Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Pitfall of Taking Videos of Your Kids

Well, I've been humbled. Or rather, humiliated.

So, we've been watching some of the old videos we took of our teenager when he was much smaller. Today we watched one I'd shot in the bathroom of our apartment when this kid (today I'll call him "Albert") was about a year old. See, I'd had some sinus problems and had spent several days running to the bathroom for toilet paper and then blowing my nose rather loudly. And little Albert had figured out that you were supposed to unroll the toilet paper, hold it up to your face, and blow raspberries. It was really cute, so of course I wanted to capture it on film for posterity. So I put him in the bathroom by the toilet and turned on the camera. I figured he'd eventually find the toilet paper roll and do his little trick.

This much I remembered, even today (years later). The rest I'd forgotten.

On the videotape, little Albert did find the toilet paper and blow his adorable little raspberry. And then he found the toilet.

Little Albert opened the lid and inspected the potty for a moment. Then he reached his hand toward the bowl. Before he could complete the deed, I told him "No-no" behind the camera in that stern mommy voice you use for your little kids.

And continued to film him.

Startled, he stopped and looked at me for a moment. Then he turned back to the toilet and proceeded to play in the water.

And what did I do, as the mother of this precious little baby splashing in the toilet? I laughed and kept filming.

"Someday I'm going to show this to your girlfriend when you bring her home in a few years," I told him from behind the camera. "And I'm going to show it to all your kids."

Meanwhile, in the present, the much-older (much, much older) me winced and cringed and sprouted several more gray hairs. I could not believe that this lady taking this video (who was she, anyway?) was letting her baby play in the toilet--and was filming it! And laughing!

"All your kids are going to say, 'Ewwww, Daddy played in the toilet when he was little!'" the lady taking the video crowed.

"GET YOUR BABY'S HANDS OUT OF THE TOILET!!" I screamed to the videotape.

"I hoped you washed my hands," the teenage Albert said levelly, looking me straight in the eye (which he can do now, since he's taller than I am). Did I mention how many, many years ago this videotape was made? And how very much older and wiser I am now?

Thankfully, the toilet scene ended. But the next scene was worse: the idiot lady taking the video had decided to repeat the scene from a different angle, presumably for the sake of artistry. We now had an overhead view of the toilet, and we got a stunning look at the little ripples Baby Albert was delightedly making in the bowl.

"Why were you standing in the bathtub, Mom?" Teenage Albert asked me. "Do you think you'd washed my hands yet?"

"Do you think it mattered?" I asked through gritted teeth.

Much as I'd apparently planned to use this video for blackmail in the future, I vowed right then and there that Albert's children will never, ever, ever see this video. They may think it's funny to watch Daddy play in the toilet, but that's not the point. Albert's future girlfriend and wife might think it's funny, too, but that's not the point either.

The point is that these people will find out that Grandma actually let her baby play in the toilet. And that is not something they need to know.

I do believe we'll be editing these videos. Censorship is alive and well today--at least at my house.


Marsha Ward said...

Very, very funny, Katie! Edit away.

HOWARD'S said...

Gross! I can't believe you sat there and filmed that. Oh well, I'm sure we've all done things as parents that we now realize could have been done differently. :)

Katie Parker said...

Yeah, I can't believe I filmed that, either. That's the only parenting mistake I've ever made, though. ;-)

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