I spent the entire afternoon with this small thing.
My niece. Miss A.
I’ve decided that I need to learn to use my digital camera better than I am capable of using. I’ve even set goals for myself, because I believe in goals. They give you something to strive for, and then completely blow off. Because, let’s face it: I’m quite good at setting goals, but not so good at reaching goals.
At any rate, my goal this week is to learn to focus my camera so that the little munchkin in the foreground is in focus, while the background is completely blurry. My friend Susan has tried to show me how to do it. And then she tried to show me how to do it again. And then she tried to show me once more. And then she wrote the steps down on a little three-by-five card which she offered to stick to my forehead.
And after all of that, I still can’t attain perfection with this goal. I’ve hauled the boy outside so many times in the past six weeks to take pictures that he now hides and plays dead whenever I drag my camera out, so I pulled out the Big Guns today. I recruited my four-year-old niece to be my model, while I practiced.
(One sentence of grave importance should be noted here. Miss A. told me this afternoon, “I know that I’m still four, but I’m so close to being five that you should just go ahead and call me five.” Technicalities, people.)
Miss A. can work the camera, and will probably be pushing Heidi Klum and Cindy Crawford into the Dark Ages soon.
Since she was such a good sport and let me take umpteen-forty-hundred-and-six pictures of her today, I promised her that we’d go for a little surprise. She squealed and said, “Could my surprise be clothes shopping?! Because I love to shop for clothes, and I even know my size! I wear a 6, but sometimes a 6X, and my mom said I need some winter clothes, so you could buy me a whole bunch of them, if you want to, and new shoes, too, because I think my mom bought me the wrong size of shoes.”
Oh, Miss A.! How dear you are to my heart! Being the mama of a boy means that clothes shopping is on a level playing field with such things as getting a tetanus shot, poking a pick axe through your eardrum, and sticking your tongue to a metal flagpole when it’s twenty-seven degrees below zero. The boy hates, loathes, despises and fully dislikes shopping for clothes, and it shows. He’ll wear anything to school…pajama bottoms and T-shirts that are three sizes too small. And if he had his way, he’d wear his black cape every day of the week, because he considers capes to be on the cutting edge of fashion and practicality. He simply doesn’t care about fashion, and so I still, to this day, pick out his clothing for school days. It’s so that he doesn’t show up in his third grade classroom looking like the homeless, parentless waif in the cape.
In the end, Miss A. settled for some Little Pet Shop animals. Or Littlest Pet Shop animals. I’m not sure how that title goes, because…well…why would I? If it isn’t in the Lego aisle or the Star Wars aisle at Wal-Mart, I’m not familiar with it. We’re not capable of speaking the language of Pet Shop critters in our neck of the woods. The boy, in fact, would more than likely hit them with golf clubs or smash them with light sabers.
After the photo shoot, where the blurry backgrounds that I was striving for simply became a long string of blurry pictures, the boy and I loaded up and drove 30 miles to his gymnastics class. Yes, gymnastics is thirty long miles away, because when you live in Small Town, USA, you don’t always have gymnastics and Target and Gap Kids available to you. (Thank goodness for the Internet, because we can totally hit gapkids.com, but we haven’t figured out how to take gymnastics lessons online yet.) I’m just thankful — ever-so-very-much thankful! — that our Small Town, USA is home to a Starbucks!
So off to gymnastics we went. Tonight was rather fun, because my friend, Elaine, who lives sixty miles BEYOND our gymnastics class loaded up the small people in her family and met me in Gymnastics Land. We left the boy to flip around on the mats, and we had dinner at Pizza Hut, where we talked and talked and talked, like a couple of mother hens on Red Bulls.
On the return trip, we brought Ryan home. Ryan is in the boy’s gymnastics class, and the two of them got to talking about movies and their ratings, and they both finally agreed, with enormous sighs, on this: “I cannot wait until I’m thirteen, so that I can see PG-13 movies. Thirteen can’t come soon enough.”
Oh boys, it surely can. Just wait until you’re a whole lot of years BEYOND thirteen. Then you’ll begin to say things like this: “Man, I can’t wait for sixty-five, so I can get a free cup of coffee at Perkins!”