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Monday, July 28, 2014

Time flies and other cliches of growing older, naturally or not

By Suzanne Perez Tobias

You’ve heard the cliches:

Time flies.

Kids grow up so fast.

Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

If they could just stay little till their Carter’s wear out.

Cliches become cliches, of course, because they’re true. (Or is that another cliche?)

All I know is I was pregnant with Hannah like last week, craving veggie subs and Sour Patch Kids, lying on the couch to feel her enthusiastic kicks, wondering which car seat and diapers to buy, and now she’s nearly in high school.

So it’s no wonder that Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time-lapse video of his daughter went viral recently on Facebook and elsewhere. The spliced-together footage captures his daughter Lotte from birth to 12 years old in less than three minutes.

It’s breathtaking, watching her transform from newborn to pre-teen via split-second snippets of video from Hofmeester’s weekly sessions, where I suppose he just sat Lotte on top or in front of the same wrinkled backdrop and told her to smile or answer questions or make faces or just be herself.

As a baby, she spits up. As a 3-year-old, she pouts and shows off her pigtails. At 6, she loses her front teeth, and we see them grow in all oversized and awkward. By 10, she’s wearing a retainer and adorable knit caps. At 11, she has flower barrettes in her long blond hair.

Hofmeester’s video of son Vince growing up is similar but different, the way siblings often are. In two minutes of footage accompanied by instrumental music, we see Vince grow from infant to ball-capped, Bieber-haired 9-year-old, stopping along the way to show off Legos, a slingshot, Beyblades, bubble gum, face paint, a Wii remote and more silly facial expressions than a Jim Carrey movie.

The films are touching and fabulous, and they make me thankful for technology that can capture children as they grow.

Not so fabulous is a high-tech experience I had recently when my children discovered an iPhone app called Oldify.

This free app and its cousins, Fatify and Baldify, can take a snapshot of your face and show you a computerized version of what you’ll look like when you’re old, fat or bald, respectively.

Because everyone wants to know that, right?

Right.

Particularly disturbing is a facet of the Oldify app that brings the picture of your old, wrinkly, age-spotted self to life.

Hannah took a picture of her brother, lined up the eyes and mouth and hit enter, and the picture of Jack as an old man blinked and then let out a huge sigh. It was like those Harry Potter photographs where the people wave and dance or just walk out of the frame.

Bizarre and unnerving.

So I let Hannah take a picture of me and run it through the Oldify app, after which Jack glanced down at the iPod, back up at me and declared, “You don’t look all that different.”

Such a sweet young man. Come over here so I can smack you with my cane.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com.

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