Tag Archives: photography

New Year

What does the first day of your New Year look like?

In the wee small hours of this morning, it looked like this.

During the HOURS we spent tidying up and getting ready to officially move today, it looked like this:

Later on, when we were walking in Stratford, it looked more like this.

And this evening, it looked like this:

As you can see, I’m doing rather well with my New Year’s Resolution: take lots of photos!

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Food Glorious Food

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Here’s a belated post about my insight of 2009: it should have been written two days ago, but we are staying at the in-laws’ and I’m forced to be sociable and away from the computer.

David is a fussy eater.

Let me clarify that.  David eats four things: garlic bread, sausages, chocolate buttons, and Ella’s Kitchen fruit pouches.  David will not touch fresh fruit or vegetables, never mind put them in his mouth: they might bite back!  Rice?  Pasta?  Anything that might be served with a sauce or have a sauce touch it?  No way.  (Yep, he’s his mother’s son!)

Until last week, Joe and I could reassure ourselves that “food is for fun until one”.  We kept offering fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, different kinds of meat…  He would poke at them, look disgusted, and throw them on the floor, mostly before they’d been anywhere near his mouth.  We tried bribery: “Put this piece of banana in your mouth and you can have a chocolate button!”.  We tried letting him get on with it: more food ended up on the floor and none was eaten.  We tried all-out war: “You WILL eat this risotto.  Here’s a lovely spoonful…”.  It was spat out.  As a result, he “topped up” on milk, to the point where most of his diet was milk, with a few snacks thrown in.  He wasn’t sleeping as well as he should, he was waking up screaming hungry in the morning, and he was refusing to eat anything solid.

Two days ago, I did something mean, nasty and awful.  I took his milk away.

Not completely away, you understand.  I know that he still needs it for growth and development and vitamins.  We just drastically reduced the amount he drinks overnight.  We don’t offer it an hour before a meal or half an hour after: if he’s thirsty, he can drink water or juice.  We offer it in the newborn-sized Avent bottles, and when he finishes it he can have water, unless he’s desparate.  We’ve set ourselves the target of 5-600ml/day, and we’ve got there straight away.  David, as you can imagine, is unimpressed with this state of affairs, but still doing really rather well.

This morning, he got up with Joe, and for breakfast he ate a whole croissant and a serving of plain yoghurt with pureed blueberries and blackberries.  Half-way through this morning, he decided he was hungry, so ate a fruit pouch, two breadsticks, and a biscuit, and drank half a cup of juice.  At lunch he tried quiche and baked potato, which he wouldn’t previously have touched, and ate four slices of garlic bread.  At dinner, he spied the leftover profiteroles from Joe’s relatives’ Boxing Day family lunch, and was bribed into eating a fruit pouch.  That was followed by both profiteroles, a large piece of Stollen, and a whole cup of juice.  His total formula intake today?  500ml.

We’re not there yet.  He still doesn’t like the texture of anything runny, he won’t touch sauce, and vegetables are apparently the work of the Devil.  I was surprised that he ate the profiterole after the inital touching and poking, and still asked for more.  I don’t think it’s a taste issue, but to do with texture: it certainly explains why he’ll eat purees but nothing lumpy or slimy.

So, there we are.  My insight of the year: to do with taking away milk (and therefore being the meanest mother in the whole, world, ever, or so David will tell you) and making David eat Real Food.  It works.  I shouldn’t be scared to make parenting decisions and worry about what other people will think, because we need to do what works for us.  I needn’t worry about David’s reaction, because he’ll survive.  I am starting 2010 more confident as a parent than I ever was, and it’s fantastic.

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Christmas 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Today, a special Christmas post about the best gift of 2009.  Also, there is another photo from today over at the Daily Photo.

This time last year, we left hospital in the winter sunshine, wondering what on earth we’d created and how we’d survive.  It’s been a wonderful year in many, many ways, but it’s been hard.  And we’re not doing it again.

Christmas this year has been all about David.

Paper was ripped and parcels were unwrapped.

Boxes were played in.

New garages were played with.

Footballs were hugged and headed.

And Wilfred had a great time with his sock monkey:

David’s favourite present (and our favourite of his!) is by far and away the simple, no-batteries-required, quiet football.  Mine is the morning of advanced driver training from Joe, and his was the wooden bricks that my parents bought for David!  The best thing ever, though, was spending Christmas as a family.  Here’s to many more to come.

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Best Night of 2009

This.

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Best Article Of 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

For me, by far and away the most useful article this year has been this photographers’ rights guide.  I keep a printed copy in my camera bag, just in case I’m stopped when I’m out and about with my camera.

Photographer’s rights are a massive issue for me.  I take a lot of photos in public places, and a lot of photos that are likely to have other people’s children in them.  In the last week I’ve read about photographers being stopped for taking photos of Christmas lights or sunsets at St Paul’s Cathedral, supposedly for “terrorism prevention”.

Photographers may legally be stopped and searched under Section 44 of the Prevention of Terrorism act.  It’s a catch-all clause that lets the police search anyone they like, regardless of whether they have reasonable grounds to suspect that that person is involved in terrorism.  Security guards often have the same attitude: the leader of Hull City Council, Liberal Democrat Carl Minns, was stopped whilst taking photos of a shopping centre: he had every legal right to do so.  Question: with so many high-resolution cameraphones on the market these days, and when the police seem to be so quick to react to photographers, would a potential terrorist likely carry a light, easily-hidden cameraphone, or a big, noticeable DSLR?  Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I haven’t yet heard of anybody being stopped and searched simply for using a cameraphone.  And aren’t detailed photos and area photos of any area, especially those popular with tourists, available on Google Maps and Google Street View?  Why go out and risk being discovered when you could, quite simply, open your web browser?

