A brief look at yesterday’s Remy-Anselm Hour.
disclaimer: This post was originally written about three weeks ago during a trip to florida. There are no seagulls in Marietta, but there are ferns, with fairies in them.
With me here are three boys all devoted to their particular interests: the oldest is engaged in repeatedly pouring sand onto the concrete patio and smoothing it with a steamroller to make a road; the middle son has stripped off all his clothes and is sitting quietly in a wading pool filled with water that is probably too cold even for me to brave; the youngest is sitting next to a container of small toys which he pulls out one at a time, inspects, tastes, then throws aside before moving on the next. As he works, he squeals quietly to himself—it’s his way of carrying on a conversation. He’s the first of the boys to do that.
There’s been very little variance in the weather since we’ve returned home; every day has greeted us with the same grey, dismal, rainy, slightly clammy climate. I’ve been gone for the majority of the past six weeks in some sort of never-ending road trip (and I’m sort of wishing I were headed off someplace again.) Sometimes I have to remind myself that the weather here is not always like this.
The lovely part of the dismal days is how the greyness pairs with the newly-sprung-green of the leaves. The dreary weather can’t mute that shade of green. It only augments it.
If the month of April has made a ritual of endless rain (April showers and all) then my answer has been this: to come down the stairs to a darkened room, to light a candle, to turn on Timbre’s Moon disc to the first track (listen to it here), to turn on the water for coffee, and to just dwell on the windowpane-framed view of the backyard, overcast, the deep browns and greys overcome by almost flourescent green.
Maybe there should be more to a post than this. Frequently I err on the side of “no one cares to know” concerning these small moments in the day. They are more felt than factual; they are difficult to describe. But today, I shrugged off the misgivings and took pictures instead. It’s my ritual.
Is anyone not fascinated by the ocean? Our oldest boys have both adored the water from infancy. (Anselm is not impressed, but he’ll come around.)
I chose to bring my Lensbaby Composer (which permanently has the star aperture disc in it) knowing it would make beautiful use of the sun glinting off the water. I truly believe that lens (and aperture disc) was created expressly for the purpose of photographing children; everything is magical for them, and nothing so magical as the ocean. The stars are extremely appropriate. It’s like getting a little photographic glimpse into their worldview.
I’ve been having lots of thoughts about the ocean lately–ones that deserve a whole (lengthy, wordy) post of their own–and so watching my children interact with the sea has been a very reflective exercise for me. It’s also why I am always compelled to photograph them there.
But back to the Lensbaby: the lens really frustrated me when I first got it, because getting things truly in focus is just difficult. This perplexed and irritated my perfectionist side (which is always hyper-aware of critiques from the types I like to call the Photography Elite, whose habits I don’t have to go into detail about.) It took me a while to get over that and realize that its imperfection (if you can call it that) is kind of the point. I love it now for the dreamy, unfocused quality it brings. There is such thing as too much realism.
Anselm Ioan turned thirteen months yesterday, and I did something I have never done before in my entire career as a mother…
I mean I actually just remembered. He’s thirteen months! It happened yesterday. Fortunately I did take pictures of him yesterday–and except for my compulsive desire to be honest, I could have completely pretended that they were intentionally his thirteen-month-pictures. But now you know the truth.
Knowledge is power.
Our Mr. Mo is thirteen months. He’s getting around pretty well by army crawling, which means all of his clothes bear the tell-tale signs of a scooter: great long smears of grime across his belly and his forearms. It’s been a difficult transition for me; having late movers lulls you into this false state of confidence at being able to sit your baby down and come back several minutes later to find them in exactly the same spot. It’s as if you convince yourself that you have trained them that way. It is most unsettling, therefore, to have to wonder to yourself where on earth that baby is that you just set down next to an inviting pile of toys. Add to that the fact that’s very, very quiet…! The fact is that he’s gone from being an oversized paperweight to a baby ninja. He is very pleased with himself for being able to covertly clamber across a room and disappear before you know he’s gone.
He is pleased with himself for a great many things, actually. Being charming is certainly high on the list. He seems to be hyper-aware of the fact and uses it to his great advantage, like disarming grown-ups who are irritated at him for throwing his milk cup off the high chair again. I can’t quite get it across to him that that does not work. Much.
He also takes great pride in his conversational squealy-sounds that he makes in lieu of babbling. Oh, he does babble–and says a few words, when he wants to–but most of the time he resorts to just making those loopy, noodle-y, wheeling squeals that don’t seem to serve much purpose except to express a sort of delirious pleasure at whatever is capturing his attention.
He is unfortunately following Ephraim’s habits in regards to eating, which meant he loved to eat anything and everything until the one day that he didn’t like anything anymore. He does, however, like to suck the milk out of mini-wheats and is a pretty big fan of ham and beans (!?!) but I seem to have managed to birth a child that doesn’t like fruit AT ALL, and if not for the fact that he had those unmistakeable stork bites as a baby I might be concerned that the hospital switched babies on us.
We’re coming to the end of the adorable one-tooth-wonder era. (Well, one tooth on the top.) Three more top teeth are poking through as we speak. Er, read?
Happy Thirteen Months, Mr. Mo.
I don’t always make split-second decisions, but when I do, I pack suitcases for myself and my three boys and plan a road trip for the next day.
A couple of weeks ago I learned a friend of mine would be filming a music video in the run-down, sad old house across the street from the house I grew up in. I expressed a sadness that I could not be there (I had no good reason to be there, besides just being nosy and wanting to see how everything turned out). Jeremy asked me why I couldn’t just go. So after double-checking with my parents, packing, and trying to clean up the house a little, I left as planned the following morning for Kentucky. It’s a drive that should be about 5.5 hours, though when you have three littles four-and-under in tow, it ends up being more like 7.5.
It occurred to me only the morning of the shoot to offer to take some pictures (and thus transform my presence from Nosy Onlooker to Official Photographer.)
Beyond just being Actually Useful, it was a really beautiful day. I had heard the song the video would be for for the first time in the car a couple of days previously. It made me cry. And it made me speed. And when it was done, Clive quietly asked, “I hear it again, Mama?’ Timbre really has a gift for making incredibly beautiful music. If you haven’t heard her yet, you are really, really missing out.
It was a joy to be practicing my craft in an environment with so many very, very artistic and talented people doing what they do best. After a difficult few weeks, that was a breath of fresh air.
We celebrated Anselm’s first birthday during a trip to Florida earlier last month. I headed down while Jeremy was busy chaperoning a school trip since the trip would mean he would be out of down for this milestone birthday. I wanted to be able to celebrate his day with family.
On his birthday proper we had a picnic in a park, but a few days later (after Jeremy was able to join us) we had a real party with all the good stuff, like cake and frisbees and cake and playgrounds and cake and family. And cake.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Son.