I think the first stage throws me off because I thought the two kids were the baby's parents. That, or it makes it look like a brother and sister of the same family growing up, falling in love, and growing old together. EW! I think that taking out the baby in the first one would help me see the stages of life better. I guess they were babies before little kids, but it's still confusing. Maybe if you had a baby in front of each of them to say that they were babies and then grew to little kids rather than these two kids HAD a baby, or this brother and sister grew up and decided inbreeding was for them. *shudder* I don't know which is worse. On that cheerful note, I do think it's really cool how you just put enough variation in each stage to say they're growing up. I wonder if the guy in the purple background one could be holding a diploma or be in a graduation gown so they are both graduating instead of just the girl graduating. The guy didn't quite make it. One last question about the characters not completely changing from stage to stage, are they meant to be the same people in a progressing story or is it just a "coincidence" that they all look like the same people? If they're supposed to be different, I would push that. If they're supposed to be the same I question the changes in hair color. They changes in hair style don't bother me at all, but going from blonde to black and light brown to blonde is a bit too much of a disconnect for me to believe they're all the same people. From graduation on I buy it, but the not so much in the earlier stages. I really, really like them Emily! I'm so impressed. Love ya!
I didn't read the first one as parents and a baby. They all look like kids to me. But if that is a problem your worried about I think rather than taking the baby out (because the baby is adorable) you could make the boy smaller and the girl bigger. Then it would be big sister, little brother, and baby.The last 3 do look like they are the same people growing older, but I agree with Shara that the first two don't look like the same people. But I don't know if you are even wanting them to be the same people.I really love them all though. That baby is so cute! Good job.