Friday, January 05, 2007

My Son Likes to Swing


Blogger micki said...

Camera - Minolta Maxxum 9000
Film - Kodak Tri-X
Shutter Speed - 1/125
Aperture Setting - f-8 Program Mode
Lens - Sigma 28-85mm zoom lens @ 28mm
my “gunky” Crisco filter
Scanning Method - Epson Perfection 4990 Photo scanner

It is hoped that you would respect my ownership of the images posted here on Shutterbug Underexposed, despite the ease with which you could copy my photos. If you would like a true photographic print of any of my images, please contact me at and I will be happy to provide you with one.

My son used to not sleep much at all. We did three and a half years where he slept five to six hours a night with no naps during the day. About every two and a half weeks he’d sleep for twelve hours or so for one night, and then he’d do the six hours a day thing again for three weeks. This was the norm, his pattern of sleep. And he wasn’t just up during the night, he was up. He would laugh, jump, spin, etc. When he turned five he fell into a “normal” sleep routine, and still follows that for the most part. This winter hasn’t been so good, though. He’s been up very late and having difficulties settling down to sleep. Last night was no exception. He was on a giggle fest and wouldn’t stop. I could not get him to lie down. Well, it was about 11:15 and Mom was getting impatient and tired. I thought if I took him outside, he could get it all out of his system and maybe get chilly enough to want to come in and snuggle up and go to sleep. So there we are, standing on the back porch watching the clouds pass in front of the full moon (I was dyin’ here thinking about where I could’ve been shooting) and listening to the tree frogs sing back and forth to each other. It was so bright and warm outside - he wanted to go down the stairs to the backyard. When I thought he’d settled down enough, we came in. Well, he was right back at it again, and after another 15 minutes I was at my wits’ end. So this time we were out on the deck. He went right out and stood on the picnic table and was doin’ his thing up there. Then the cat came up from her bed on the front porch. He hates the cat. I thought, “Cool, he’ll want to go in.” Nope, he just ran around her, off the porch and over to the swing. So, there the three of us are, midnight under the full moon. I’m petting the cat, the tree frogs are singing and my kid is swinging away and laughing so loudly. Part of me was confused and sad and angry at the situation. But then I thought more about it. Maybe this wasn’t so bad. It’s the wee early mornings of January 5th and I’m outside without a jacket in the moonlight. My kid is happy. The cat is happy. The tree frogs are singing. It’s a beautiful night. This is my hand to play in the game of life, and I’m not folding and throwing in the cards. It’s not the norm, but then again…who wants normal? Normal is boring. So we stayed outside. I watched him swing, lost in the joy of it all, knowing that this is only one very short event in a whole life full of many experiences and I was going to live it. After awhile, I made him come in, cleaned off his muddy feet and got him to lie down. He had a hard time getting to sleep. Sometimes after the highs come some lows that are just as extreme. But we got through that and he finally fell asleep.

* my son is nonverbal and has been diagnosed as moderately to severely autistic

9:35 AM  
Blogger manju said...

Nice soft effect !

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Doug said...

It is amazing what we can do as parents when we drop our preconceived notions about what the rules for raising our children are. Some would not ever think to let their son go out in the middle of the night to try to release some of their energy. It sounds like your parenting challenges are monumental compared to most, but you are doing a fabulous job for your kids.

I like to picture of your son swinging. Is that one of your homemade filters?

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Pooriya said...

great shot.
i like the effect.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous shiv said...

wow.! thats some story,
nice shot micki,love the blur effect,
its amazing the things you do with your film camera,hell I wudn be able to do this in PS,i might not have even tried shooting handheld in the moonlight,isnt it too dark to get a good sharp exposure?

11:32 AM  
Anonymous paul said...

Micki, that's a fantastic story. You're such a good and patient mom! I like the photo, too. It looks like a dream shot. You know, one of those memories that are clear in the middle and fuzzy around the edges. The type of dreams where you only remember the good stuff. That's the middle.

