Earlier this year (first in March, then in May), I posted about a little project that I've been doing. Once a week, every week since her birth, I've been taking a picture of my daughter Essley, and will continue to do so until she's one year old. Babies change so much from week to week, but because I'm with her everyday, it's almost impossible for me to notice the subtle changes of her growth. In a few weeks she'll be 3/4 of the way through this first year, and it's amazing - and slightly baffling - for me to look back at these images and see the transformation. I barely recognize that squishy little newborn from those early weeks! In many ways I feel like I just had her, yet she looks more like a little girl than a baby to me these days. It's pretty crazy.
It's been a long time since I shared this project, and several of you have left comments over the past few months asking when/if I'd be doing one of these posts again. At the very beginning of the summer, there was an incident where it was brought to my attention by a reader that one of these weekly photos had been taken from my Instagram account and used on another blog as an example of annoying things that people do on Instagram. And although I agree that people can go overboard with kid pictures on social media, and I certainly understand that not everyone is going to care what my kid looks like week to week, and I wholeheartedly feel that people have the right to vocalize whether or not they like certain blogs or IG accounts, mine or otherwise - because it was a picture of my daughter being used in a negative way, I felt instantly hurt and protective. Maybe it was mama instinct kicking in, or maybe I was feeling sensitive that day, but I was actually a little shocked at how awful it made me feel. If it had been a picture of me, I would have let it roll off my back. But because it was a photo of Essley, I felt gutted. I'm glad it happened though, because it caused me to become much more aware of just how easy (and common) it is for photos of people's children to be used by others on the internet - in ways that can be unfavorable, and sometimes even harmful. I continued to post the weekly pictures on Instagram and on my personal Facebook page, but because my blog has a much larger readership than my IG has followers, I felt a little guarded about sharing the project here - or sharing Essley here at all.
As I was taking her 36 week picture over the weekend, and feeling almost winded at how big she's getting, I decided that I'd finally do another 'Weekly Essley' update here. I don't post a ton of personal content on this blog, but I do want it to be genuine, and not just read like a magazine without a face or real life behind the round-up posts or outfits or DIY projects or pretty pictures of food or whatever. And the thing is, Essley is the biggest part of my life now, and it would be impossible to post even the most subtle of personal updates here without mentioning her. I will admit that the step back I've taken in terms of how much I share about her here will likely remain. That means that I'm going to continue to be cautious. I am not, however, going to pretend that she isn't a massive part of absolutely everything I do. My plan is simply to continue to share some bits and pieces on occasion as I've been doing, and maybe down the road, when she's older and can decide for herself what kind of presence she wants to have here (if I still have Bubby & Bean, of course), she'll make more regular appearances.
For now, for those of you who enjoy seeing this bean grow into a little lady, here you go. I honestly get a little teary seeing all of these images together in one place. Sheesh. The first few weeks are just nutty to look at, you guys. She was such a tiny little creature, one who just slept and nursed and pooped and cried. Now she's crawling all over the house, standing up, feeding herself finger foods, laughing incessantly, and babbling words that regardless of the fact that they make no sense sound much too close to "mama" and "dada" not to feel excited. Man do I love this person. It's a beautifully aching kind of love and as cheesy as it sounds, it has changed everything for the better for me.
Thanks for letting me share. And for those who'd rather not see the kid updates, thanks for putting up with this one. I'll be back tomorrow with another post about home improvement, with little to no gushing about my daughter. Promise.
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