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All I Want for Christmas

IMG_0473Click Here "That's Daddy's camera!" I explained as I swiftly wrestled the over-priced SLR camera out of my two-year old son's sticky hands. The kid had become obsessed with the brand new purchase after my husband had shown him how to take pictures and make them show up on the "magic window" on the back of the camera. "But I want a cam-er-uh, too!" he pouted as he stared at the one now resting safely on a high shelf."Well, why don't you ask Santa for one?" It was the middle of November and still a little bit too early to start talking Christmas with a toddler who has all the patience of a celebutante at the back of a nightclub line, but sometimes putting off the tantrum now is worth risking a tantrum later.

We took the kid to talk to Santa on a Saturday a few weeks before Christmas. He waited very patiently in a very long line for his chance to sit on an old man's velvet-covered knee. When it was finally his turn, Santa boosted him up and asked him what he would like for Christmas. Oliver, who is normally shy around velvet-clad bearded strangers, boldly looked him square in the eyes and said determinedly: "I want my OWN camera." Santa chuckled, patted him on the head, handed him an organic handmade candy cane (we were at a posh New York City store) and sent him on his way.


[Spoiler Alert!] Santa does not actually buy people presents. He's kind of a big tease like that. So I set out to buy my kid his Own Camera. I only know of one Toys R Us in all of New York City and it is in the godforsaken New Yorker Dead Zone of Times Square. As one of the bravest acts of motherhood, I went a week before Christmas. In a fit of mental health self preservation, I have blocked out most of my time at the store, but I know that after a few bribes, some tears, and a swift elbow to a pushy shopper, I emerged with one indestructible toddler-sized digital camera. But, of course, I couldn't take credit for it. No, the credit was going straight to the fat man: Santa Claus. So I wrapped up the camera and packed it for our yearly sojourn over the river (Hudson) and through the woods (I-80) to Grandmother's House (in Detroit).

Christmas morning came early as it does with a toddler. Luckily "Santa" had stayed up all night drinking with his cousins delivering presents and was ready to roll present-wise, if not physically. Despite the pile of presents awarded the Only Grandchild, all the kid had eyes for was the one package from Santa that he knew held his Own Camera. Ollie-camera

The second he opened that present, the rest mysteriously turned invisible. After a few lessons regarding which side of the camera to look in, he was off and shooting.  And shooting and shooting and shooting. He had his Own Camera and wasn't afraid to use it, even if everything was shot from a toddler's eye level.

As great as it was to see the kiddo happily entertained for what turned out to be hours (which was the real Christmas Miracle) the big surprise was when we plugged the camera into the computer and saw his photos. They were amazing. It was an entirely new perspective on our kid's life. There was grandma and grandpa looming large, a golden retriever seemingly the size of a house, daddy asleep in bed. Sure there were a lot of crotch shots (hey, that's what is at eye level when you're 2.5 feet tall), but amongst all those pictures was our son's world view. It was a beautiful thing.

My personal favorite is his self portrait. And, no, it's not upside down. At least, not to him.:


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That is awesome. Our 4.5 yr-old takes the best shots; we'll get him a cheaper digital p&s for his birthday.


This is so great! It's like when they put a video camera on a sea lion.

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