I have discovered something about Aaron in the last few weeks. He really, really loves cameras and one of his favorite things to do is to take pictures. He is so proud of the flash (he has taken to calling it the “fireworks”) and he loves turning the camera over to see the image he has created.
Now, for all of Aaron’s life, we have only ever had digital cameras. I can remember a little girl I used to babysit when we first moved here taking a little play camera and, after snapping the little button, turning the camera around to “see” the picture she just took. Doug and I laughed so hard at this because we realized that is all this next generation will likely know.
So it was with some curiosity that I noticed my Aaron taking our old digital camera (still works but in limited capacity) and pulling it close to his face every time he took a picture. Of course, this made it impossible for him to actually see what he was doing, but he didn’t seem bothered.
The other day I mentioned this to Doug. “Why would he put the camera to his face? He has never seen us use that kind of camera?”
We thought for a moment, and then Doug replied with a smile: “Steven.” Suddenly it all made perfect sense.
We have a very dear friend who is a brilliant photographer, and he does have a camera that he puts up to his eye. Aaron loves Steven. He talks about Steven, he follows Steven around, he studies Steven. So of course Aaron wants to use a camera the way Steven does.
What struck me is that, for Aaron, it didn’t matter how Mom and Dad use the camera, or how we instructed him to use the camera, or how mostly anyone else he ever sees uses a camera. Aaron wants to be like Steven, and even as a two-year-old, there is that capacity to watch and calculate careful imitation. That is powerful, and perhaps sobering.