Monday, 11 February 2013

Big and Little

We had the opportunity to photograph a newborn baby recently. A baby and belly package which means that we got to shoot both the before and the after.

Ottawa maternity photographer
Jessica and Richard (before)

Lily (after)

Newborn babies are a strange phenomenon. People are born every second. Our world is full of them. Everywhere we look there are men and women and children. All of them once conceived and grown inside another person. It's the most common thing imaginable. And yet, for many of us, it is impossible to hold a newborn baby without thinking that she must be the eighth wonder of the world. 

Lily was no exception. As her mom passed her to me I instantly started to sway. Parents never forget the sway. I marvelled at the tiny legs. The way they curled up into her body. After nine months of cramped quarters they haven't yet become accustomed to the extra space. Tiny love letters folded through time so that the creases appear permanent. 


As we packed our stuff to head out to the shoot Tracy commented on the basket I was bringing. "What are you using that for? She's not going to fit in there." When you are wrangling a toddler it's easy to forget the tiny size of a newborn baby.

I remember when I was the mother of a newborn. How it seemed that every parent who held him commented on how impossible it was that their babies had ever been so tiny. And now I am that parent.

Mac as a newborn 

Mac as a newborn
As her dad held her and she fit across his forearm I marvelled at her smallness.  It is inconceivable that just a year and a half ago (or yesterday) Mac could have fit in the crook of my arm too.

When we returned home from the shoot I was amazed at how large Mac suddenly seemed. He stretched his arms up above his head and was a long and lanky child. No longer my little baby. He ran and jumped. He chatted and laughed. He threw his arms around my neck with a big "Hi Ma." And I wondered how that had happened. Have eighteen months really passed? 

But size is a funny thing. It's always relative isn't it? Next to sweet Lily he looks like a giant. Long thin legs without cute baby rolls. But those same legs in jeans walking ahead of me in the grocery store seem unbelievably tiny. And I catch myself wondering how someone so small can possibly be walking running unassisted? I lure him into the cart with the promise of a granola bar and he asks for a drink. Having forgot a sippy cup I buy a package of juice boxes, poke a straw in one, and hand it to him. And he drinks it. Without issue. Tiny hands grab the box meant for school children and he is an expert at drinking with a straw. 

So that's where we are now. This weird place of big and little. Neither and both. And I think back to a conversation I had with my niece a year ago. She was five and suddenly very grown up. She needed to wash her hands and I went to turn on the faucet for her but her little hand brushed mine out of the way as she found the balance between cold and hot all on her own. 

"I'm not a baby anymore Auntie Kris."
"I know Cailey. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that."
"But, I'll always be my Mommy's baby."
"Yes, yes you will." 

And so it goes.  Mac will always be my baby. Just as Lily will always be her mom and dad's baby. Big or little. Little and big. 

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