Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to create memories in the first year

Having kids is a joy and having kids to photograph is another type of joy! Well this is no proverb but something you learn when you become parents! All the  Anne Geddes cards and images just spring to mind and we begin thinking yes my kiddo is the cutest on the block and my am going to take such pictures n dress him/her like this etc etc! Then you realize you are pregnant and if not for morning sickness then swollen feet and puffy face sure make you realize okay am going to be out of this picture! :P Then the kid is born and the first look as memorable it might be its indeed miles apart from all the cute kids in pictures! Welcome to the unexpected! :)
Motherhood soon teaches us that the moments of capturing beautiful emotions and kids with smiling faces is such a small window of time that if you wish to actually do that, you better keep your camera ready at all times! N who is left with all that energy after a night long feeding n cooing session! But don't loose hearts new parents! Indeed pictures are just one way of creating memories of your precious bundle!
Here are a few more ideas to create memories!
Firstly let me tell you, that the idea is to capture this beautiful phase of life, and secondly its our gift to our older selves and to our grown up children! The pictures of their young lifetime!
Memories can often be captured in photographs, but are there any other ways? Lets explore them!
1. Photographs: Now a days the young one, within minutes of being born, feels the pain of a celebrity hounded by paparazzi! Just a frenzy to put the newest visitor of earth on social media! Hold on! No! Don't do that! This is the most intimate and private moment of the mother, the child and the father. Its a new life being born and a new family being born too! Let that magical moment be lived! Not merely relived through photos!Also avoid flash while photographing the child till the child has a steady eyesight, the flash can panic the child and be harmful to the child's eyes too!
What you can do as a new parent is, plan photography worthy moments, be it all the first festivals of the baby's first year of life or monthly birthdays or all Sundays in the first year of the new born! When the parents and the child is relaxed, in a comfortable atmosphere, let the mood of the baby decide what time will be good! Such long term projects often give us the flexibility and scope for innovation! But keep in mind the baby has to enjoy it as much as you do! Also such projects bring out the gradual changes happening in a baby in its first year! So than just clicking a random terabyte full of baby pictures, have a theme and work around it so you have some priceless captures to share when your baby grows up!
                                What you "wish" for....

                              What "might" just happen!! :P
2. Videos: An extension  of photography in a way! And so very different in many other ways! No these videos are not fodder for YouTube n likes but for your own memory! The first lullaby for the baby, the cooing or turning baby! The bath time routine! so many moments all waiting to be captured! Its indeed lovely to have a spontaneous collection of all these moments thanks to our new technological advancements!
3. Voice recording : This is very different from making Audiovisual snippets! If you have your mobile phone handy, young parents can always record the peculiar n repetitive sounds children tend to make! And as the months roll by there will be an audio dictionary of the child! All those first half made sounds to words to spontaneous songs and self made poems! Its a delight to listen to all of that and also make your child listen to it all! Try doing that!
4. Clay moulds : Baby fists all rolled up! holding their future n clasping on to mom's finger! Aren't they so adorable! There are DIY kits to make moulds of kids fists n tiny feet, invest in some such kit! that is such a visual treat for life! If you don't have access to ready made moulds, next best idea is making impressions in the salt dough! Tiny handprints n footprints all ready to be preserved for life! :)
5. Scrap book album: Make a lovely scrap book containing photographs and candid stories of the baby's childhood! when did the first tiny tooth erupt! when was the tummy turn n when was the first word uttered! a mix of dates, memories and smiling faces! Indeed a neat treat for all! Add a small denomination of money to be tucked behind every photograph, so when your baby is all grown up, some major milestone birthday it might be a gift! :)
6. Painting : If you or your friends are good at sketching or painting, you should get your baby's portrait or caricature done! It would be a cute memory indeed! Am still hoping to make a pencil shaded portrait of Baby A! Trust me its a good idea to outsource this task!
7. Keepsakes : The first pair of mittens, the first dress from mom n dad! Keep some firsts away, some shoes, toys n tiny bonnets! By the time your grandkids arrive, these turn treasures in themselves! :P Also a good lesson in culture and contemporary clothing! :P Recall those bonnets you wore as a baby n how you would never have your baby wear it! or something you wish you could get from your childhood closet for your baby! Also in Indian families we sure have valuable keepsakes in form of gold n silver jewelry too! All that is also such powerful memory makers!
8. Letters to the baby: Well in this age n day of emails and social media, who writes letters, well not really those in long hand! Though am all game for old fashioned letters! But yes maybe some jottings of memory or something you so wish to share with the baby but the baby sure won't make any sense of what you are saying! So you wish the baby was an adult to understand you, your fears or joys! well go on, write notes, or letters to this little kid here for the adult that is coming up soon in your life sometime in the future! :) No its not the Kuch Kuch hota hai blooper! 8 letters to the girl! Pray how she read the first 5 letters as a baby! :P
9. Traditional memory triggers: Okay don't freak out, these are not my endorsed ideas but i know people do keep many memory triggers, like the part of the umbilical cord, the first lock of the baby's cut hair etc. If you want to, you can! But yes its an interesting yet little odd seeming way of preserving memory!
10. Plant a sapling : If you love your child and wish a lovely green future for him/her, why not plant a tree in commemoration of his/her being in your life! Each birthday can mean more trees! And this can be a yearly activity which your child will enjoy and also understand the importance of nature as he/she grows up!
There sure will be more ways of preserving memories of your children! Go ahead add some more from your list and keep creating memories! Each day holds so many of them! Don't let routines, fatigue and boredom hold you back! there is a lot of preservation work to do! Pickle the cutest memory today! :) Savor it in the years to come!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ten things your children teach you!

