As my years as a parent grow, I tirelessly and heroically spend many hours documenting my offspring's every move. Having been through the toddler stage once already and now re-running that again (oh joy), I was blasted back into the reality of toddler photography.
Gone are the placid lumps of baba-flesh you could place on the floor and fake sneeze at to produce an almighty toothless grin. Beautifully artistic shots with baby draped over fluffy cushions, snuggled in baskets and basically just being calm are firmly in the past. An ethereal mother Earth pose whilst cuddling the sweet fruit of your womb? You'll be lucky.
So after much research and practice, i bring you the 7 pitfalls of toddler
1) Wearing something funny but refusing to show it.
We all like to force our children into wearing stuff we find hilarious so we can point and laugh at them, then show our friends who will also point and laugh at them. Unfortunately in most cases, the toddler refuses to go
along with this amazing idea and instead ruins every attempt of a photo
opportunity by removing said item or distracting the photographer with wails of 'DON'T LIKE IT!'. How inconsiderate.
2) Looking cute but gross with dirt.
Don't get this confused with uber cute photos of babies covered head to toe in homemade pasta sauce or smeared with their first try of yoghurt. I'm talking about the toddler who has been avoiding the mummy wet wipe attack for a few hours and just looks a bit, well, rank.
3) Refusing to look anywhere near the camera.
So you're in a gorgeous photogenic setting, toddler is happy, you're all charged up... you just want a smile to the camera..? Nope. Ok, an acknowledgement? A whiff of interest in what you're trying to do? Not a chance. It's incomprehensible to understand why the toddler won't take their eyes off of the gorgeous leaves surrounding them, or the party of older kids playing football, or the snow they've never ever seen before and just LOOK at the camera. What's up with that?!
4) The blur.
Remember the time you'd put your baby on a mat on the floor and they'd stay there for, like, an hour? I mean they might try and roll over or spew up a little but they'd pretty much be stationary until they decide it's booby/bottle time or just fancy a bit of a snuggle. Not so with the toddler. You spend months willing the baba-flesh to rock, crawl and eventually walk yet when they do, the days of posed photos disappear like Mr Tumble's Spotty Bag, in their place a hazed ghostly image of fuzzy frenzy. Not so great for the A3 canvas.
5) The incredible sulk.
A part of parenting is showing other parents how happy your kids are compared to everyone else's. It's also about showing how enriched your life is with these amazing creatures of happiness and pure wonder in it. In front of the camera, they have other ideas. Distain, Indifference and full on dislike of any situation are emotions that come easy for the toddler caught on film. C'mon kids, ready? 1, 2, 3, SMILE?!
6) So hung over.
This one comes with a smattering of fear for what the future holds. Babies sleeping look angelic. Weeny little souls drifting in and out of
dreams about shapes, colours and love. Now look at your toddler sleeping. It's a mini version of yourself after that office party and Doner Kebab (no salad, chili sauce) on the way home a few years back. Remember? When you found your pants in the... yeah. We won't go there.
7) Looking a bit ugly.
We all know our kids are the most beautiful things to have walked the Earth. They came from us, so they must have super awesome genes,
right? Gazing into your baby's slightly wrinkled face, big wide eyes and dribbly smile is one of the best things in the world. So easy to capture every gorgeous expression, every new smile fills your heart with love. By the time the toddler comes around, things change. Sometimes, just sometimes, they can look a tiny bit ugly. Totally not all the time, though. It's a bit like when you open your phone camera to snap a photo and you're unexpectedly on rear-facing cam. Ain't no one wanting to see THAT.
As well as all of the above, toddler photography also has one more point. Brilliance.
All of these things being captured are starting to build up their little personalities, which will shape them into the wonderful people they become. Placid lumps of baba-flesh are easier to grab a striking image from but toddlers are bloomin' amazing, and they show it in every way. My tongue is firmly wedged in my cheek writing this post of course, we do need to put the cameras and social media updates away a little but it's also great fun to capture all of these moments too. Plus, out of the many 1-7 pitfall photos you snap of your wonderful, crazy, manic, emotional toddlers, there will always be the ones that are pure gold.
Who is Julie?
30 something, mother of two gorgeous boys, lover of one gorgeous husband, perpetually living in a dream world full of wine, chocolate and artsy crafty things.