Through The Lens Thursday #8: Window

Through The Lens Thursday is a one-year photography project, where every week, my project partner, Greta of GFunkified and I, will post a picture (or pictures) we have taken based on a prompt. Our hope is that together, we can teach and learn from each other, stay accountable to our goal of improving our skills, and hopefully, be taking some gorgeous photographs. 

A photography project

This week’s prompt is “Window”.

I want to tell you the story behind this bus, because it gives you a window into the workings of my children’s minds (or it might just confuse you, like it does me sometimes).


Taken with a Canon EOS Rebel SL1, EF50mm f/1.8 II lens
1/15, f/2.8, ISO 200 (Tamara, the camera was on the floor hence very low shutter speed, no shaky hands!)

My 4 year old, Monkey, picked this bus in a toy store in France. My husband told the boys, if you find anything you like, and you hold onto it for the rest of the time we’re here, it’s yours. Now, how much of this my kids understand, is up in the air. The 4 year old is speech delayed, the other is just 21 months. So, my oldest picked this bus. He held onto it. He refused all offers of help to carry it (it’s a BIG bus). So it was his. We bought it. The little one showed no interest in the bus, and only a fleeting interest in everything else. 

In the car, Monkey happily cradled his precious bus in his arms. As I was strapping the toddler into his car seat, he spotted the bus, and asked for it immediately. Needless to say, his request went unfulfilled. 

There was screaming. There was thrashing. There was me giving up on trying to strap in a wild child into the car seat. My bigger, stronger husband took over, all the while talking to him, saying, if you want the bus, let’s go get you another. 


Taken with a Canon EOS Rebel SL1,  EF50mm f/1.8 II lens
1/15, f/4.0, ISO 200 

Yeah, we are those parents (suckers). So he unloaded him and took him back to the store to presumably, buy him his own bus.

They came back with a small, green truck. 

What the hell, I asked my husband. He shrugged, he picked that up and didn’t let go.

He did not want the truck. He threw the truck. He wanted the bus. 

We did not get another bus. Instead, we had a tantruming child all the way on the drive back (about 30 minutes), for another 10 minutes when we reached our cottage. Finally, Monkey quietly handed his brother the (damn) bus. 

Order was restored. 

Stupid bus.

(What do you think of my ‘window’ photos? This IS a photography exercise, so I would appreciate any critique!)

Next week’s prompt: Hands

For the full list of prompts, check out my Through The Lens Thursday page. If you’d like to join Greta and I, but not necessarily blog your picture, join our Flickr group, where we upload our photos, and give comments, or helpful critique on each other’s photographs.

Speaking of tantruming toddlers, I have a post on Everyday Family about the terrible twos – myth or reality? Would love for you to weigh in there!

Comment on any two posts on my blog in February, and stand a chance to win one 30-day 150×150 sidebar ad! Find out more here.

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • February 20, 2014 Jennifer McCullough

    HAHA! I love your story, Alison! Silly kids! My 2yo wants one thing with all his heart and soul one minute then throws it at me the next. Go figure.
    That second bus picture is awesome! They’re both good, but there’s something really neat about the light coming through the windows in the second one that I really like. πŸ™‚ Great job!
    Jennifer McCullough recently wrote…3 Super-Short, Yet True StoriesMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      “Heart and soul” – yes, exactly that. It’s like give it to me Mama, PLEEEEEEEASE.
      And thank you.

  • February 20, 2014 Tamara

    ha! Well you do usually have steady hands even with the slow shutter speeds and not using the floor!
    I like the second photo because the perspective makes it look life-size – like I can just climb right in and travel around Paris!
    Tamara recently wrote…Wait, What? Is This a Dream?My Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      That was what I was aiming for! Make it look as lifelike as possible!

  • February 20, 2014 Christine

    ha! I recognize this scene I just wish that it was from a vacation in France! We are totally those parents too. Everett is definitely bossy and demanding and tantrum-y and Jasper almost always hands over the said object to his little brother to try to keep the peace. Love your photos.
    Christine recently wrote…Click. Snap.My Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      It’s a good thing at least one child is a little more giving than the other πŸ™‚
      Thank you!

