I am in the process now of trying to create some Video Valentines with my son. All month, we have been singing a love song that his preschool teacher is singing at school. We sing it in the car and before bed. Solomon has been filling in the names of the people he loves at the appropriate places in the song. I’ve been able to get two of the songs on camera. I wish I had captured all those precious moments with the camera originally. As I’ve tried to recreate those moments, my son is not quite as cooperative. Solomon, unlike most of my other students is not very motivated to perform for the camera in itself. So for my little one, I need to do a few more tricks than usual to get him involved and speaking while the camera is rolling. I have to think creatively, stay 100% positive and enthusiastic myself, create opportunities for him to play, request, wonder, be silly, or show off and do my best to pull out some language. When he sees himself laughing or using his words on the movie, then he is excited. The funnier the movie is the more likely is to stay engaged during the filming.
I started off with the idea of making short little video valentines for some of our loved ones – Solomon’s best friends, his grandparents, his dad – with some of our favorite memories of our times together. The regular home movies had some of Solomon’s words in them, so I highlighted those parts and added some footage of Solomon giving them a personal message of Love. I know it will be heart-warming for the friends and family to open up that surprise in the mail, but for Solomon the benefits are huge. Solomon was so excited to see the sweet people he adores in the movies. He initiated lots of language about the people and the activities they were doing together, such as “Ummy, in box! Peek-a-boo!” and “My jeep. Henry in Jeep. Beep, Beep, Outta my way, Chicken!” We gave one to his friend Ava, and he was super excited to give her a movie. She of course was thrilled to get a video valentine, and put it in right away. They both wanted to watch it again and again.
Pretty quickly as I was looking through our old video files and found clips from our adoption of our son, I realized that most importantly, I needed to send a strong message to Solomon that we love him, that we are so happy and grateful he is our son. I pulled up lots of sweet videos from the first time we saw him in Thailand and held him in our arms. The first steps we saw him take, the first time he smiled at us and the first laugh, and lots of laughs thereafter. I edited the movies down to highlight the sweetest moments and put some captions about how much we love him and what we love about him. It is simple and powerful. I think he will love it, but it was also a wonderful reflective process for me to see how far we’ve come, to see a visual reminder of the intensely beautiful blessings of our bond together. Gratitude is good at realigning us and renewing our energies for truly positive support.