{Living Arrows} 4/52

I love these particular photographs. Not just in a simple aesthetic way, but because they will remind me in the future that Thomas did sometimes fall asleep, and that he looked incredibly cute and gorgeous when he did so.

These photos came about last weekend when Thomas threw himself in to an epic tantrum of the kind that only a small child can properly pull off. After more than twenty minutes I think we’d all forgotten just what he started screaming for, and with a look of utter desolation and loss on his face, he quietly asked me for a cuddle as he climbed in to my lap. And within three minutes, he was fast asleep, like a storm that has burned itself out.



It was a moment of complete bliss for me. The calm after the storm, and a moment of stolen, peaceful cuddles from my favourite small boy. I could hear nothing but his deep breaths, feel nothing but the warmth and comforting weight of my son in my arms and fitting perfectly against the shape of my own body. His eyelashes stood out, still defined by wet tears.

I’d happily have stayed that way for hours, but unfortunately this was only a little over an hour before bedtime. Allowing him to sleep would have been ultimately more destructive that rousing him again. We’ve had enough experiences of that to not be forgotten in a hurry.

So I allowed Ian to take him from me in attempt to gently bring him round. His eyelids fluttered and he drew in a deep, shaky breath, before nuzzling himself in to daddy’s neck and drifting back in to slumber as Ian carried him around the kitchen in a move reminiscent of so many sleepless evenings in the newborn era.





There is so much innocence in these pictures, I cannot help but treasure them.

(And for the record, we did manage to gently wake him shortly after, and were rewarded with an easy bedtime – for once!)

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{Living Arrows 2015} 3/52



Look at that face! Just look!

This is the face that Thomas will pull if you are foolish enough, as I was, to ask him to smile for the camera.

I don’t delete these images. Nor the ones that are out of focus. Or where, despite the fastest shutter speed possible in the given light, Thomas is little more than a blur of colourful clothes. I don’t delete them because one day, I’ll look back at those pictures and remember just how difficult it was to photograph my son as a toddler and pre-schooler. All of these less than perfect shots capture exactly who he is right now, at this point in his life. The never-sitting-still, ants-in-his-pants bundle of completely over-enthusiastic energy. That’s him. And the only possible way to truly capture his essence is in poorly timed, poorly focused images.

I also don’t delete then because when he’s a sullen teenager who won’t let me get near him with the camera at all, I’m sure I’ll laugh about how much disliked this stage in photographic terms!

And quality aside, this is the face that wakes me up each morning. That greets me after a long day at work. That tells me a hundred things with hundred different expressions. It’s the face I’ll never get tired of seeing.

My boy.

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{Living Arrows 2015} 2/52

Thomas is a really fussy eater.

You might not believe that, based on the number of pictures I seem to have shared of him stuffing his face, but the range of foods he will eat has shrunk steadily over the last couple of years. If I let it get to me, mealtimes could easily be an immense battleground with tears and tantrums on all sides. And believe me, sometimes I’m very close to that. But instead I save my frustration for the people that spout the nonsense about how “feeding your baby a wide range of foods will ensure they grow up eating a wide range of foods” and “babyled eaning creates much less fussy eaters”. I know that this stuff is utter claptrap because Thomas could not have been fed, nor more happy to eat, a wider variety of food from weaning until things went downhill between the ages of one and two. He was fed many of these foods in ways that babyled weaning purists would be impressed by (although our approach was truly more Thomas-led and involved cutlery as well as finger food, spoon feeding as well as self-feeding – it’s probably a tale best left for another time).

However, Thomas also really loves food.

Well, as long, that is, that it’s one of the foods that he likes. Thomas is very much all or nothing!

This week’s picture was taken about thirty seconds after Thomas was served a bowl of pasta bolognese in Pizza Express this weekend. This is very definitely a food that Thomas really loves – even more than he loves my own version, much to my chagrin.

But then, you can probably tell that just by looking at the picture!


(By way of comparison, this post includes pictures of Thomas devouring the same meal almost a year ago)

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{Living Arrows 2015} 1/52

Or rather, 1/however many I actually manage to share.

And notice there that I said “share”. Not “take”.

