This post will not contain any pictures.
It’s not because I have an overprotective mama complex about posting pictures of my child on the Internet. If you’re my Facebook friend, you well know that I tend to bombard the social media world with pictures of my darling offspring.
No, this post won’t contain any pictures as a nod to the fact that my almost-four-year-old REFUSES to let me take his picture.
Some kids see a camera and start hamming it up. My baby, Mr. Camera Shy’s little brother, is one of them — at least for now. In fact, until my little man got good at expressing his own opinion about what he wants and doesn’t, I naively believed all kids love to put on a show for the camera. He’s certainly not shy in person. Visit our house, and you’ll be treated to my preschooler prancing around, showing off in his most not-even-a-little-humble fashion. (Mama Librarian side note: this kid is most definitely a Gryffindor.)
Generally, my firstborn’s hatred of being photographed isn’t a huge problem. I’ve gotten good at snapping candid images on the sly, and redirecting when it seems he’s just about to glance up and realize he’s being documented.
But sometimes it becomes an issue. This summer, for instance. We took our annual extended-family vacation to the beach, just after Baby #2 arrived. My parents had arranged for a professional photographer to take pictures of the whole family. Great idea — until my kid decided he wanted nothing to do with sitting still for one hot second so we could take a family picture. The best shots we got from that day are a shot of my wife chasing him through the sand and waves, and a whole-group posed shot where he looks slightly annoyed. Meanwhile, his photogenic cousins sat and smiled angelically for the entire session.
It was the same thing with his little brother’s newborn shoot. To look at those pictures, you’d think we only had one kid, because big brother appears in only two shots out of the entire session. And he’s only smiling because we position the iPad with “Paw Patrol” playing on it right next to the photographer.
Cut to this past weekend, when we went to see Santa. This is the first year that our big boy has had a really thorough understanding of what Santa and Christmas mean (I mean the superficial, presents part of Christmas — we’re still working on the religious aspect.) He’d been looking forward to seeing Santa for WEEKS — basically since the moment we finished Thanksgiving dinner — and even did an outstanding job waiting in line. Then, I made the mistake of mentioning that I wanted to take his picture with Santa.
Cue the waterworks.
Fortunately, we came around the corner in line just then and he finally caught a glimpse of the Man in Red, and all his excitement came back. That was a close one. When we got up there, he sat happily on Santa’s lap, and my wife — who has truly perfected the art of being quick on the camera button — snapped a couple good shots (including one of the baby eating Santa’s beard — but that’s really not the point here.)
I hate that my kid hates being photographed, but I’m starting to come to peace with it. He’s adorable, and as much as I would love to share his cuteness with the world, it seems that — for the time being, at least — he’s not interested in being documented on camera. And as I’ve started worrying less about catching every little thing he does on film, I’ve been able to really enjoy the quality time we spend together as a family.
So, while I’d love to share oodles of pictures of our Christmas morning and winter break festivities, my dear Facebook friends probably won’t see as many of them this year. And that’s just fine. I’ll be enjoying the moment with my son, taking mental pictures that will last a lifetime.