I can’t tell you how often I have had this conversation.
An older stranger, usually a grandmotherly type, will come up to me, comment on how adorable my kids are, then warn me: “They grow up in the blink of an eye.” (Or something to that effect.)
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of taking care of kids, cleaning up after their messes, shuttling them from point A to point B. But when you take a step back, it’s astonishing how quickly they are changing month over month. Go back in facebook one year, two years, or more and look at pictures/videos of your kids. Shocking, right? So much has changed, even though it feels like hardly any time has gone by.
Have you ever wished life had a Pause button?
That you could just press pause and love on your kids with no obligations, no schedules, no time limit. Just stare at their tiny faces, squish their little cheeks, squeeze their tiny bodies in a giant hug, tickle them and wrestle with them …. and stop them from growing up, just for now.
When I think ahead to the teenage years and young adulthood, I get feelings of panic. How about you? Thinking of them being all grown up and not allowing me to smother them with love anymore … it gives me mini panic attacks. Obviously I want them to grow up — in due time. All I’m asking for is a slight time warp to keep them young longer.
I have a few recommendations for stopping time. Ready?
1. Take more videos and more pictures.
Even when their faces are messy or their outfits are incomplete. Capture them as they really are, in this moment. Get that iPhone out and capture the sound of their uninhibited giggles. Capture their unsteady walk and their goofy, exaggerated run. Capture an inpromptu dance party – then go join in. I sometimes even covertly video my kids when they are engrossed in their imaginative play – I love it when they fail to notice my sneaky phone recording their hilarious dialogue between two dolls (my kids always go into a high falsetto tone when voicing their toys, it’s pretty funny.)
2. Scan/photograph and save their artwork and projects.
Scanning works best, but in a pinch you can snap a quick iPhone photo using some soft window light. This is a scan of a picture my daughter drew on a rainy day. I love it so much, and you know the original has been stained with spilled juice or smeared with peanut butter and thrown out by now.
3. Write down the cute things they say and do.
I like to make a quick Facebook post when my kids do something particularly hilarious or cute. That way, when I make my annual Facebook Book (check out My Social Book for this purpose) all of these cute moments will be interspersed with pictures and other memories.
4. Hire a professional photographer at least once a year.
IPhone photos are fine for capturing those everyday moments, but they come with some pitfalls. Have you ever noticed that your kid looks different in each cell phone photo you snap of them? Cell phone cameras are equipped with wide angle lenses, which cause distortion when used for portraits close up. This causes the center of the face to seem larger and the sides of the head to fall away, making noses, or whatever is closest to the lens, appear larger than they really are. Photographs taken with a longer lens, like the type of lens used by a portrait photographer, won’t have this distortion, and your kids will look the way they do in real life.
Consider hiring a photographer to shoot an event, like a birthday party. You will be able to relax and enjoy the event, maybe even participate in the party yourself, and know that you will relive the event later through amazing photographs. This is also useful in the future, if your kid grows into an ungrateful teenager – you will be able to show him/her evidence of the epic birthday parties you threw. 😉