The other stick used to beat photographers with, of course, is suspicion of paedophilia.  I am a young woman, with a child of my own.    I have had my non-existant criminal record checked by no fewer than four organisations for volunteering and for work, and am about to pay to be CRB-checked AGAIN through my own company.  When David and I go somewhere, I usually want to take some pictures of what we’re doing.  Our local council prohibits photography on leisure centre property, so I can’t take pictures of David swimming.  Of the three soft play centres we’ve attended, I’ve been asked not to take pictures in one (we didn’t go back), and told that I should only be taking pictures of my own child in the second and the third.  (All credit to the third play centre, the only one we visit now.  The staff are fantastic, I can take as many pictures of David and whoever he’s playing with as I want, and I have never been asked to stop taking pictures by a member of staff there.)  The labelling of all people who take photos of children as potential paedophiles is as ludicrous as the suggestion that everyone who takes “too many” photos in a public place is a terrorist.  And again, I have never seen anyone stopped for using a cameraphone in either a soft play centre or a leisure centre: equally, the Plymouth nursery paedophile Vanessa George took her disgusting and vile pictures on a cameraphone, not an SLR.

This paranoia affects me professionally, too.  Most of my work involves taking childrens’ portraits.  I’m about to pay a not insignificant amount of money to show potential clients that I’m not a padeophile; I have to have express signed permission from the parents of any children I photograph to both take and use the images, until they reach the age of eighteen.

Part of the reason for the disproportionate reaction is down to Daily Mail-type public hysteria.  If you believe that every person with a camera in the park is a padeophile, or every Asian a terrorist (thank you, tabloids!) then you’re not going to want them to take photos of your children or your home or the city where you work, in case something happens to you or your family.  But here’s the truth: there has been one, just ONE, terrorist attack in the UK in the last ten years, before the mass public hysteria.  The kind of anti-terrorism crackdowns we see today just didn’t happen during the IRA bombing campaign, and the 7th July bombings weren’t carried out with tripods and cameras.  Children are still most likely to be molested by someone they know, not some random strange woman whose camera just happened to be expensive and specialised.

It’s getting harder and harder to be a photographer in this changing world, with this changing climate of public opinion.  Articles like the photographer’s guide to rights are extremely helpful in clarifying the situation and helping us to retain some of our dearly-held liberties.  I don’t believe that we live in an Orwellian society, but I do value the freedom to take pictures of whatever I want, and to share those pictures, without being suspected of evil and awful crimes.

If this is all too depressing for you, head over to the Daily Photo, where there’s a lovely picture of a ginger kitten to cheer you up.

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Cat Naps

Before David was born, nearly everyone warned us that we’d treat the cats differently when we had a real baby.  We were warned to make sure we put a cat-net on the cot, that we shouldn’t allow them to sleep in the same room as him, that we’d have to be extra-cautious about sterilizing everything.  Our midwife was horrified that we weren’t “getting rid” of them.

Well, we’ve never really been bothered about germs.  The cat-net on the cot lasted for the five minutes before Snowball worked out how to remove it, we let the cats back into the bedroom after ten minutes on the first night home from hospital, and the ten-second rule applies to everything that touches the floor in this house.  Joe goes by the mantra “if it hasn’t got cat hair on it, it’s probably OK.”  Snowball is fed on the side in the kitchen, otherwise the boys jump on her, and we keep a litter tray in the kitchen, too.  We clean the side and the floor pretty regularly, and make sure we disinfect the side before preparing food (which, to be honest, I’d do anyway.)  There is a frequent exchange of toys, especially balls, between cats and baby: we just make sure that none of the cat toys are a choking hazard, as they’re pretty much guaranteed to end up in someone’s mouth.

Now, I know that there’s a school of thought that says you should keep pets, especially cats, away from children whilst they sleep.  We never had a problem with Snowball or Wily sleeping in the Moses basket or the cot when David was tiny, although there were occasions where Snowball would sleep next to David on the sofa.  They still don’t really go near him, especially now that he’s big enough to chase them and pull their tails.  Until this morning, Eric hadn’t shown any interest in sleeping in the cot, either.

I caught him there when I went to collect David from his nap.  Well, he’s certainly showing interest now.  It’s in a nice, warm spot, and the duvet is soft and comfortable.  There are snuggly soft toys, including Mini-Eric.  It’s not easily David-accessible unless we put him there, and Snowball and Wily have never slept there or marked it.

You know what?  I’m not going to bow down to pressure or paranoia on this one.  The stories about cats smothering babies are clearly an old wives’ tale: no cat would ever go near those grabby hands.  (Eric, certainly, would not sleep within reach of David.).  David, meanwhile, is clearly benefitting from growing up so close to these three beautiful creatures: he is mostly very gentle, and he can now say “puss!” and “miaow”.  I want him to wake up to a cat sleeping on the end of his bed, like I did with Jenny and Charlie.  One of the reasons that we got Eric when we did was that so he and David could grow up side-by-side, and I’m so very glad they are.

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