We got a nice video camera for Christmas, and I’ve been trying diligently to use it to capture all of Abby’s brilliant developmental milestones. It’s not her fault, but the resulting movies have been the most painful videos I’ve ever seen.
It always takes a while to get to the climax of the video. We’ve either just seen Abby do something cute, or we suspect that she is about to do something cute. So we have long minutes of footage of her laying on the carpet or sitting in her bouncer, staring blankly at the camera. And let’s face it…watching these videos is kind of like watching paint dry. When the moment finally arrives–when she makes the desired noise or rolls over–it’s a little bit of an anti-climax.
Meanwhile, those long minutes are filled with the nervous chatter of the videographer. Setting the scene only takes so long: “Today is May 29. Abby is nine months old and she has started crawling this past week. Let’s see if we can catch her in action.” After that, I feel obliged to fill the empty space. “We went to the doctor yesterday. Abby is in the 70th percentile for weight, and the 20th for height. Dr. B. is very proud of her advanced babbling. She can say “dog.” (change in voice) “Abby, can you say dog? Dog. Dog.”
Abby stares at the camera, uncharacteristically solemn and inexpressive. I resort to making silly noises and talking in a terrible baby voice to get her to smile, laugh, move, anything–all to no avail. Or I continue talking to the camera like it is my imaginary friend and I am starved for adult conversation. Either way, the resulting audio is quite disturbing.
I’ve wanted to post videos online to show you all some of Abby’s cute noises, or her advanced skills of crawling and eating off of a spoon. But I am ashamed of the misery that you’d have to endure, so I have kept the videos to myself. I console myself by imagining that one day, when we finally finish saving up for a new iMac and have video editing capabilities, I will condense all of my videos into a one minute montage with a nice song drowning out my commentary.
Meanwhile, you’ll have to take my word for it: Abby is a prodigy. Unfortunately, when it comes to the visual arts, her parents are not.