Monday, December 7, 2009

Lights, camera, action!

When we were kids, or at least when I was a kid, the family camera was a sacred thing. You were not allowed to touch it. The camera was my moms domain and she kept it on a very high shelf. The idea of even taking 1 simple picture was a laughable offense. "Film costs too much," my mother would say. And that was that. It was made very clear to me at an early age that the camera was not a toy.

When I was ten I decided to buy my own camera. This was considered a weird undertaking for a kid back in 1982. But I just wanted to have the chance to take all the fun and silly pictures I had always dreamed of. I thought my pictures would tell stories and be worthy of praise to the highest degree. I imagined that I would be making movies in still life. I could recreate Star Wars with kodak film and some action figures.

My first roadblock was my parents. They thought I didn't need to spend my paper route money on a frivolous purchase. Why couldn't I save my money like my brother? My brother never spent any money as a kid. If he wanted Van Halen's 1984 he would simply convince me to buy it, then he would reap all the benefits. (there is a lesson there. Hmmm?) Anyway I convinced my parents that $39.99 was a good deal for a camera. It was a disc camera. In the early 80's it was the cool new thing because it was cheap and you didn't need to load the film. Just snap the disc in place and you were ready to go. Wow! Fucking technology!

I proceeded to take all sorts of silly photos. I still have many of them in a special album I made. Before and after shots of me with a BB gun and then me with a bloody ketchup stained forehead. My pictures were never as much fun as I imagined, mainly because I would take them and then I would have to wait to develop them, which cost money. Then of course more film cost more money. I quickly was distracted toward other things. What I really wanted was a polaroid. Instant pictures! If only I could afford it. Sigh.

Years later, in my 20's, I bought a Polaroid and took tons of fun pictures. I took them with the same enthusiasm I had when I was ten, but I could see my great pieces of art instantly. It was amazing! At this point in history disposable cameras were all the rage, so if my wife and I went on vacation we just bought a couple cameras, used them up, and had them developed.

So here we are. In the future. the magical year 2000 is in the past. Now we have digital cameras. You can take as many pictures as you like, and you can see them instantly. It blows my 10 year old mind. So when my 4 year old son asks me if he can take a picture, I hand the camera to him and say, "go nuts." Kirk took a bunch of pictures. Most of them were of his own fingers or the TV. We've come a long way baby.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Mr. Mom

I survived my first full week as a stay at home dad, and I've got to tell you--It's the most awesomest thing ever!! All I do everyday is hang out with my kids. I feed them and watch cartoons, and sometimes we cuddle. It's the greatest. The other day I wanted to take a bath, and my 9 month old daughter just stood at the edge of the tub the entire time smiling at me. I had to keep giving her toys to bang around and drop in my bath, but that's not REAL work. After so much time at work under pressure and under stress and paying the high cost of daycare, I couldn't believe how happy such a simple joy could make me. I would rather be here doing this than anything else right now.

However as an ad student I am still working toward my eventual career. I did find that I don't really have much time to write with these kids bandying about, but I find that I don't care. I can write when their mother gets home. I am as a whole so much better suited to do this than anything I have ever done, however temporary it may be.

This week we brought Christmas into our home. Kirk and I had plenty of fun just setting up and decorating our tree. Then I built him a toy boat out of a tin can, a cork, a pencil, and a twig we found outside. He loves it.

The greatest thing was when I learned I could join the YMCA and get up to two hours of free daycare while I work out. This is good for daddy, and the kids get to socialize with other children. They love Mr. Mom at the Y, and I can have some time to myself to think about advertising ideas while I exercise and relax in a hot tub. The Y is cheap and I get a discount through our health insurance, which is paid for by breadwinner mama Belsum's salary.

I am looking for other daily activities for the kids, and plan to set up playdates with some parents I know. I am also working with Kirk to get him ready for kindergarten by teaching him to read and write, and to count to 100. Everytime he asks for a big boy thing, like being able to play with sharp knives, I tell him he can't until he can learns new things. It's working pretty good so far.

After a fun day of play and naps and learning I get supper ready for when mama comes home. Sometimes the kids help me cook. I take extra care to make sure the house is neat and tidy before she comes home, so when I leave for school she won't have to worry about those things. So far this has been the best job I have ever had, and with the daycare savings, it is far from the lowest paid job I've had.

My next step is to start organizing this house I live in. I have time, and I'm sure the kids will help in between being fed and snuggled. My mother was right, being a stay at home dad really is a full time job, but I never knew how much I would love it.