The pictures I’m not taking


 

Google Photos says I’ve taken over 2,000 pictures of the baby with my phone since she was born. There are pictures of her in her stroller, on the floor, in her Pack n Play, sleeping on our bed, in the bath. Every time I look through these pictures (every day, at least once), I am worried that I’m not taking enough pictures to track how big she’s growing, pictures that really reflect how everything is going in the moment.

I’m worried that there are not enough pictures of her with people who come to visit. I’m worried that there are not enough Pinterest-worthy pictures of her with various stuffed animals and with perfect onesies sitting in the same carefully-curated chair every month.  Actually, looking up those month-by-month pictures for this post is the first time I’ve been on Pinterest to look for baby stuff because I just have a panic attack that I’m not doing everything according to the pictures, not saving footprints, not making belly casts, not having the Perfect Motherhood Experience (tm.)

Even more important than pictures of the baby, I’m worried that I’m not taking enough pictures of how quickly everything in our house is changing. As an example, that’s our kitchen counter above. When we brought the baby home, there were tiny colostrum bottles, tiny formula samples, and tons of Medela pump bottles in the green dryer. A month in, there were only Medela bottles for milk and still tiny 2-oz bottles of formula. Then, the formula bottles changed because she didn’t like the original one she was drinking. A month later, the Medela 5-oz bottles were not enough since she was eating 8 oz at a time, and 8-oz Avent bottles made their way in. Around that time, we switched to formula and the milk bottles went away. This past week, we were cleared for solids by the doctor, so the latest addition is the box of baby cereal and spoons and baby food for her to try. I don’t have pictures of the countertop  in any of the stages before yesterday, but I so wish I did.

I am in a race against time, before time takes my baby away and all I have left is memories, and I’m worried that the memories I’m capturing are not enough.

I wish I had pictures of our living room. We started out with just a Pack n Play and a coffee table. Then we moved the infant sleeper out of the Pack n Play because she was too big for it, then we sold the coffee table, then we added a mat for her to crawl around on, then we sold and changed our our carpet because we didn’t want her crawling around on an old, dirty one.  Then, we moved the bookcase out from behind the couch so we could change her on it instead of in the Pack N Play. Then, we slowly replaced each section of our bookshelf with baby things.  Luckily, I have a few shots of that.

This is how it started:

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This is how it was a month ago:

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And this is how it is now, completely 100% overtaken by all of her things.

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I wish I had a picture of our bedroom.  First, her bassinet was next to our bed and her changing table was on our dresser the first week, that first, bleary, horrible week, where we were up every two to three hours and were afraid to go to sleep when she was asleep because we were afraid she would roll over somehow. Then, the changing table went to her room. Then, it went downstairs.

I wish I had a picture of her playmats. First, she played on a little one that we put on our couch. Not so much played as just lay there. Then, we put that mat on the floor as it got warmer. Then, we had to buy a larger playmat because she learned to roll over and was everywhere. Now, she has the playmat and her jumper, and they are taking over our living room and our sanity.

I wish I had a picture of our house at every stage of the baby process. But I don’t know how long each stage lasts, and the changes are so tiny that we don’t notice them on a day-to-day basis. And we are often too head-over-heels exhausted, wrung out physically and emotionally, to take pictures of stupid stuff like where the formula bottles are or if she’s wearing winter or summer hats.

When I read all of this in print, it seems like such tiny changes, such minuscule alterations in our household,  but for me, they are an entire world that mean my baby is growing, growing, growing, and changing, and that soon this four and a half month phase will turn into five months and then we’ll be planning her 1-year-old party and then our house will change again, and then maybe the bottles will all go away and all we’ll have is the high chair and jars and jars of food, and maybe the jumper will go away and all we’ll have is a little baby play area, and then her car seat will go in the basement and she’ll have a forward-facing one, and hundreds of mundane objects will change, just as we’re getting used to the way things are in the house now.

I’m still not enjoying every moment, no way, but I am keenly aware that even the ones that I don’t enjoy slip past me at lighting speed, like a roaring river,  and I can only hope to catch a couple of drops of foamy mist with my camera.