How do you welcome in the New Year? With a bang or a whimper? I fall somewhere inbetween, but probably a bit further along the whimper scale of things. I’m not a big fan of enforced fun – but when I have committed myself it usually ends in some worrisome form of self-humiliation. The worst occuring quite a few years ago now, when I was young and reckless and didn’t make it to 9pm, let alone the ringing in from Big Ben.
There is hideous photographic evidence of me being left to sleep it off in a hallway. But it isn’t the sort of image to inspire love and affection so it remains locked in the vault, far away from this here blog.
So what should we celebrate in the New Year? Gorgeous new additions to lovely families, that’s what. Take a look back at the maternity session from one of my favourite couples here and you’ll meet baby May as I first did, as a gorgeous little bump. I knew then that I couldn’t wait to meet her.
So smile and stick your tongue out at the beautiful baby May. She has a blonde crop of unruly hair, that flicks up and curls round without warning. Plus she has a wonderful set of parents who are devoted to her. May also has a couple of cats, who aren’t sure yet, but will definitely come round.
There is a wide-eyed look of wonder that follows little faces catching a glimpse of themselves in my camera lens. I love it. The chewing of tiny fingers and blowing of tiny bubbles is also very cute.
So what happens when you take the spotlight away and include the entire family? Well Mum and Dad remain very happy, very proud whilst the little one sets her gorgeous face into a slight grump. Which makes her even cuter and quite the thinker.
But give the star of the show all of your attention, squeak Jeffrey Giraffe repeatedly and throw in a verse of Old Macdonald plus required animal noises, then she’ll reward you with giggles, smiles and most amusingly the odd roar as well.
Here’s that gorgeous grump again. Grabbing a handful of Mum and telling me in no uncertain terms that “this mummy is mine”. I can see why she is already so attached – she got lucky and found herself with a Mum who is full of fun and love and laughter. Dad does alright as well in the devotion stakes. Although he realised a little too late during the session that the relaxing music he had chosen to accompany my clicking away was, shall we say, mildly inapproapriate. Music choice – just one in a million tiny little things that have to adjust slightly when baby comes along. Soon it will be all nursery rhymes and Something Special sing-a-longs, so enjoy it whilst you still can!
Even now, this little and this young, you can see how much May loves her Daddy. He’s quite a lot of fun you see. He encourages bouncing, and pulling faces, but draws the line at May pulling his nose. Apparently she has quite the grip already. I love the image below of them sitting together on the bed, with his arm wrapped around her, always smiling, fresh from the amusement of becoming a Dad, knowing that he will always have a May shaped space in his life for her, that it will grow as she does and that she will always be safe there. That portrait also reminds me of something very similar that we captured at the maternity session – where Mum was lying in the same way on the same bed, gently holding a May-shaped bump.
I love the continuity of the maternity and baby sessions, getting to know the parents, being able to be excited about what is just around the corner for them. I’ll always be so grateful and very proud to be invited in to a family to capture such special moments for them.
Because when you go back to visit armed with squeaky toys rather than bad jokes to raise a laugh, you get to watch something grow and evolve and flourish. A new family at the very beginning of everything that follows.
Plus sometimes you can get lucky and capture that little face, nibbling at their bottom lip, whilst the cutest kiss curl escapes and settles on her forehead.
What would a baby session be without a couple of outtakes? Here are my favourites – where just over my shoulder a huge, horrifying monster must have shuffled into the room, and then where the punk rock just had to be let loose. What well-respected baby doesn’t want to demonstrate the clenched fist, mohican-hair look for posterity?
And then finally to my absolute favorite from the session. Sorry Dad, you put up a good fight, but Mum wins this one. Especially because when we were taking the shot and I was trying to explain the image I had in my head, I could see the look of suspicion in Mum’s eyes, the look that says, you are doing this for a laugh aren’t you?
But thankfully she trusted me, snuggled up to her beautiful sleeping baby daughter and just relaxed. It’s the greatest feeling to get home, download the images from the session and find this one smiling up at you.
Because you know, when she’s older and she gets too big and too busy for cuddles like this, she’ll have this to look back at. And she’ll know, because she can see, just how much she is loved.
Dear Jo and Mark. You are wonderful, fun people and fantastic parents already. Plus you indulged my cola habit and fed me biscuits. Thank you for finding me and inviting me along to laugh with you all day. You have questionable taste in some music and the squeaky animal toys, but you’ve still managed to create someone beautiful between you. I can’t wait to watch her grow.