The wild child. Many of us have one. For me, it is my third baby, Aiden. I was spoiled with the first two. They were the babies that would sit and look at books all day, or play puzzles and flash cards. My oldest son, in fact, was enamored by flash cards. To that point, I have videos of him recognizing most of the alphabet at 18 months old. He was focused, and quiet, and calm. He loved to snuggle and watch a movie.
My daughter, (bless her little middle child heart) was more active, but not “wild”. She walked fairly early, was a little more adventurous, and definitely more social. She would smile at anyone in a store, and still does. She was never a climber or dare devil though. When I took out my camera, she would pose and sit in her prop, just as I asked, even at an early age. Silly me, I thought I made easy babies.
Flash forward to my third baby, Aiden. This kid is known as a monster in our home. I mean seriously, we call him Monster. From the minute he could move, he destroyed. No matter what is in his path he will dive bomb, climb, step on, obliterate, or throw it. He has no boundaries. Life with Aiden is like watching someone walk a tight rope, 24 hours a day. Partially, I feel bad for him because at least 100 times a day he hears “No, Aiden!” from someone in our household. But mostly, I feel bad for me because he is aging me ever so quickly with his dangerous stunts.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my wild child. He makes life interesting for sure. He has the sweetest smile, and most outgoing personality. He flirts with everyone, and even grins while being yelled at (part of the frustration). So we wait, and hope, and pray that he makes it to the stage where he outgrows the climbing, or at least until he understands what “time out” means.
My point in telling you all of this is that I know what it is like to parent a wild child. So when you bring me your wild toddler, the one that won’t sit still, do not stress. Do not think I am judging you, or that I am frustrated, or that I am expecting anything else from that energetic little munchkin. I get it. I get you, and your day-to-day. I know you just want a nice smiling photo of your sweet baby. One you probably cannot capture yourself with all the wild going on in your home.
So how do we make this happen? Here are my suggestions from a someone who has grabbed the shot of even the most wild of children.
- First, take a breath. The more anxiety you have, the more you threaten, the more you worry, the worse it is. They can sense your feelings.
- Help me wrangle. The longer I can be behind the camera, ready for action, the better. If I am chasing baby, I am likely not holding that camera up to grab the one smile they shoot me, as they scramble off the chair and bolt for the door.
- Laugh with us! Wild children like to be funny. They think they are funny, so let’s laugh with them.
- The addition of props and toys is sometimes the only way to keep your little one on set, but I can work with that! Bring along something you don’t mind having in the photos as a last resort, or let me offer something from my studio.
Just know that I am fast with the camera, and well equipped to move with your toddler. This is what I do after all, not only when I am at work, but also right here at home, where I am currently manhandling a marker out of Aiden’s mouth. It’s true. He eats markers.