These two photographs are taken three years apart. The top photo was taken on March 10, 2014, and the picture on the bottom was taken on March 11, 2017. I always loved the first photo because of the way Averianna looks at her big brother and I thought it would be a fun photo to recreate with them. I showed both of them the picture, and Averianna was excited to be “the baby” in the recreation. Cayden also agreed to do it.
So I went and found the blanket, which sadly had been put away. The blanket that I used quite often when Averianna was a baby, just to lay down on the carpet and set toys out for her. This blanket was often hung over the Ikea chair that sat in her bedroom when the crib was still set up, and was there for convenience in case either of us got cold while nursing. I took the blanket, and laid it out, being mindful of where the giraffe was (who is visible in the first photo) to ensure I got this recreation as close to the first as possible.
Next I rallied up the troops. I had already put Cayden in a plain shirt first thing in the morning, but in the back of my mind was thinking that I needed to change Averianna’s shirt before we attempted the photo. Of course, by the time we got to making this picture happen, naps had just finished and we were thinking about going to the barn, so Averianna’s shirt no longer was a priority, and instead I thought that I better just get this done before everyone lost their patience with me.
Both kids had bunnies in tow, and I let them know that first we were going to take the picture Mommy had in mind, and to appease them for their efforts they would get to take a few pictures with their bunnies. I carefully laid Cayden in position first, because he has more patience and is way more cooperative than Averianna at the moment. I checked my camera to make sure all the settings were as I wanted them, and to make sure that what I was seeing in the viewfinder was as the original had looked as well. Confident in how everything appeared through the viewfinder, I grabbed Averianna, and positioned her arms and feet as best as a three year old will allow (especially considering they don’t quite bend and curve like they did as when they were babies). I got up on the bathroom stool and “coached” them a bit, taking photographs. Of course, once the camera clicks once or twice, they think they are done, and all cooperation is out of the window.
I re-focused them, laid Cayden out again, brought Averianna over again, and tried a few more shots, before they are both completely “gone” and Erik started to look at me like it was time to go to the barn 5 minutes ago. Finally I tell them, “go get your bunnies,” so we can wrap this up, figuring I’m going to have to attempt this very shot again tomorrow, since time was clearly running out.
Over the bunnies came and they both laid down one more time. I take some photos because that was my promise and to my surprise I get the second photograph. Averianna again with that same expression on her face, looking at her big brother, who she looks up to in so many ways. It’s not an exact replica, but it reminds me that a copy is never what I was going for. It was the look in Averianna’s eyes as she gazes at her big brother that initially drew me to the first photoraph, and it came at the very moment when I couldn’t have staged it even if I tried.
The love they have for each other is something that makes my heart feel full. And through the fights and bickering, the hitting and the teasing, it’s that look, and love for each other that I need to remind myself of, to keep sanity through this thing called parenting.