Devoted readers may have noticed my tendency to start projects on this blog and not quite see them through. I started sharing a 365 project two years ago, but the photos fizzle out before the middle of the year. I joined in with the Living Arrows project last year but the posts stop less than six months in. Yet in both of these cases, I don’t consider that I really failed. The 365 project foiled me in the organisation and the sharing. In actually finding and editing the pictures and then getting them on to my bog in a relevant and timely way. Oh, and the old devil perfectionism, that haunts me. You know, feeling the photos weren’t good enough to share! But having gone back through my photos for that year since, I’ve identified just five days on which I did not take a photograph. Failure, no doubt, to some 365 purists, but given that I’d stopped motivating myself with the actual goal of completing the project, I think that was pretty impressive.

Likewise with Living Arrows, of course I have a picture of my son, or something related to him, representing his childhood, for every single one of the 52 weeks of last year.  I don’t need a challenge to ensure that happens. I can’t stop myself taking pictures of him and for him. No, I simply failed miserably at sharing them here in a timely manner.

So why am I trying again? I’m not sure, when the odds of success seem anything but in my favour. I think it’s mainly because I’d like this blog to be a bit of a one-stop archive, if only I can organise myself a bit better. I’d like to be able to look back through the edited “best bits” of our years in one place, rather than wading through digital folders stored ten deep to pick out my favourite memories.

And you’re only truly destined to fail if you never try in the first place.

The photo I’m sharing this week was taken at the cinema as we waited to see The Penguins of Madagascar. It eclipsed all others I’ve taken this week, despite the poor lighting and grainy quality of the phone snap, because it absolutely sums up Thomas’s personality. The head tilt, the cheeky wink and the accusatory finger admonishing me for taking a photo. This is absolutely Thomas, at age three and two months.


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{Living Arrows} 13/52 – Freewheeling

It’s imperative that you don’t look at me in this photograph. I say that not because I don’t like pictures of myself. Not because the wind, and running to keep up have whipped my hair across my face. I say it because you need to see the joy in Thomas’s face.

At last, after weeks of pestering, and a week at Center Parcs spent continually explaining to Thomas why he couldn’t take other children’s bikes, we gave in and took Thomas to buy his very first bike. Once we had explained that he couldn’t have a Hello Kitty bike (because they only came in sizes much too large for our tiny man, and nothing to do with the fact that it was bright pink) he picked out a white, blue and green balance bike. He jumped on in the shop and scooted away like a natural.

Of course, riding it outdoors was a bit more scary.

“I don’t like my bike, Mummy” he said, with an edge of trepidation as we set it on the pavement.

Yet a few minutes, only a tiny bit of persuasion and some help with balancing at speed later, this was the end result:


And, of course, when I let go he looked back and promptly fell over.

But surely that’s a rite of passage when you’re learning to ride a bike!

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{Living Arrows} 12/52 – Sliding

We spent last week on a much-needed and well-earned short break at Center Parcs (more on that coming up). As well as using the downtime to relax and reflect on the last few weeks, we had a lot of fun and took a lot of photos. A lot. I haven’t even looked through them all yet. And, of course, a huge proportion of those were pictures of Thomas. Which has made choosing a Living Arrows picture extremely difficult.

From the many that jumped out at me as I browsed through, I eventually selected this one. It may not be the most technically brilliant shot, or taken from the best angle, but it absolutely captures the open-mouthed look of pure joy that I see on my son’s face each and every day. I only have to look at the picture to be able to hear the squeal of laughter that accompanied this moment. I love the joy and excitement Thomas is able to find in each small moment. This picture will, hopefully, forever remind me of this stage of his developing personality.


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{Living Arrows} 10 and 11/52 – Catching Up!

Yes, I’m well behind on this project, given that the link for week 12 opens tomorrow, and the list for week 11 is already closed.

To be honest, I feel as though I’ve been chasing to catch up ever since I began. But I don’t want to let the fact that I’ve been late putting these pictures up spell the end of my participation. Since becoming a mother, I feel a little like my staying power – and the tenacity that enabled me to get all kinds of things done, and that I was well known for – has taken a bit of a hit. I wanted this year to be the year in which that changed again, for the better. I wanted to stick to the things I started and see them through. And on this one, it’s not simply about linking up, or the other people who are participating.  I’m motivated by ending the year with a collection of 52 photographs capturing all the developing personality quirks of my favourite little boy as he grows.

Quirks like his propensity for throwing spontaneous tea parties in a tent – and ensuring that his “friends” drink up their tea.


And his total fascination with playing with stones. Which invariably becomes “slate from the quarry”. Watching his imagination take off like this, and take him to new places each day is simply awesome.


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