I used to think a good mother took her child to Kiddie Kandids at regular intervals for portrait sessions. She would have a spot on the living room wall with an ever-rotating 8x10 of each child to track his or her progress through childhood. The same could be said for family pictures.
In my life, this particular aspect of motherhood gets a solid Fail. I'm really good at the snapshot thing, and we've got pictures on the walls, but none of them are formal. I have never taken a child to Kiddie Kandids (or the equivalent), and my very favorite photo is the one from this shoot, where Tyler has a goofy face and Gavin isn't even looking at the camera.
So tonight, to mark Gavin's second birthday, I initiated a photo session in the bathtub. From this small venue, where the light was poor and clothes were absent (for the subject only), Gavin could not escape. He was in a great mood. He posed and he grinned and he splashed and he played. He was himself. And I celebrated.
I celebrated the boy that is inquisitive and sensitive. The boy that is rambunctious and mischievous. The boy that is smart and capable. The boy whose dimples and hugs melt my heart.
Earlier this morning, Gavin opened the many presents his generous relatives sent, plus the few I ordered from Amazon.com. He was delighted with them all. He kept saying, "More presents? Get more presents?" Once he ripped wrapping paper from a package and expressed his enthusiasm for the brown cardboard box. The things inside all the cardboard boxes kept him busy all day.
I left Gavin and Lexi with a friend and went to a hair appointment. (I won't always be able to get away with such behavior on my children's birthdays.) Lexi slept the entire time I was gone, so Gavin had one-on-one time with an adoring fan. Apparently he was delightful.
He rounded out the day with phone calls from grandparents, several renditions of the birthday song, a lovely nap, a spaghetti dinner, and brownies and ice cream for dessert.
I could dress Gavin up in a suit and a tie and [attempt to] make him sit in a wicker chair in front of a blue cloudy screen. If was was super lucky, the minimum-wage employee might be able to coax a smile out of my two-year-old so I could shell out 30 bucks for the 8x10 for my wall.
But I'm content that doing that really won't make me a better mother....and I like my spaghetti-faced little boy better than my suit-and-tie boy any day.