12:50 PM  
Blogger photowannabe said...

Thanks for sharing a very private part of your family's life.
You have been very creative in the ways you care for your precious son. I like the way you have captured the singleness of his activity.

12:55 PM  
Blogger PhotoSam said...

lol, sounds to me like you had a fun night...anyway, lovely effect and a really nice night shot...

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Ashish Sidapara said...

Lovely story and a cool shot too, love the blur!

1:11 PM  
Blogger Naturegirl said...

Yes a perfect dream shot! Thank you for sharing an intimate private moment!
Hugs NG

1:16 PM  
Blogger WJWilson said...

A really nice effect for the moment. Did you use a special filter?

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

Lovely narration Micki. Your son has the mother he was meant to have.
I've missed you.


1:48 PM  
Anonymous P.J. said...

Ya know, Micki... I come here every day not just for the photos but for your commentaries. I love reading your things. As someone who writes professionally, I have a hard time sitting down and writing in-depth things like this, so thanks for sharing a great story!

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Crizette said...

Wow! Nice shot! Nice effects too and to think this is not done through digital photography. You have a real talent Micki. Good job!

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

The effect of this photo is so well suited for the narrative of your evening adventure with you sweet little boy. The two together are perfect!

4:14 PM  
Blogger Don said...

The picture is great, but the explanation makes it come to life. I too enjoy the personal nature of your comments. The relationship with your autistic child is a beautiful thing to behold. Therein lies all the material for a children's book that would be so helpful to others contending with the same issues. Ever thought about writing such a book?

4:45 PM  
Anonymous michael said...

Very masterful pic and what a great open your heart write up to go with it. Good use of the Gunky filter, all the best.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Tscharke Photography said...

Interesting effects! Good work!

6:21 PM  
Blogger Donncha said...

What a striking image, but the story makes it come alive and makes it so much better.

Sounds like you had a great time with your son in the moonlight! Who needs normality? I went to the beach on New Year's Day :)


8:11 PM  
Anonymous Otto K. said...

Wonderful shot, Micki. Sweet, heartwarming story.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Solaria said...

Micki, I completely, wholeheartedly understand every last bit of that scenario that you have described above. I could feel what you described as I read through each word.
I have to say thank you for sharing this, as I have had difficulty talking about my own situation publicly. It is so good to know that you're not the only one, or "crazy" and that it's not "just your imagination" as doctors in the past have told me.

My son (as you know) is non-verbal autistic and he *never* slept. I do mean never. There were occasional "cat naps" every two to three days, at about three hours a piece. By the time he was five, a wonderful doctor in Chicago set us up on a therapy and treatment regimen that our family simply couldn't survive without.
Yeah, the yelling, the manic -- all over the planet behavior, all of that and more and yes, despite therapy sometimes it does flare up once in a while (my son flares up around the full moon). What do you do but go out doors and try to make the best out of your situation?
You and your family are a wonderful inspiration -- thanks once more for sharing as you have, both publicly and in email. I will always appreciate it (even if I _never_ seem to have time anymore).

Btw.. love the photograph. It's a perfect view of what it must look like from the inside looking out. It may be tough for us as parents, but whenever it gets too "rough" I can't imagine what it must be like for them.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Chris Fry said...

Micki. I love this photo and the story really does make it come to life. As Don said, ever thought of writing a book? Between your words and your images, it would have to be a best seller! I think your sons couldn't have a better mom.

Cheers... Chris

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Beautiful image.

9:42 AM  
Blogger bkphotography said...

And obviously you like to tinker around with your camera. Wonderful effect you created here!

5:29 PM  
Blogger frame of mind said...

Your dedication shines from every onscreen pixel - how wonderfully appropriate that your son is so clearly at the focal point of this image.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous sinem said...

In my language there is a saying that goes like 'Heaven is underneath our mothers' feet'. Micki, it is not just underneath your feet, you hold it right in the palm of your hand. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment of joy and the story of your son with us.

4:26 PM  

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