Comparing pictures of the boys from last fall and the start of spring

On Saturday we spent a long afternoon picnicking at County Farm Park.  Jay raced from the sandbox to the slide and Wally crawled around on the soft rubber surface beneath the jungle gym.  For me and Caroline, the sun-drenched languor recalled what it had felt like, once upon a time, to pass a day lying on the college quad, fingering the pages of a textbook one had no intention of actually reading.

We’ve spent most of this weekend outside and I’ve taken a lot of photographs of Jay and Wally as they’ve played.  On Friday afternoon I lined up a shot of Jay in the sandbox at Burns Park and remembered, suddenly, looking through my lens at him from the same angle back in October on one of the first crisp days of the season.  Both pictures are below (the one from the fall is first):

The moment in the sandbox on Friday made me curious to compare pictures of the boys from this past weekend with pictures of them from the fall.  I had a suspicion they’d changed, but of course those changes are hard to account for on a day-in-day-out basis.

To me, Wally’s most noticeable changes have been in his face and head. His infant fuzz has given way to some wild curls that call out for a pair of scissors.  His generically round baby face has become more angular and uniquely his own.  He’s just as smiley now as he was back in the fall (though you don’t see it in the tight-lipped profile picture below).  I was also little sad to realize that the blue sweatshirt he’s wearing in the fall picture fits him almost as well today.  Last week, at his nine-month well-visit, Wally measured in the 5th percentile for weight and we left the doctor’s office with instructions to fatten him up.

With Jay, I find the changes more subtle but also more arresting.  As I wrote last month, his crewcut has been replaced with a proper barbershop haircut.  His face is a little more slender and his neck seems longer today than it did in the fall.  But when I compare the two pictures below, the thing that really takes my breath away are Jay’s arms and legs, and the angle of his body as he runs: He’s getting long and skinny like a young boy.

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5 thoughts on “Comparing pictures of the boys from last fall and the start of spring

  1. Yeah, I did the same thing with photos from my kids around the first of the year and it was shocking to see how different two pictures of the same kids could be so different.
    Also, I love those moments as a dad when you’re doing something with your kids that immediately transport you back to when they were younger and you had this amazing memory with them.

  2. You’ve made me look at my boy differently this morning –I do remember that lumbering King Kongish run of his (back when he was so round). But now he has a neck! And vertical leap! And he can actually hit things he’s throwing rocks at –the list goes on and on, when I look at him.

    Thanks for making me look again.

    Your Jay looks like comet now, so different from a year ago! And your Wally, with those tricky curls!

  3. For as long as I can remember I’ve photographed my three daughters… arm in arm… on the first day of each new school year. These images are precious and warm my heart as I never imgined they would. Girls no longer, my daughters are now in their late twenties. They live on their own. There are no more ‘first-day-of-school’ images to be captured. It is a rare occasion when they’re able to visit at the same time however, this week all three of my daughters were here for an overnight stay! It wasn’t until they were gone that I realized I had missed a photo opportunity. I had forgotten to take that special photo…

  4. I alternate between three views of my daughters when I look at old(er) pictures.
    1) Seeing how they’ve changed, as you’ve beautifully written here.
    2) Trying to find that thread of sameness that is there at six months, two years, five.
    3) Seeing how they resemble each other, how the younger one grows into my memories of the elder.
    It’s like adjusting the focus on a camera–shift, view, shift, view. Ah, and then there’s always the present.

    • I like that way of thinking about the experience of looking pictures: “shift, view, shift, view.” There’s a sense of vertigo, I think, that results from the impossibility of holding kids still (metaphorically and physically) long enough to get a good look at them.

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