YouTube Baby Videos. By Babble’s Sam Apple.

I was a baby-filming junkie. No significant moment of my son Isaac’s first year went unrecorded. I filmed his first bath and his first taste of solid food. I was there, camcorder in hand, to document Isaac’s first steps and there again for the inaugural banging of his Light and Sound Drum. 

I don’t know where this video mania came from. I have no videos of my own first year and I am fairly certain that no one is pining for them. I have not once wondered about the scene of my first bath. I have no hidden longing to see footage of six-month-old self spitting up pureed peas.

But if the urge to take the videos surprised me, I was even more surprised to find myself watching them. Isaac suffered from colic during his first months and my wife Jennifer and I were so exhausted by his crying that we could hardly stand by the time we put him to sleep at night. And yet, in the two or three hours we had before Isaac was due to wake up screaming again, we would gaze at videos of him as though we had never seen anything so fascinating.

Isaac does almost nothing in these early videos, and no bit of this nothingness went unappreciated.

“Did you see the way the corner of his mouth sort of moved?!”

“I swear I think he’s starting to notice his mobile!”

We were masochists, hopelessly in love with our ten-pound tormentor. But our joy notwithstanding, our baby video addiction wasn’t without its stressful moments. Realizing how selfish it was to keep a three-minute clip of Isaac lying motionless on his changing table all to myself, I decided to put a few of the videos on YouTube.

Jennifer was concerned. “What if pedophiles watch the videos of him in his diaper?”

I tried to imagine how I’d feel if I learned pedophiles had naked videos of me as a baby. It didn’t seem so bad.

“As long as we don’t know about it, I don’t think it matters,” I said.

“It matters,” Jennifer said.

I looked into other options for sharing the videos, but the files were too large to email and using YouTube’s privacy setting would have created problems for my technology-challenged relatives.

Jennifer and I went back and forth until we arrived at a compromise. We would put the videos in a YouTube category the pedophiles would never search and tag them with non-baby words like “backgammon” and “potato salad.”

This seemed a fine solution but left us to debate which YouTube categories a pedophile would be least likely to explore. “Pets and Animals”? “Autos and Vehicles”? It was hard to know.

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