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20 Not-Obvious Photos Every Parent Should Take

I have an excellent source of Mommy crack. I can get it right off my computer, actually. It’s known as The Bazillion Snapshots I’ve Taken Of My Kids. Whenever I’m feeling burned out, I browse and get a bliss lift.

My children are 9 and 7. When they were little, I diligently ordered prints, arranged photo albums and made framed collages to hang on the walls—first year! Summer fun! But life took over and that fell off. Now my main fix is my iPhoto album, and even the countless photos it contains sometimes don’t feel like enough.

My husband teases me about the way I snap 50 shots of any given moment, but every photo I take of the kids—blurry, crooked, awkward—ends up being precious. The photos of big-deal events definitely stand out: holidays, birthday parties, first day of preschool, first tooth lost, school plays, violin recitals. It’s the everyday photos, though, that have turned out to be my all-time favorites. Snapshots that have captured the kids’ personalities, curiosity, exuberance and innocence, and let me worship at the altar of their cuteness again and again.

These 20 photos are especially memorable to me, the kind worth having in every photo album.


  • Your child, dressed in a sailor suit 1 of 22
    Your child, dressed in a sailor suit
    If nobody bought one for your baby boy, get one. Now. It's the clothing equivalent of Prozac, and you will not be able to save it for special occasions. No, you will regularly deck out your tot in it and take him for a walk, just because.
  • Your child, eating ice-cream 2 of 22
    Your child, eating ice-cream
    This is exactly what bliss looks like.
  • Your kids, doing errands with you 3 of 22
    Your kids, doing errands with you
    Right now, you want to tear your hair out when they whine "I waaaaaant that!" but someday you will appreciate how utterly adorable they looked in the shopping cart.
  • Your child, checking out her chubby bits 4 of 22
    Your child, checking out her chubby bits
    If there is one time in life when a pot belly is welcome, it's on a three-year-old.
  • Your child, seated in a favorite spot 5 of 22
    Your child, seated in a favorite spot
    Every fall, we take pictures of the kids on our front stoop. It's a great way to track how they grow from year to year, and a good excuse for buying a ridiculous amount of mums.
  • Your child, caught mid-sentence 6 of 22
    Your child, caught mid-sentence
    It captures your child's personality, and may later prove comforting when your child-turned-teen pretends you don't exist.
  • Your child, kissing someone new 7 of 22
    Your child, kissing someone new
    The sweetness is impossible to replicate; the Disney Cruise, optional.
  • Your child, crying 8 of 22
    Your child, crying
    Yes, this too will someday be precious to you, even if your child thinks you're Satan for whipping out your camera as she sobs her heart out.
  • Your kids, dressed in costume… 9 of 22
    Your kids, dressed in costume...
    ...just because. I ache for those days. (Shelling out $49 for an Ariel mermaid get-up: not so much.)
  • Your child, getting down and dirty 10 of 22
    Your child, getting down and dirty
    In actual dirt, sand, mud, whatever they're stooping or rolling around in.
  • Your child, sleeping 11 of 22
    Your child, sleeping
    Is there anything more angelic? Nope. (Note: May also come in handy for tracing the roots of your child's orthodontia needs.)
  • Your child, jumping 12 of 22
    Your child, jumping
    Very soon she will not listen if you ask "Could you jump? Wait, do it again! OK, almost got it, one more time!" as you indulge your inner pro photographer. So go on, ask.
  • Your child, with wet lashes 13 of 22
    Your child, with wet lashes
    Mascara ads have nothing on your little darling's lashes when they're wet. Shoot down from above.
  • Baby butt! 14 of 22
    Baby butt!
    Even better: baby butt in a wading pool.
  • Your child, deep in thought 15 of 22
    Your child, deep in thought
    I snapped this during my son's first Little League game. He's not one for commotion, so he was wary about stepping out onto the field. I got the money shot of him hitting the ball—but I love this photo because it reminds me of what it took to score that success.
  • Your child, sitting somewhere she shouldn’t be 16 of 22
    Your child, sitting somewhere she shouldn't be
    Here's my daughter hanging on our kitchen table, making like Martha Stewart. I've also got shots of her in the laundry basket, in the wire bin in the living room where we keep magazines and snuggled up on a kitty pad. Your kids will only be this size once; remember it.
  • Your child and her body double 17 of 22
    Your child and her body double
    I've always loved that my daughter and husband both have knees that go inward, and I finally got the shot on a recent vacation.
  • Your child, with pumpkins 18 of 22
    Your child, with pumpkins
    Delicious-ness guaranteed to last for all eternity. Seriously, you just can't mess up a pumpkin shot.
  • Your kids, loving each other up 19 of 22
    Your kids, loving each other up
    You've gotta be quick to capture a moment when they're not fighting but take heart, it is humanly possible.
  • Your child, playing 20 of 22
    Your child, playing
    You will never, ever have enough shots of your child at play. Don't hold back.
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Read more from Ellen at Love That Max

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More to read from 1000 Perplexing Things About Parenthood:

• National No Whining Day (And 9 Other Holidays Parents Deserve)
• 11 Totally Shameless Mom Habits
• The Weird Stuff We Love About Our Kids

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