Violet is six now and she’s the sweetest, coolest little girl in the world. But lately, she is torturing me in a way that I never saw coming.
Over the past year or so, she has begun to basically refuse me taking her photograph. And it is KILLING ME!!! The other day I was looking at my Instagram page, admiring all the pretty cool/funny/heartfelt pics I have on there of my three kids, when it dawned on me that most of them are of my sons, Henry (4), and Charlie (1). Up until the time she was about five, Violet was the star of billions of pictures her mom and I both took of her. Like any modern proud parent, we were constantly snapping away at our first-born.
There’s Violet playing in the leaves. There’s Violet eating a taco. There’s Violet heading in to her first day of Pre-K. There’s Violet sleeping in her damn bed!!!
The jig is up, I guess. These days, as soon as I even attempt to point my iPhone in Violet’s direction, she bolts like a frightened deer. Or like a criminal who really doesn’t need the hassle of a WANTED poster with a current head shot of them hanging around town, you know? And it is making me insane!
I’ve tried to understand the psychology of it. Was I taking her photo at times that interrupted her day? Or that might be making her uncomfortable somehow? The answers are always “No.” We might be at the public pool in the summer time and I’m snapping away at my sons, but as soon as I try and sneak (it’s come to sneaking) a shot of my daughter, she would rather exit the pool and run straight away into a field of wasps and bees than let me take her picture.
So, naturally, I’ve given Violet my whole spiel about how there will come a day when she will want to show her own kids photos of her when she was a little six-year-old missing a bunch of her teeth but still smiling with happiness and joy and blah blah blah. But she doesn’t really seem concerned with my reasoning. She seems concerned with me shutting up about my reasoning. Oh, THAT, she seems concerned about. But as far as convincing her that my photos will one day come in handy for her too, well … no dice.
So, after all this confusion and frustration, what’s a dad to do? I have this burning desire to capture my kids in digital memory as well in my real mind. I just do. I understand that that’s not for everyone, but who cares? I like taking pics of my kids, I dig trying to capture the essence of their lives specifically. And also, in a more general way, I really like trying to and bottle the magic of childhood in general every now and then. I mean, you can take a thousand pics and only one or two of them might turn out just right, just epic enough to make you so proud that you captured it. But I like that challenge. And I’m in love with the results, no matter how hard they are to come by. A magical, special picture of your kids that you took yourself, how can that be a bad thing, right?
I get bummed sometimes when it comes to this past year and why I don’t have nearly enough Violet pics. But I’m starting to understand what’s up, I think.
See, when she flees the camera phone, she isn’t mad ever. She doesn’t holler at me or beg me to stop. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When I try and take Violet’s picture, she runs away. And laughs the whole time she’s doing it.
It’s become a game for her. It’s fun. It’s a hoot.
That leaves me in the lurch, I guess. On one hand, I’m missing out on some pretty great shots of the most important little lady in my world and I know it. BUT. At the same time, I’m making her laugh now more than ever before just by trying to get her to stand still, or to smile, or to just be in the same zip code as me and my camera.
I’ve invented a game for my daughter without even trying.
And it is a game she will likely outgrow, so I might as well just ride it out, huh? She’ll come around eventually. Maybe I’ll save my loot and rent a billboard and stick up a massive cool shot of Henry and Charlie looking out over the highway. Oh, I know Violet! She’ll come around to getting her picture taken then. Oh yes she will! She’ll take one look at that billboard and she’ll be all over me to put her up on a billboard too.
But that’s gonna cost me a kidney or 50 pawn shop visits, isn’t it?
Man, this parenting thing can really make you nuts sometimes.