Her song

Hap bir to you,” she croons
Smiling with delight at her song.

It’s no one’s birthday today, yet
She happily shares her sweet serenade.
It’s one of the few things
We’ve come to expect from this
Our near-mute fifth little miniature fusion.
Comprehension has never been her problem,
But her philosophy, seemingly, is silence.
Perhaps, in her head, it’s golden.
I wonder what she’s left unsung.

Inspired by Six Word Fridays, “sing”.

The mermaid

mermaid RiCerulean shimmers amidst shocked white spray
Undulating, stirring the constant changing tides
The crash of salt and sea
Rocks jutting just above scream “halt!”
She baths atop this surfaced throne
Watching the waves churn about her
Head turning heaven-ward, she is still
Sunkissed skin merges with iridescent drops
Whilst pearls and shells modestly adorn

*inspired by the word ‘wave’ from Six Word Fridays

Land! Treasure! And a message in the bottle

I’ve been planning this session in my head for quite some time: a pirate ship, a few swarthy crew members, a beach.  I pictured my kid-version of Captain Jack Sparrow coming to life in front of my camera lens.

I ordered a boat. When it arrived in the little box, I told hubs he’d have to blow it up. I think his heart stopped at the thought. “You bought a boat?” He asked, as though the very idea were absurd.

“Yes, a boat.”

Truthfully, it is a boat, though the little wooden transportation would hardly float and is certainly not water-ready. But it is absolutely perfect for my photo projects.

Ri had another tutu coming. I know, I know, you’re thinking “Another tutu?” Our collection is taking over my “studio space.” And yet, I couldn’t pass on a chance at getting a little pirate set. Nor could I skip getting the super-reduced $5 costume Babies ‘R’ Us version.

We ventured to our favorite park early in the morning, but the sun was already too high in the sky. Harsh shadows threatened us, but my little pirate model was ready. Ready to run from the camera, ready to jump out of her docked boat, ready to attack anyone near with a driftwood sword she’d picked up on the shore. Typical, truly.
pirate 3

pirate 2


This is childhood

ri web

RiAnne, 18 months.

Accepting opportunities: Viscaya editorial shoot (Part 3)

Anxious is an understatement. On the morning of Chi’s shoot, we rose early. We grabbed a quick continental breakfast from our hotel. I reviewed my reporting location on my information e-mail and checked the travel time on my phone’s Google Map. Assured there were no tolls (I was still not getting that $7 plus a day EZ Pass for the rental), I determined our departure from the room.

Ri was surprisingly easy to get ready. And though my photo was not to be taken, I put on make up. Chi didn’t need to dress to impress, as her wardrobe and styling was being done once we arrived to Nancy Vuu’s hotel suite.

I drove quickly through downtown Miami admiring the murals I would’ve loved to stop and shoot in front of. I looked longingly at the many beach signs along the highway. And finally at the “destination,” I lamented the many “no parking, tow away zone” signs that lined the street. Imagine if the rental were just not there when we went to where I’d parked and needed to get to the museum on time. I parked, anyway, in what looked like a safe spot far down the residential block. I checked for more signs, observing the directional arrows on those I saw, and scanned for yellow or red curbs. Safe. Meanwhile, Chi wondered toward the building Vuu was staying in – an apartment style complex with ornate tiles decorating the front patio and door frame. Ri was amused by the wandering ducks that seemed to be long-term residents of the neighborhood. They were equally interested in her, until she tried to pat – I mean pet – them.

Anyway, when we finally joined Chi in the designated location, there were a host of other models in the cramped one room apartment where Vuu’s many young clients were being adorned. Some of them, I noted, I’d seen on Child Model’s website and in various industry magazines. One young girl struck me as particularly divine in natural beauty, with her deep mahogany hair and soft blue eyes. Her skin, a sort of permanently light-brown complexion, provided the additional contrast that her dark pupils in those pale eyes began. Nearby sat a little one of, perhaps, six years old with the age-revealing missing teeth. She was Chi’s complexion with a wild mane of black hair her mother had washed, braided, and released for the occassion. Two other models sat on the white comforter of the plush bed staring intently into a tablet screen as YouTube videos streamed. An adorable auburn haired and freckled lass belonging to the make up artist became enraptured by RiAnne, and she busied herself entertaining my child who’d decided not to be confined.

