When my daughter was born, the hospital brought in a photographer that offered baby portraits for all of the newborns. They took pictures of all the babies right there in the hospital-- my daughter's was taken on her second day out of the womb. When the hospital portrait package arrived at my home a week later, I was so excited. I was already feeling extremely loving and maternal and to have this gorgeous picture of my beautiful baby-- well, it meant the world to me. It was a great picture as far as baby's first pictures go. To this day I get comments on it, because let's face it, not all newborns are feeling very photogenic right out of the womb. But my little girl was all wide eyed and pick cheeked-- she looked absolutely precious. I bought the deluxe version of the packet and sent the photos out to everyone. I still treasure that picture today.
When my son was born 2 1/2 years later, it was a whole different ball game. After a difficult trip down the birth canal, he wasn't in the mood to pose for any portraits. When his photo package arrived a week later, my husband nixed the purchase.
"Send it back, "he said. ""It looks like they tortured him to wake him up for this thing."
It was true. My baby boy looked none too pleased and the bright light of the flash must have scared the wits out of him because that's how he looked. The picture didn't even look like him, to be honest.
"But it's his first picture!" I cried.
"He looks miserable in it," my husband said. "Do you want him to see that picture someday and think we let them torture him?"
I had to agree that my husband was right-- the picture wasn't pleasant to look at. The kid looked startled and annoyed.
And then to soften the blow, my husband reminded me of an adorable picture I had taken of our son the day we got home from the hospital. It was a side view of his perfect little profile and he looked so snug all dressed blue. It was a precious keepsake and it became our signature photo of him.
"Now that's our baby," my husband said as he admired the photo I had taken of our beautiful boy.
Time goes by so quickly when you have a baby. With both of my kids, the time slipped by before I realized they were too old to have one of those cute Picture People newborn portraits taken-- you know, a photo of the baby lying on a rug or in a Christmas stocking or in an Easter basket or with a sunflower on his or her head.
A neighbor of mine has a whole collection of professional portraits of herself holding and playing with her newborn. I am jealous of those pictures every time I see them, because they encompass a time that is all too short-- moments with your little one that you can never get back. Moments that I forgot to get.
There's just a short window of time before the next photo your child gets taken is his or her high school class picture. Take those baby pictures while you can.