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Six Months Old (Calvin’s Monthly Photo)

Six Months Old (Calvin's Monthly Photo)
Six Months Old (Calvin's Monthly Photo)

Six months old! Starting to sit by himself. Two teeth, on the bottom. Ready to try some baby food. Doing the inchworm scoot. Still the happiest baby ever.

(I’ll be taking a photo of Calvin sitting in the Eames rocker and wearing his pin each month until he’s two years old. I also took monthly photos of his sister, Eleanor, and his brother, August.)

Previous Photos
One Month OldTwo Months OldThree Months OldFour Months OldFive Months OldView All

Shoot!

Things are a little crazy here, in the best way. I’m styling a photo shoot here for a magazine on Thursday, which should be a fun feature that we can knock out in a day. Then in two weeks, our house is being taken over for a few days for a much bigger whole-house shoot for another magazine. Good stuff! Our last house had been photographed over the years, but each publication always relied on my styling. This upcoming shoot will be for a holiday issue, so they’ll be bringing in props and holiday decorations that a stylist will mix with our own things. (The neighbors should enjoy the Christmas tree that will be visible from the front window. The kids are going to be so excited though! Excited, and confused!)

Besides the frenzied rush of trying to get the house photo-ready and keep it that way with the kids about, I’ve been gathering props for this week’s shoot. We’re doing three looks which will be fun, but it’s three times the work and running around. I’ve also been working on three big posts that will be published elsewhere soon (and I can’t wait to share them with you because they were so much fun to work on!), an in-person event or two, and then I’ve got my workload for the class I’m teaching at Columbia. Add in a baby that is still nursing every 2-3 hours, a blog (this blog!) that I love writing but that takes more work than it seems on the surface, and email that seems to multiply as I answer it, and it starts to feel a little nutso. Lucky for me I kinda like that energy, but I am looking forward to it letting up a little.

Plus I was all excited about it finally being spring, and then we got another layer of snow. Dammit, Chicago. Although it worked out for the upcoming holiday feature — they needed a good snowy exterior shot!

So hey, here’s a random picture of me and Calvin from a few days ago because it’s weird to have a post without a picture. And scene.

Nicole Balch and Calvin

The Future of the Monthly/Yearly Photo Project

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’re probably familiar with my monthly photo project. I started when Eleanor was a baby. I bought the same pink bodysuit in different sizes, made a felt pin with a number in the center that could be switched out, and photographed her in the same chair and in the same setting each month to document her first year. As those first twelve months came to a close, I decided to continue taking the monthly photos until she turned two, and then yearly after that. I did the same thing for her little brother, August, and I’m doing it now for Calvin.

I love having the photos to look back on. It’s fun to see how each child has grown, and also to look at their photos side-by-side from the same ages. And I love that it has inspired so many others to take on the project, too!

Four Months Old

Babies are sort of universal. Assuming normal development, they grow at roughly the same rate, reach the same milestones, sit up, learn to talk, learn to walk, and so on. Of course they have different temperaments and each baby is unique, but documenting their growth through a series of photos isn’t violating any burgeoning personhood. They’re babies. They grow quickly, and it’s fun to see that in pictures.

As the kids grow older though, I hesitate to share as much. Their experiences are less universal and more specific to them as individuals. As they begin to choose their haircuts, their clothes, and the way that they want to present themselves, they should be able to explore their identities without strangers watching or commenting.

Eleanor will turn six next month. I’m planning to continue taking her yearly photo, but I won’t be publishing it. Five years old feels like a good place to end the series publicly, and I’ll do the same for August and Calvin. This isn’t to say that you will never see my kids’ photos as they get older (though I have dialed that back). There is a difference though between a picture that happens to have them in it, and a series specifically shot to show how they have physically changed as they’ve aged.

May my children never choose something as awful as the perm I got when I was ten (a body wave — so sophisticated!), but if they do, they can do it in relative anonymity, away from their mom’s blog.

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