Is it a meditating rice field worker? a chick semi-hatched from its shell? a six year-old who busted a globe in half because he was pretending it was a soccer ball and is now trying to be a comic? (“Take my picture! Take my picture!”)
It will be a cold day in hell when my little guy cooperates for a “decent” photo in the traditional sense. Tongue stuck out, eyes shut tight, face covered — most of our pictures of him consist of that.
Fred also now gets “Facebook” and “blog,” and seems to make the connection that Funny Fred + Mom + Camera = Facebook or Blog. The other night straight after his shower he tied his leopard print towel around his neck and flew onto his bed arms and face first as if he were Superman. I pulled out my camera, with the intention of capturing this funny moment but not of posting him and his nakedness anywhere. At the sight of my camera, though, he had instructions:
“Oh…can you please not put my picture on Facebook? I don’t want people to see my butt.”
“Don’t worry, I’m definitely not putting this on Facebook.” I reassured him.
“Oh, wait, wait – ” Fred scrambled to find his Osh Kosh B’gosh underpants and pulled them on. “Okay, now you can put me on Facebook!”
Well, despite his pleas, I’m not going to put him and his undies up on Facebook. I love that, in some abstract way, he has some sense of what Facebook and blogs are. I love how Fred’s now entered my internet world and is a somewhat active participant in it, sometimes suggesting topics and photos for my blog. But how do I explain to him why I don’t want to upload certain photos of him? How do I tell him that, actually, where I spend time telling my stories is not the safest place in the world? At six his time on the computer is still very much limited to the reading program his teacher has put his class on and to the periodic game playing on pbskids.org. So maybe this conversation can wait. After all, at school he just heard the lecture about people who touch children in the wrong places. How much fear do they need to make room for all at once?
I do wonder, though, if Fred will grow up in a generation where personal stories and photos on the internet are second nature, where privacy means a different thing than it did when I was growing up. When I was 15 my modes of communication with friends consisted of the telephone and folded up handwritten notes passed during class; how I’m going to navigate Fred’s teen years and cyberspace, I have no idea. But anway, I won’t think about that just yet. For now I’ll just enjoy my little guy for the ham that he is, and I will show him off with discretion 😉