- Testing different shooting angles and lighting after completing the fence and adding some plants
- Testing the chemical-free hair wax Chris made for Bryce (My vote is for less mess and sticking with his little-man part to the side) ☺
- Testing ways to get a child on the spectrum to respond to the camera
- Testing the length of time needed to document his special story at this age ... 4 1/2 years old ...
It is continuously more difficult to get Bryce to give us his genuine smile or eye contact while cameras are on display. Photography challenges include a canned "cheeeeese" smile, VERY short attention span, and minimal eye contact. When I capture those big baby blues, I am given the gift of seconds to get 'em. He is my own child ... And yet I have to really think about what words, sounds, or songs will give me that momentary attention and be ready to snap it into a beautiful memory!
After completing my testing of shooting locations and Bryce's hair style, I gave him a little "chocolate" break, my negotiation power tool. Praise God for Hershey's kisses! Next, I recruited Daddy to come out for a final test round ... And selfishly, I was hoping to get one more magical moment that would be frame-worthy. When Chris turned into the Tickle Monster, the genuine smiles were in full motion! With the laughter button pressed, Chris moved Bryce's iPad over my head to bring his eyes in my direction - and BOOM!Mission accomplished! We had everything shot and wrapped in less than 30 minutes (break included). Just enough time to get my story without overworking Bryce. While each child and situation is different, it's encouraging to parents to know that we are able to create beautiful memories within a short span of time and yet allow up to an hour as needed.
When choosing my favorites, I knew which two were my absolute favorites that will be printed for my office and home. One is all about his eyes - the other all about his smile.
And yet as I was narrowing down my favorites, I found it hard to so "no" to many of them - Why? Because they tell his story! And you know what? I am a story teller! I love to tell stories with words AND with pictures! In these pictures, you will see that he is learning to count with his fingers which he finds extremely interesting and entertaining. He's now aware of his fingers and thumbs - He talks about them aloud to anyone who cares to listen to him. It's quite adorable. And, yes, I left in the one with his hand in his shorts. Part of his current story! I thought we permanently broke this crazy habit last year, but it recently resurrected. If a billboard were created with my most repeated sentence, you would see "Hands out!" (insert eye roll). This, too, shall pass ... And I will look at this picture in his storybook years from now and laugh out loud every time.
As we participate in helping create more understanding about Autism by sharing details of our journey, our prayer is that people will have a better understanding and acceptance of the beautiful differences that children and adult on the spectrum teach us. Stop and notice smaller details during your day ... instead of just pushing through at rapid speed to the next thing on your "to do" list. Think differently ... And be thoughtful ... May Bryce's story make you want to count to ten on your fingers while thanking God for a blessing from the day as you count each one.
"Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Count your blessings. See what God has done." - Johnson Oatman