Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Self Portraits

That's Z on the top there, and N mugging (it's a genetic thing.)

I mentioned in a previous post that I now had access to all the pictures the boys have taken with their Fisher-Price cameras.  (Well, that's not really true, when Marci downloads them to the computer she deletes some things, like say forty-four pictures of a Clifford episode on PBS, or N mugging for Z, both equally disarming I might add.)

Amidst the astonishingly eclectic array of subject matter, two recurring themes become evident; portraits and the things they cherish.  Besides that it's mostly just really weird shit.

I don't endorse or recommend things very often, but, I will say this to parents of toddlers and beyond:  get them a camera.  It is a fantastic lens outward for them and inward for you.  It's gives you a brief sense of what it must be like in their heads.  For example, I notice the angle is often up, the way they go through life.  There's another bit of advice I would give, kneel or bend down to talk to your children, any kid really, it means a lot to them.

They make a new generation of kid's cameras that are a little more sophisticated and also make short videos.  That might have been pretty cool for N and Z, but somewhere, deep inside me, I suspect it may have led to some serious dumbfu**ery, you know, of the jumping off the shed variety, so I am sort of glad that we didn't get those.  Although it would be nice to capture their voices, the tone and timbre of their own natural speech.

I guess, even though there are pictures of each other and themselves in their shots, it is the subjects they choose to capture that seem to really color the self portrait they are in the midst of painting for themselves.  As parents we get to watch our children build themselves, sure we add water and nutrients, but, it is their minds that are reaching out and weaving within, their minds deciding where to conclude, what to love, where to put themselves, where to hang their portrait to dry when they are finished.  It is an amazing and beautiful  process to watch if you just try to remember to look at them self-creating.  I find that watching them change and grow makes me want to as well, why should they have all that fun growing up as I sit idly by and watch?  I choose to grow with them.

Marci and I always say we are jealous of the boys reading a favorite book of ours for the first time, or a favorite symphony or movie.  But watching them do those things for the first time is priceless.  In a song I wrote for the boys when they were very young I said:  "I'll watch you watch the setting moon."  I guess I sensed, even then, that although I know how beautiful a setting moon can be, the more intense beauty is in the face of the child seeing it for the first time.

From Marci's '...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat...'

"Wanna play whack the lemon?"

Yes, yes I do... 

(You can hear the whole song by clicking on "A song for my boys on YouTube" on your right up there, I'm pointing as though that would help.)

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