Last night I had a dream about my friend Emmalina‘s oldest son. He’s 3 years old and at that stage where he’s quite bossy. I live in Los Angeles, Emma and her family live in Tasmania. I dreamt that I visited them, and my first day there was spent telling them all to just have fun while I stood back and took mostly-candid pictures of them. Blake spent the whole time angrily telling me to stop taking pictures of him. Amusingly, Emma recently posted a photo exactly like this on Instagram:
During the millionth time he tried demanding that I stop taking pictures, I asked him to come over so I could show him the ones I’d taken so far. As I scrolled through the previews, every single picture of Blake showed a scowl or him actually hiding his face.
I turned to him and asked if he noticed the pattern. “When I go back home to America, I’ll have dozens of photos of your family laughing and smiling, having a great time. But all the pictures of you will look like you were having a horrible time. Are you not having fun today?”
Still half scowling and obviously not understanding my point, Blake told me he’s been having a lot of fun all day.
Trying to help him understand, I pointed at a picture of his brother laughing gleefully and said “See, I can tell that Byron was having a lot of fun when this picture was taken. But take a look at this picture of you, you look angry.”
“That’s because you won’t stop taking pictures! I don’t want you taking pictures!”
I explained how pictures are like memories in our heads, except they’re printed on paper so we can look at them and remember a particular day or even just one little moment. I asked if he wanted me to remember him as a grouchy little boy who would never smile for me.
“YES! Stop taking pictures!” He flung his arms in the air in exasperation and stomped off to continue playing with his brother.
I can’t help but feel that dream was pretty realistic to what I’d have to deal with if I did visit Emma while her children are still young, and it cracks me up. Sometimes children understand what you’re trying to tell them, and sometimes they just don’t care and want you to see things THEIR way.