I entertained small talk. The conversations were guarded, stiff and uncomfortable. One mommy happily rattled off the list of shoots her children were schedule for in the next few weeks. Their lives, it seemed, were spent on the road or in the air and always in between sets of fashion editorials. I baulked at the numbers that danced into my head of the expense of it all – – travel tickets, hotels, photographer’s fees. Surely they were getting their photos for free or being paid for their appearances, right? Another mom seemed to share in my shock. She cautiously admitted in a quiet voice of aprehension that this Viscaya experience was a splurge not often made in hopes that other opportunities might arise from it. I think she waited for judgment after she spoke, but she wasn’t going to get it from me. This trip was an investment into possibility and it was not cheap. Some moms left the room, chosing to sit and chat amongst the familiar faces of model-momagers who often shared travel itinerary for their kids’ countless modeling endeavors.

We didn’t fit here. I felt it, just as I had in Texas for Ri’s shoot. We were outsiders encroaching on coveted happenings. And we weren’t really critical players in this endeavor.

Ri grew more and more impatient. Hairspray clouded the air. The heat in the small room was stiffling. And though I wanted to monitor the progress of my daughter’s styling, Ri and I ultimately had to wait outside as the minutes ticked slowly by. The call time for arriving at Viscaya came and went long before the dozen models and their chaperones wandered to the various vehicles. And then our convoy of cars hit high way traffic.

Accepting opportunities: Viscaya editorial shoot

We finally had an uneventful travel to a destination, if you consider uneventful arriving at the right airport on time for agent ticketing, getting seated next to my 11-year-old instead of across the plane, and being given Group One boarding (which for stowing carry on luggage is absolutely essential). I noted as Chi struggled with an open bag of extra items that I might need to be more conscientious of her packing methods. This was made more clear as I observed her slightly stained jeans and her spare pair of too short jeans dangling out of her bag. And it was confirmed when the bag exploded inside the TSA scanner and blocked the conveyer belt’s rollers from spinning. I might have been a bit snappy about the whole thing, hurrying the poor girl along with orders she hardly had time to process before I spat the next. In true Chi fashion, though, she took it all in stride and didn’t bother to contain her bubbling excitement about the trip.

I learned quickly that sitting behind the bulk head is not ideal. There’s no space to stow the things too personal and important to put in an overhead compartment – one I can hardly reach without precariously leaning forward, stretching out my arms, and standing on a seat on tip toes. It is also not ideal to pack all of the diapers and wipes needed for a non-stop trip with a toddler in a bag not kept in close proximity. [oh my goodness, the smells that child can create!] Despite this inconvenient lack of storage, the good thing about this particular row of seats is that it offers ample leg room. Certainly, I don’t have need to stretch far, but I could let Ri toddle between Chi and I as she pulled out magazines to mumble-“read” before releasing them to the floor and then opened barf bags to moan and hum into. She also made frien-emies of the first class flight attendant as she insisted on playing peek-a-boo with the drawn curtain separating us coach flyers from the more important passengers.

Ri updown hotel

Chi sat at the window, watching endless clouds appear and disappear, and searching for land as the plane climbed into the air and descended back to land. A smile cemented itself to her face. It grew bigger when the attendant gifted us headphones for watching the in-flight television. It didn’t waiver when she fought with Ri who tenaciously attacked the cords and yanked them out of the socket repeatedly so as to make enjoying the program impossible.

We arrived with little incident to Miami International, one of the largest airports I’ve ever had the displeasure of walking through to reach the exit. It took us nearly half an hour to reach the rental car shuttle to our off-site service (awesomely located two minutes from our hotel). Outside, the temperatures overpowered our winter-weary bodies. Heat – glorious heat – at last! And… humidity, I noted with dismay as my flat ironed hair drew in tight to my scalp.

Once in our rental – a lovely Volkswagen with ultra powerful breaks that rocked us to stillness with the lightest of taps – we ventured to the hotel, checked in early, and perused the brochures from the lobby for adventure.

After reading several awful reviews of disgruntled travelers, we decided against two local marine and land animal attractions.  I just couldn’t justify paying out money for places where past visitors reported ill-treated living creatures haphazardly placed about the parks for us to gawk at.  I’m no PETA fanatic, but I don’t want to contribute to abuse by pretending I accept mediocre owners mishandling their charges for a quick payload.  Remember that circus with the dog relentlessly biting the pony it was placed on?

I gave Chi ultimate choice, and she picked for us to go to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

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