Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What about the other one?

JVC GZ-MG555 digital camcorderImage via Wikipedia

One question came up a few times at the readings last week, and it's not the familiar one about what Athena will make of all the attention. Is there a chance, some people asked me, that Isaac will be miffed that I didn't write a book about him? Am I guilty of parental favouritism, by omitting to give him the same treatment that I gave his big sis?

Readers of this blog will know that I have been writing about Isaac quite a bit, although admittedly there's not much about him in The Baby in the Mirror. I'll also admit to a certain bias in focus towards the first-born: although I've kept detailed notes on both children (Lord, how they differ), Athena undoubtedly got the lion's share of the attention. I'm not alone in this, however. I've just been reading David Buckingham, Rebekah Willett and Maria Pini's fascinating forthcoming book Home Truths: Video production and domestic life, which describes a detailed study of the use of the camcorder in the home. Their work, inspired in turn by Richard Chalfen's classic studies of home movies, describes several instances of preferential treatment for first-borns, at least as far as the video camera is concerned. One participant, Aiden, described what happened in the case of his eldest son, Zac: 'My father-in-law filmed Zac a lot but then lost interest. Yeah, the first one got filmed a lot.'

The best answer to this is to follow the example of Brian Hall, whose wonderful Madeleine's World showed me what was possible in this kind of writing. Hall's dedication page reads as follows:

with apologies for this book being about Madeleine

with apologies for the same reason
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