  • February 20, 2014 Allie

    I love that you are “those” parents! I am too, my husband is NOT.
    I like how the picture is really not in focus and makes the bus look really long. I’m fascinated by how you do this since I know zero about photography.
    Allie recently wrote…Raising Boys vs Girls: Guest PostMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      It’s both the lens and angle πŸ™‚

  • February 20, 2014 tracy

    That is a pretty awesome bus. xo
    tracy recently wrote…You Is Kind. You Is Smart. You Is ImportantMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      The kids certainly think so. xo

  • February 20, 2014 AlwaysARedhead

    You’re one of those parents – Ha! Too funny.
    AlwaysARedhead recently wrote…Romance for Valentine’s DayMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      We are total suckers. πŸ™‚

  • February 20, 2014 Shannon

    I love the framing on the second one. I almost expect to see people sitting in the seats!
    Shannon recently wrote…BreathlessMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      That’s what I was going for!

  • February 20, 2014 erin margolin

    I love this bus and the photo, Alison!
    It reminds me of these very small (Matchbox-like) buses we got as children. My parents
    went on a trip to London and found the toy double-decker buses for us as souvenirs.
    I wonder if my brothers still have theirs?

    Oh, this is a fabulous photo with so many facets to it.
    Wonderful job, Alison!
    erin margolin recently wrote…More Grammar Mistakes (a follow-up post)My Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Ooh, I love London double deckers!
      Thank you for your kind words.

  • February 20, 2014 Kerstin

    You know – many things don’t change as kids get older, but this does: my kids used to fight about toys all. the. time. Now they’ve definitely developed their own tastes… and we have a graveyard of “I NEEEEED THIS ONE” in the basement. Ahem (suckers!)
    Love your story πŸ™‚
    Kerstin recently wrote…Parenting BylawsMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      We ALREADY have a graveyard of stuff they used to fight over. Sigh. #suckers

  • February 20, 2014 MomWithaDot

    Amazing post with the pictures and a wonderful story narration around them. In my case, a story like that would end with the loooooong chat I had with my husband about what I think he should have done, blah blah blah. Sorry, don’t have enuf camera skills to critique – only admire!
    MomWithaDot recently wrote…Simple JoysMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      We had a short chat – what the hell, shrug, more crying from the kid, we looked at each other, said too bad, and drove off, lol.

  • February 20, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    Lol you paid a hard price for that image πŸ™‚ Glad Monkey eventually shared the bus with his brother. My son is an only child and he’s spoiled at his father’s house but not with me. Tantrums are not accepted. Have a great one! -iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…GTFO: The Four SeasonsMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      We pretty much ignore tantrums once we’re home. πŸ™‚
      Have a great weekend!

  • February 20, 2014 Jennifer

    Toddlers man. What is that saying that goes “everything is mine, that thing that is your is mine…” Or something like that. So true. The photo is great!
    Jennifer recently wrote…Real Life Advice – Dealing with a BridezillaMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      What is yours is mine, what is mine is mine. πŸ˜‰

  • February 20, 2014 Rebeccafaith

    HAHA! Love this story. Favorite part: “what the hell? He shrugged.” He wanted the damn bus!!!
    Rebeccafaith recently wrote…Healthy Competition: Dylan Lookalike ContestMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Right? Men.

  • February 21, 2014 Andrea

    I think the reason why my nerves are shot is because I dealt with so many of these exact scenarios when my kids are little. Kids are crazy.

    I love that big red bus. The photos turned out great!
    Andrea recently wrote…Standing InMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Toddlers are nuts. NUTS.

  • February 21, 2014 Julia

    I like the bus. It looks almost old fashioned the way you took the picture.
    Julia recently wrote…Glasses Up! 3 Years of Wine.My Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, Julia!

