, there are dozens of photos of him doing the same thing – sitting up by himself. There was not a lot of action here. He was really not doing anything, but the fact he was not falling over was good enough for us. I actually think I remember saying, “look at him, he’s so amazing,” as he sat on the floor surrounded by toys, staring at the camera in bewilderment at what all the fuss was about. That’s just a typical parent moment.

Although the big events, like a baptism or the first Christmas, deserve all the photo coverage they receive, my favorites are the every day shots. I treasure the spontaneous moments that cry out for the camera, such as when his cheeks, lips and nose are covered with strawberry mess; or the face he makes after trying a new food; or when he’s sleeping with his little butt straight up in the air; or when he’s crawling on the floor and the dogs run the other direction; or when he’s screaming in the bathtub banging together toys; or when he has avocado stuck between his teeth; or when he’s passed out in his stroller after a long walk. These are the memory makers, and the good news is we have hundreds of images to preserve them.

Shortly after looking at all the photos on the computer, my wife, son and I went for a walk. On this particular Sunday morning, I was particularly looking forward to seeing what the little man thought of going down a sliding board. As soon as I mentioned this, my wife and I seemed to have the same thought – grab the camera. Actually, on second thought, she may have been thinking to herself, “there’s no way I am letting him go down a sliding board by himself.” For the record, we did it together, and I think I enjoyed it more than my son. The same went for his mom when she took him on a swing. That’s okay, it was the first time for both, and I can identify with his initial skepticism and overall lack of reaction.

By the time we returned home, we had some photos to add to the collection. I named this one, Beckett Slide And Swing. I was proud of us because it seems we are getting a grip on our snap happiness. There were only 22 photos. It’s a loose grip.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.