When I was pregnant with my younger son Jack, I remember a friend telling me "with the first kid, it's all about the first kid, and with the second kid... it's still all about the first kid."
I can't speak for having more than two children, but I do know that one common worry for parents of two kids is that the younger kid gets gypped.
There's just no getting around it, with the older kid, everything is new, so they get a lot of attention. With the second kid, you've done it before and you're too busy worrying about the new things with the first kid to pay the same kind of attention to the second kid.
But a recent post in a parenting group I belong to put this into a new perspective and helped me identify something I've been feeling, which is that it's a lot easier to have a four year old and a seven year old than it is to have a four year old and a one year old.
I feel like I am experiencing Jack at four with a presence and clarity that I didn't get to have with Liam at four. In fact, I've been experiencing some amnesia about Liam at four.
Which is why I am so glad to have my photos from that time, photos that capture for me how it felt, not how it looks. These photos remind me of and connect me to the times that I WAS present with Liam.
And it is also why I am using photography now to soak up these moments with Jack, these last remnants of chubby cheeks and baby talk and little kid cuddles before they disappear forever.
For me, something magical happens when I take out my camera - my camera becomes part of how I experience my kids, how I relate to them, how I love them. There is a connection through the lens that occurs that cannot be recreated any other way.
It doesn't happen automatically. In fact, for most, the experience with the camera, whether smartphone, point-and-shoot or DSLR, is more transactional or utilitarian. The camera is thought of as a recording device. Think about writing - you can use a pen to jot down a phone number, or you can use it to pour out your deepest feelings.
It's similar with your camera, except that your camera has a more active presence in real time. And yes, absolutely, your camera can come between you and your child and ruin the moment.
But I want to show you a different way of using your camera in your relationship with your kids that will enhance rather than detract from your - and their - experience.
Your camera can become not just a recording tool but a positive, magic making part of your relationship that brings you closer to them.
Stay tuned as next week I’ll be talking more about how I do this.
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