Being the super crazy n meticulous person that i am, i am always planning ahead, thinking ahead and always trying to be right! When it came to motherhood; my approach was no different! Even before baby A was born i had read up about toddler discipline etc! but then came Baby A and before i knew it every plan of mine was turned on its head! the planning flew out of the window and all my meticulousness just huffed and puffed n blew away!!
But in due course of motherhood, things returned to some normalcy and soon i was back to making lists, jotting down things and planning ahead!
So here is one more list i made! well its different! this is a cute little list of ten things Baby A taught me!
1.Never cease to wonder: Be it falling leaves, pitter patter of the raindrops or mom's hairbrush! Everything is so different, unique and amazing! It demands curious attention and wonderment! Don't Google the weather, just look out of the window n if it rains just get up, get drenched n smile! Each object, person or the tiniest bit or scrap around our homes suddenly are all wonderful objects awaiting eager exploration!
2. Never stop learning: Ever watched a child learning to turn on its tummy? or trying to grab something or learning to walk?As many false starts later they still try again with amazing enthusiasm and single minded focus! Now that is what we need to recall from our childhood n use it in adulthood too! Also each new word, each new sound and the numerous times the children ask about some things...why n how we forget this gift, each one of us has deep within us?
3. Its OK to cry n go back to laughing even before your tears dry out: Venting emotions or rather letting each emotion colour us in its unique colour! What a wonderful palette we have been endowed with! N its rich and vibrant and we must put it to use! So laugh a little louder and cry a little more! there is joy in it!
4.Things should not always be held and used only as intended: How do you use a cooking pan? of course to cook but what about the pan being a drum to play some music? How do you use a comb? Of course to comb your hair! but what if you were to use it as a mock mobile phone?Just observe kids and you will find so many such funny, innovative and interesting uses of things you thought were banal and boring! Go ahead and explore!
5.Mess n chaos-learn to embrace them! : Imagine a botched up presentation, juniors on leave and boss literally glaring down at you! Nah! too stressful! Now imagine a broken toy, guests arriving in five minutes and Mom glaring down at a kid! what will the kid do? Of course just smile and be himself/herself! All the guests are cuddling up your cute (not so cute with the broken toy) bundle of joy! n no one quite notices the toy! Well one cannot simply appear cute to the boss or clients but then we can all learn to embrace the chaos and mess, can we not?

6.Wearing pink over green or purple with big yellow dots makes you look cute (or so you should believe n behave): Remember when we spend hours fretting over the right shade of lipgloss or a slightly mismatched sock?Come on sometimes its ok to be a little crazy and just enjoy each living moment, cause tomorrow you might not recall what clothes you wore, just how much fun you had! So go ahead and believe you are the cutest kid on the block n smile your best smile!
7.Eat sleep exercise n start over again!: Children totally teach us a thing or two about the energy we possess for each day! They totally keep it moving, running around the house, climbing places and of course jumping to get rid of extra energy and then eating n sleeping to regain every bit of energy! Am sure we adults have something to learn in here! :)
8.Gravity is a friend n foe but never fail to get up after a fall!: Notice a child climbing some place and falling off the perch and then crying a bit but getting back to doing the same thing again?Earlier it used to vex me, why should a child venture the place where she got hurt? But now i realize it in fact has a lesson in store for me! We take gravity so much for granted! But hey try free falling to earth or on bed! its fun, its crazy and yes its Gravity! :) But always! ALWAYS get up again n continue your play!
9.Double chins, rotund bellies, disheveled hair n one smashing smile! Wear them all with joy! : Fretting over body shapes, sizes and what not!Relax! Notice how comfortable a child is in her skin?Totally not bothered about complexion, bruises, iris colour or bad hair days! People who love you will love you anyway! Then why bother! Isn't that so simple yet true!
10.You may get mad at some things in life but each day is a brand new adventure!: You put a dog's tail through a pipe but it remained all curled up once you removed the pipe! You tried getting as tall as daddy wearing mommy's heels n smashed your face! Arrghhh life! n not to mention soggy diapers!!! Well life isn't always kind to even kids! They get mad at life too! but hey! They all bounce back! with more enthusiasm, eagerness and earnest to explore each day! To live each moment as it arrives! Am sure that we need to keep this learning with us beyond toddler hood and well into adulthood too!
11. Smile at anyone who is yelling at you and give them a hug! : Okay this is no. 11 Take it as a bonus! Try yelling at a child, the child will pout, try looking at you and eventually decide that a smile n hug is what you need! Its so annoying when you are angry! but then its so adorable! and admirable! Next time a big fight breaks out between you n your better half, try it! am sure it will work! :)
Innocence is not a childhood trait, feeling joyous is not relegated to childhood and pretense of seriousness won't last us long! I think we all get children in our lives, when we have forgotten what it means to be alive, to be innocent, to live life to its fullest! So comes along a teacher, in form of our own teach us that life is indeed beautiful!