The best and only way to photograph a family is to choose a good spot and then follow. Other than the occasional indignantly barked order of NO TICKLING, NO GIGGLING, NO BUTT-DANCING or NO BELLY-POKING (which *always* gives you the tickling, giggling, butt-dancing, and belly-poking that you're looking for), there's nothing to pose, nothing to orchestrate.
Other than the occasional DON'T YOU DARE MAKE ME GO INTO THE WATER! (which *always* gets them into the water), I don't want them to look at me. I want them to look at each other. I want them to interact with the place and the moment as if I'm not there at all.
Change is cooking, sweet little muckabout kid. You jump on and cling more than usual. You know something's up.
Angus and Finn look up, shout, run over, check in. Always registering once again at the side of mama or dad with a Did you see that! or a Can I!? or just for a wipe and a sigh. It's a touching-in that we all get used to, kid and parent alike. Watching it in others makes me thoughtful. Will it end, or just change? Will there be a last time that one of mine climbs onto me? Will something, somewhere, notice it when I don't? Will I shake them off, looking at the clock, anxious to start supper?
Focus, Kate. He's a big kid. Get low.
To think! The sandy feet—those painted toes—of a scrambling, feisty girl began inside a round belly. This round belly. I photographed them three years ago, when Angus was inside. Now we're here again, sneaking a beach play in with just one week to go until baby three appears. It's a very pregnant moment, you know? Pregnant beyond a woman. It's a taut, bursting roundness and joy that's about all of us. Time slows for friends and loved ones watching anxiously from sidelines, and these days, time doesn't do that often. It only slides downhill and in blinks, decades passing on great big gulps while we're fussing over supper. That's why it's a pregnant moment. Everyone slows, watching and waiting.
One more week until a new human arrives. Marvels. And I get to play inside that slowed moment, all of them hanging on to each other, holding my camera high up over waves and salt.