  • February 21, 2014 My Inner Chick

    Great shot & especially, FAB story about the bus.

    You are talented is so many areas, Alison Lee !!

    PS. My husband and I spent an hour or so one VERY late night looking for my son’s batman. He was SCREAMING like a devil-boy until we found it. OMGOSH, talk about “Giving in.”

    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Our Stories Become Our LivesMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Hah!! That sounds like pretty much every other day in my house, Kim.
      And thank you, you’re always so awesome to me. xo

  • February 21, 2014 Kim

    Oh, my youngest always wants what his older brother has – always. And sometimes is not-so-patient when he has to wait. I sympathize, my friend.
    Great photos of the bus, too!
    Kim recently wrote…A Small LifeMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      My little one doesn’t understand the concept of waiting. πŸ™‚
      Thank you!

  • February 21, 2014 Tricia

    I love your photos!
    And oh my goodness that bus story. It must have been dreadful to go through but it does make for a great (and incredibly relateable) story.
    Now off to read about the terrible twos because tantrum has been the word (and action) of the week over here!
    Tricia recently wrote…SometimesMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      It really wasn’t as bad as I made it sound πŸ˜‰
      And thank you!

  • February 21, 2014 Katie

    I mean…it’s a sweet bus, yo.

    Charlie is the same way. Anything Eddie has, he wants. Not one of his own, THE ONE EDDIE HAS. Sometimes Eddie is kind and shares, other times not.
    Katie recently wrote…Simple Make-Ahead Lasagna RecipeMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Yeah, exactly, he wants what his brother has. Sigh.
      It IS a sweet bus.

  • February 21, 2014 Lisa

    Aw! I know it is not to you, but I think that is a cute story. My girls have become so different from each other, they are trying be be exactly the opposite of their sisters – they would never dare to want something their sister likes. (Except having sleepovers, but that’s another story!) I know nothing about photography, but I like the pictures!
    Lisa recently wrote…Breathe In. Breathe Out.My Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      I think the day will come when the boys will want completely different things. For now, we have to get two of everything. πŸ™‚

  • February 21, 2014 Elaine A.

    I’d totally play with that bus too. Or want it if someone else was playing with it. πŸ˜‰ Love the focus on the first shot!

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Heh. Thank you!

  • February 21, 2014 Ilene

    I’m glad order was restored. It’s amazing what angst a new toy can bring to an entire family! I’ve been there! and to think…that bus looks so innocent…

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Right?? Stupid bus. πŸ™‚

  • February 21, 2014 Rorybore

    I really like the second shot — the light is really good. The way it is highlighting the windows of the bus is perfect for the prompt.

    As for toddlers, I have had 3 of them and I still could never tell what they want; what they really really want. πŸ™‚

    (sorry I missed participating today – we’ve had 2 deaths in our circle of friends this week, and there were memorial services to attend.)
    Rorybore recently wrote…4 Fill in Fun: Golden MomentsMy Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      I am so sorry for your losses.
      No need to apologize for not participating each week – just whenever you can.
      And thank you.

  • February 21, 2014 Stasha

    Ha ha , kids! I love the way you got the windows bright and the bus dark. Well done,
    Stasha recently wrote…Elections 2042My Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Thank you Stasha! It’s awesome coming from you.

  • February 22, 2014 KalleyC

    Hahaha, I love this story! Especially the ending!
    KalleyC recently wrote…Life Through My Lens Thursday β€” Week 7My Profile

    • February 23, 2014 Alison

      Hah, thanks Kalley.

  • February 23, 2014 Natalie

    This so sounds like my house! And I think you did a great job with the photo!
    Natalie recently wrote…Sunshine Heals the SoulMy Profile

    • February 24, 2014 Alison

      Commiserations! And thank you!

  • February 26, 2014 Greta

    Oh, little brothers! And sweet big brothers. πŸ™‚ This is definitely something that would (and has) occur at my house.

    • February 26, 2014 Alison

      If only it was ALWAYS, 24/7 πŸ™‚

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