Parental Schadenfreude

Not a Fan
Not a Fan

When I was dating Danielle, during one of the trips to her house I asked to see old family photos. That was a big tradition in our house as I got the bug for documenting things with photography from my mother. Each of my brothers and I have about two dozen photo albums full of photos of us from back when you had to pay for film and pay for development. They had but a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the photos my mom did, but one photo that cracked me up was a photo my future father-in-law had taken of Dina (future sister-in-law) and one of Danielle’s cousins punished, crying against the wall. It was a funny image, but baffling that it’d be something worth capturing, especially in the film days. And I saw him do it with the new generation of kids as Danielle’s cousins started having kids.

It was funny and bizarre to the point that we made joking references to it all the time. Then a funny thing happened when I had kids. Sometimes I would take photos like that, too. (Although this photo was actually taken by Danielle) I think there’s something funny in a wrong way about it, but I think it comes from the fact that kids – toddlers especially – cry for everything completely out of proportion to the offense. I think it ends up inuring the parent and eventually stops serving its purpose. And at that point, I think it just becomes funny to document it so later you can point to the photo and say, “dude, we just put you in a basket – what were you so pissed about?” (Especially because this was Scarlett’s favorite activity – to be put in these baskets and pushed or pulled around the room) I don’t get many comments on my blog any more – not even from Dan and Kai – but I’d be curious in seeing what other parents think.

Author: Eric Mesa

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