When I tried to explain to the boys just what I was up to as I pulled out the camera, an X-acto knife, and some colored paper, they seemed to care less. I took pictures of their profiles, then they scampered off with light sabers blazing. So I after I printed out their photos, I used the X-acto to cut out their profiles. Then Mateo came running in, looked over at me and stopped in his tracks, intrigued by the small, sharp shiny knife in my hand. "What are you doing, Mama?" he asked out of breath. That's all it takes to get a five-year-old boys' attention: something he imagines is a weapon.
Next, I placed the hollowed cutout onto a piece of black acid-free paper and traced the profile with a pencil, above. Then I used the X-acto again to cut out the image. I cut a piece of red and blue (also acid-free) paper to fit my 5×5 frame then used some spray adhesive to adhere the black silhouette to the colored paper. Put it all in a frame and it was done. Nico hadn't bothered to join us, but when I placed the frame in his lap, his face lit up. "That's me Mama! That's me!" And he fell back on his bed into a fit of giggles that only stopped so he could look at it once more. I'd wanted to hang them on the walls with the rest of our family photos, but both of them were adamant that they stayed in their rooms. So now in the daily afterschool ruckus, when I hear a moment of quiet, I can still find them holding their frames, entranced by the transformation of their little faces into paper.