Don’t forget to press record

Photographs are tried and true. They remind us of days gone by, what was once seen through the lens and through our eyes. A still visual moment in time that has the power to transport us back to the past, our minds filling in the rest of the sensory experience.
You know the feeling surely; when you see a photo from that awesome barbecue, you want to just stuff your face with those delicious, juicy, smoky, caramelised chicken wings. The next thing you know you’re eating the photo.

chicken wings

“I’ve never seen a man eat so many chicken wings. (Aaaahh!)”.

As the days roll on and our cerebral abilities wane, the once vivid crumbles away to leave only the vague, and while we may remember the sights and smells and tastes, our recollection of the sounds crunch down to pitiful 8-bit quality. As life continues on “Play”, I am particularly really going to miss what my children were saying while they were growing up.

My eldest son just turned two. He knows how to say his letters and numbers, basic shapes and colours. They’re not all pronounced correctly though. That’s part of the fun, the cuteness of having a kid. Plenty of proud “awwww” moments to be had.

For the last few months since he learnt to count, when he got to seven he would say “sheh-shum!” with such confidence. “Sheh-shum. Sheh-shum!” louder and louder as he declared his new knowledge to the world, with a big grin on his face, a spring in his step. It was so damn cute. I was (and still am) so damn proud.

As I came home from work one day, Mrs. Cbay answered the door with a disappointed look on her face, and informed me that something happened to our eldest son. Immediately my mind raced with worry. Did he ride his trike through the wall? Did he hit his brother with the xylophone? Did he give the laptop a bath? Did he get to my record collection and turn the 12”s into 6”s?

My heart sank when she showed me that our son had learnt to pronounce “seven” correctly.

Now when he reads the speed signs to remind me how fast I shouldn’t be going, I long for, and even sometimes still insist on, the “sheh-shum”. (He reads the seven and disregards the zero, for now).

It really hit me, that time was going by so fast. There’s about a split-second of mourning when you experience that tiny bit of innocence fade away. The correct pronunciation begins. The cuteness is disappearing. Things get a bit more serious. The kids are growing up really quickly.

Oh man. It’s almost like they hop into a hyperbolic time chamber while I’m at work. I’ll come home one day to find they’ve got a fantastic vocabulary and an incredible physique, asking me if I even lift, bro.

And this growing up madness continues. Recently “shir-shel” (circle) fell victim to proper pronunciation. The letter “W” went from “tituba” to “diwa”. I often poke fun and continue saying “tituba”, much to my son’s anger and insistence on “diwa”. Mrs. Cbay calls me out for trolling our son. Tsk Tsk.

Tituba from The Crucible (1996)

Today’s episode is brought to you by the letter Tituba, er, diwa.

Just to clarify things – I don’t advocate bad literacy and grammar. Coz datz js dum man serzly. Everyone knows you gotta know the rules to break ‘em. And I certainly don’t intend on holding my children back in terms of their learning; I’d like to think that our eldest son’s demonstrated knowledge is a testament to that. He’s just growing so fast that sometimes I wish he slowed down so I can enjoy the fleeting moments of learning. It’s something that I need to improve on: take more notice, be more observant, and record more audio.

When my wife was barely a toddler, my mother-in-law recorded her speaking on cassette tape. I was amazed when I heard the recordings – she was pretty good at speaking. Numbers started at 5, 6… Too cute. In the same way that I get a rush of nostalgia when I put the needle onto a record from my vinyl-mad university days, I’m sure when mum hears her baby daughter speaking, her mind’s eye travels back in time and forms the rest of the beloved picture. An audio-photo.

You’d be forgiven if you go nuts with the digital camera. We’re guilty of being quite snap-happy ourselves. We take so many photos that our DSLRs’ shutters lift like gym addicts and our hard drives eat so much pixel data they’re bordering on obesity. Even my iPhone camera gets a decent workout. It’s too easy forget that the smartphone in your hand is a very capable blackmail audio recording device. If you can spare a couple more 1’s and 0’s for audio (and by all means, spare some more for video), I strongly encourage you to take some audio-photos too.

Don’t forget to press that little red shir-shel.

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