When it comes to baby photos I’m not Anne Geddes. But I do have an iPhone and a baby and in the social media age, that means a certain kind of power. You want me to rack up triple-digit hearts on the gram? I got you. Lemme throw this baby in a cute onsie, get a laugh out of him, hit the SuperZoom and BOOM: the IG timeline is blowing up. Maybe you’re old school, trying to get those FB likes? Check out this selfie of my son and me in our jammies. That sound? It’s people from my high school I haven’t talked to in years racing to throw a comment on the pic. This kid is so cute I could put him on LinkedIn and people might finally start accepting my invitations to connect.
You’ve heard of “do it for the gram”? Welcome to parenting for the gram. Do you even have a kid if you haven’t purchased a personal milestone letter board? As a Dude Turned Dad I’m not above snapping a selfie of my son and I to get some likes. But it does make me wonder… how many family events are planned simply for pictures? Is this why we’re throwing one-year-olds birthday parties or taking them to museums? Is it healthy to plan a baby’s day around a photoshoot?
These musings kicked around my head this past week, as my wife and I and our friends headed to the Mecca of Baby Insta: the pumpkin patch. No one can pinpoint the exact moment when Pumpkin Patch photos became part of the parenting zeitgeist, but newsflash: it’s a thing. So I was not surprised to see many other parents gamely trying to get their offspring to look into iPhone lens as we sat surrounded by large orange gourds. My son sat in his newsie’s outfit trying to gum the pumpkin next to him, ignoring our pleas to look at us and seemed largely non-plussed.
Somewhere between chomping on cider donuts and getting attacked by bees I realized: these trips are not for the babies. They are one hundred percent for the parents. And you know what? That’s ok. These are opportunities for new parents to feel, well, like parents. Pushing strollers, carrying diaper bags, test driving babies adaptability in a safe environment. Our pumpkin patch was filled with new Moms and Dads embracing the feeling of silliness in the air. “This is stupid, right? Leaning your baby up against a pumpkin.” It is so stupid. And that’s why it’s fun.
My son is six months old. Time is flying. And we’re going to take him to as many pumpkin patches as we can to make memories for this time. Sure, it’s manufactured. The photos are staged. And it’s silly. But that’s why they call it “making” memories. Sometimes, you literally have to make them.
Enjoy Dude Turned Dad this week. Good luck with your #patchpics. Happy decorative gourd season, mother f**kers.