I’m learning new tricks.

Every day is a new adventure for a first time parent. I so often find myself discovering something and thinking aloud, “Well, next time I’ll remember not to do that…” There are constant lessons to be learned. Some of these things I learn are fun, others just practical. I got some of both this week.

For fun, I am playing around with my other hobby (besides blogging), photography, and I have just learned what “catchlight” is. Those who take pictures probably already knew this. I knew what it meant, but didn’t know it had a name. “Catchlight” – when the subject you are taking pictures of “catches” the light in his/her eyes, making them sparkle and look REALLY good. When I take pictures, I’m obsessed with eyes. If a picture is going to be a close-up, it’s really all about the eyes anyway, isn’t it? I don’t know if or when my twins’ eye colors will change, but considering my husband and I both have brown eyes, it’s a good possibility that it’ll happen. So for now, I want to capture the beautiful deep blue of C’s eyes, and the mysterious gray of B’s while I can.

So, I just learned about “catchlight”. For those who don’t know, if you want to see some sparkle in your subject’s eyes, you need to position them so that there is a light source on their face. As a novice, completely unprofessional photographer, I find that I absolutely love natural light. A lightbulb or some fancy props won’t do – you really only need the sun. So, when I’m bored on a Friday and want to practice this new skill, I plunk my twins down near my light source and throw them some toys. In the mornings, it’s on my dining room floor in front of the slider. In the afternoons, it’s upstairs in the extra bedroom. Wherever the light source is, that’s where the best pictures will be. This morning, we tried out the dining room floor. B wasn’t having it – he had no desire to look up at me for any reason. But C played along, as she typically does. I focused on getting the light to land right on her face, turned my camera to “no flash”, zoomed in, and waited. Here are a few of the results:

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You can actually see the reflection of the slider in C’s eyes, which is almost the goal. I find it extremely satisfying to capture catchlight in my twins, and it’s really, really easy to do. I have a nice SLR camera. I don’t know how to use it. I also don’t have any photography props in my house – no screens or anything. I just turn off the flash, and find the sun.  The other little trick that goes with this is to position yourself all around your subject. Get them to look up, look sideways, look out…whatever. You can get some extra eye sparkles that way! You can clearly see the difference when you don’t have catchlight:

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Still a cute picture – but without the “pop” of the eyes.

I’ve also learned that you can take really good “catchlight” photos on a phone as well. A fancy camera isn’t necessary all the time. This picture was taken on my iphone, with sunlight pouring in through the slider:

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So that was the new fun trick I learned this week.

My practical trick is related to getting out of the house. If you’re leaving the house with twins (or one baby, or five) – give yourself an extra amount of time. It’s going to take longer than you think, every. single. time. And if it’s going to take THAT long…you might just want to stay home.

We went to a new playgroup. I really wanted something on Fridays and I found a group a few towns over for babies around my twins’ age, which is perfect. Today’s meeting was at a library. Unfortunately many playgroups start around 10 or 10:30 in the morning, and the babies’ first nap starts between 9:00-9:30. On a day like today, when I knew we’d be traveling, I made sure to have them sleeping at 9:00, which I did. When 10:00 came, we had to go in order to spend any time at this new playgroup, which was running from 10:00-12:00.

I had to wake both babies from the nap at 10:00, which is always a painful thing. It took 40 minutes to get there – we hit EVERY light, I was followed by a police officer for a while, every senior citizen in existence was out driving…etc. We got there. There was no parking. Like, NO parking. What library has no parking? I had to park down the street, down a very busy main road. I got the stroller out. I got the two car seats out. I hooked them into the stroller. We got to the front of the library and couldn’t find a ramp. What library doesn’t have a ramp? Finally found it, went inside. How do you get to the playgroup? You have to take an elevator. First time pushing a double stroller into an elevator – which was pitch black, by the way. What elevator is pitch black inside? Found the playgroup, met 4 moms and their babies. I didn’t realize it was a library-sponsored playgroup for any age child, so there were big kids running around everywhere. We sat in a circle. There were no toys for babies. What library doesn’t have baby toys? The babies sat on the rug and stared around for an hour. I chatted. Both babies pooped. I changed them. Because we arrived at 11:00, 12:00 came quickly. The babies normally drink their bottles at 11:30. Back in the car seat, back in the stroller, down the street, back in the car, and the babies are hungry. They’re STARVING. I didn’t bring their bottles. C screamed her little heart out for at least 25 minutes on the way back. Harder than she’s probably ever cried. What kind of terrible mother starves her children?? Oops.

We got back, C passed out from crying, I heated bottles, they ate an hour late. We were all exhausted. We went on with our day. Worth it?

I’m not sure yet.

There were many lessons to be learned here in this situation, but one of them is possibly that it’s not worth going to a playgroup if it takes 40 minutes to get there. Poor babies, I felt so bad.

Here are a few more pictures from our week:

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B being a silly boy.

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He does want to crawl. He’s actually starting to move….backwards. It’s something I guess.

 

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Rocking the matching hoodies. C’s is a little small, B’s is a little big – but hers is size 6 months, and his is size 18 months.

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Okay, I know this one looks odd. Here’s the story: I was changing B’s diaper on the rug. I was about to change his whole outfit, hence the un-done snaps. C was sitting next to him, and she started to lean toward him. Well, she has just learned how to give kisses, and with no prompting from me (I quick grabbed my phone just in case), she bent over to give her brother kisses. Again and again and again. It was SO sweet. I think B thought she was going to “baby bird” him, so he went along with it. The picture looks kind of weird, and possibly inappropriate, but I assure you, it was the CUTEST thing ever. Affection toward her brother – a first for Lil C.

And that was our week!

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3 thoughts on “I’m learning new tricks.

  1. JustHeather says:

    Sweetness all around!
    I too have had an extra hungry baby insanely crying while trying to get home as fast as I can (but still driving safely). It is a horrible feeling all around. I hope things were calm the rest of the day. *hugs*

  2. sparrow says:

    Thanks for the catch light tips. I will try that! It’s the same with drawing/painting. If you paint someone without light in their eyes, they don’t look alive. And playgroup sounds challenging, but getting gout of the house is always worth it. I’m sure the babies appreciated it. Go you!

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