Random Theories

Posting theories on the internet can be dangerous business.  Come up with an idea, do an unscientific poll of your workplace or Facebook friends, post the results as fact and people buy it.  Heck, if you have a good title, some people won’t even ask for proof.  Baby carrots, vaccines, infant sleep, nothing is immune.

I have this theory.  I am my own test group.  It goes like this: the gravitational pull of certain objects is enhanced by cleanliness.  For example: you wash your kitchen floor and inexplicably you spill peanut butter and oatmeal and a full cup of tea all over it.  Or, you put on a clean shirt and everything on your plate falls on it.  Clean cars are more highly subject to flying mud splatter; new cars to hailstones.

I have another theory:  mothers of newborns may make promises they intend to keep but can’t.  For example, we may publicly state that we’ll have a blog post up the following day and three weeks may go by without so much as logging in.  My solution, avoid specificity at all costs.  The word forthcoming is far superior to tomorrow.  It carries more literary weight, don’t you think?  So even though I’ve started another post for today tomorrow some day, I will say there is a new post forthcoming on a hard-to-navigate topic.

And since today is apparently the day for all things random, I leave you with this–my theory on practical floor washing instructions for families at various stages.

For the family without (small) children

hand wash

 

For the family with small children

spot clean

For the family with a newborn

do not wash

P.S. Anyone know the symbol for spot cleaning??

P.P.S  I did wash my floors yesterday.  I promise.  Well, the kitchen one at least.  The kids flooded washed the bathroom floor tonight with their bath.

P.P.P.S And if I told you my 6 year-old did the graphics for me, you’d probably believe me, wouldn’t you?

Advertisements

An Amateur’s Guide To Photographing Newborns Like A Pro

IMG_8300Congratulations!  You have just welcomed a brand new baby, a precious gift from heaven.  Understandably you want to capture the moment, the fleeting smallness.  Yet newborn photo sessions and prints can set you back hundreds of dollars if you choose a pro with a good reputation.  With all the money you are dishing out on diapers and baby gear and RESPs, the thought of coughing up another $500 can make you want to run back to the hospital and get an epidural.

So what’s a parent to do?  Take your own photos!  This guide for amateurs will walk you through how to take professional style photos of your precious little one.  Today we’ll outline what to expect in a photo shoot.  Tomorrow we’ll cover a list of tips to ensure your photo shoot is a success.

IMG_8385Block off at least two afternoons of precious napping time.  Instead of doing something pressing such as showering, iron a black sheet.  Feed the baby.  Drape the sheet over some chairs and use hair clips to secure it.  Better yet, tape it to the fridge while ignoring the lunch dishes that are still on the counter.  Next dump your children’s books out of the basket in the living room and spread the books all over the floor.  Feed the baby again.  While you are feeding the baby, browse Pinterest and YouTube for inspiration.

When the baby is well fed, stripped down and sleeping, take some test pictures. The lighting should be too bright.  Now your living room is a mess and you have no photos.  You are right on track.

IMG_8166

Move half the mess to your bedroom and try there.  The lighting will be too dark. Feed and redress your baby.  While you do this, upload the test pictures.  Delete them all.  This is your first day’s task.

IMG_8165
On the second day, get started sooner.  The lighting should be perfect.  Strip the baby down and get him into position.  Just as you are ready to take the first shot, he should pee all over everything.  End the photo shoot.  Throw in a load of laundry.  Feed your baby.  While you are feeding your baby, browse Pinterest longingly.  Check your bank account balance.  On your way to change the baby’s diapers, trip over the pile of books.  Put them all back in the basket.  You have successfully completed your tasks for Day 2.

On the third day, decide to take a nap. On this afternoon, your baby will, after 5 minutes, decide not to nap.  You will get neither rest nor photos, except for one of an empty basket.  Listen to lullabies on YouTube and eat more banana bread than you’ll admit to.
IMG_8242

On the fourth day day, pull the sheet out of the dryer.  Don’t bother ironing it.  Change your mind and use another wrinkled blanket instead.  Dump the books out of the basket again.  Take about 500 frames of three poses.  When the baby is feeding, upload the pictures.  They should look decent except for the wrinkled background, which, when combined with your ineptitude in Photoshop (and the fact that you don’t even have Photoshop) effectively renders them useless.  Throw them all in the trash.  Leave the books on the floor so that when unexpected company drops by, they think you’ve been stimulating your infant’s cognitive development instead of dragging him half-naked all over the house for days on end with nary a photo to show for it.

IMG_8276

On the fifth day, pull some of the photos out of your trash bin and write a satirical blog post on newborn photography.  You will feel better about yourself until you remember you need to send out birth announcements.  Then go book a professional photo shoot.

Notes Part 2: Immersion

This post is a part two in a slightly quirky series on what we learn about life and pain from the lens of labour.  If you missed the first post, you can find it here.

No-Peeing-In-Pool-Sign-S-8748I’m not a big water person.  The pool and I don’t get along.  I have a hard time getting past the ick factor of pool floors, kids peeing and everyone in bathing suits.  Lakes fare slightly better but carrying the sand in every crevice where algae is not is problematic.  Hot baths, however, in your own nicely disinfected tub get the thumbs up.

When I finally made my way to the hospital, 17 hours into labour, and was offered a Jacuzzi bath, I thought I’d give it a try.  The big signs posted on the bathroom wall about the disinfecting process (which involved a whole lot of bleach) reassured me.

The distraction of the jets really helped me cope with the pain.  Occasionally the nurses would pop their heads in and remind me that no, I could not deliver in the tub.  I stayed in for hours until my fingers and toes were as wrinkled as my baby’s when he was born.

It was a good reminder to me of the importance of looking outside ourselves.  In our pain we can be so consumed by it that we burrow inward.  When we expose ourselves to the forces and currents outside of ourselves, the good and the hard, we become aware of how much is moving beyond the stillness of our pain.  When we immerse ourselves in a world that is fluid and constantly changing, we are reminded of just how small we are in a great big world and just how small and temporal our own problems are in the face of the suffering of many.