The idea of keeping a baby book is very appealing but HOW do you find the time, or the energy, between feedings, changings and trying to get some sleep?
A friend of mine—we’ll call her Ava, for privacy—was telling me that she discovered a small treasure, while sorting through her mother’s bookshelves. She found her baby book! It was one of those white satin covered books that you can buy at a greeting card store. Ava joked that someone must have given it to her mom because it wasn’t the kind of thing she could ever imagine her mother buying.
However her mom had gotten it, she had started to fill it out. To a point. Birth weight and length, a footprint, a lock of early hair and a first photo in the nursery at the hospital. But it ended there, on page three. While Ava loved her discovery, she wished her mother had written more. Those memories are long gone now and it felt like another loss.
We none of us have memories of those early days and rely on others to inform our image of our child selves. Of course, there are some whose devotion to scrapbooking means that baby will have a year by year chronology of their firsts. But that’s not a lot of us. These days, with smartphones, documenting every burp, step and snore is easy but even knowing that, many parents miss out on noting so many of the little details that they too will forget, in time.
Milestone records don’t need to be pretty
Close Pinterest and put away the glue gun. Your desire to document your child’s first everything doesn’t have to be done up with style yet. In the short term, just get it down. Grab your phone and keep a note file with point form, quick notes that will remind you of the essentials that your sleep deprived self might forget: date, time, what happened, who was there.
Example? March 15, 2018 – Baby smiled for the first time! Grandma saw it.
Some other firsts and milestones to note?
- Rolling over
- Grabbing a toy
- Baby talk (get this one on video – the sound of their voices later on will thrill both you and them!)
- Sitting up
- Holding a bottle or cup
- Hair cut
- Escaping the crib
- Walking (even with a walker toy)
- Weight and height at doctor visits
- Vaccination dates
- Moving to ‘big kid’ bed
Having all of that will give you the clues you need to write their story out more fully or fill in the baby book blanks, at some point in the future. You can also coordinate the notes with the pictures you know you’re going to take!
One great way to make sure too much time doesn’t go by is to do up a photobook, or other keepsake book, every year for the kiddo’s birthday or at Christmas. For one thing, extra copies make an EXCELLENT gift for the grandparents. If you can keep up the tradition, you will have an annual look back at your child’s year that you will keep forever and that they can look back on at some point when they’re older.
There are so many online services for putting together a photobook, with text, quickly and easily. You can even leave spaces to paste in any extras, like that lock of hair from the first hair cut.
Take loads of pictures and videos and back them up!
In order to put together the annual photobook, you need lots and lots of pictures. Thanks again to the smartphone revolution, that part should be easy to handle.
That said, there’s nothing worse than loading up on the images only to have them go missing if your phone gets lost, broken or dropped in the toilet late one night. Make sure you set up an auto-backup system to the cloud. You won’t even have to remember to do it and all your precious memories will be there waiting for you when you want to put them together in printed format!
Write their story
If you’re less Pinterest and more WordPress, you can write their story! ‘A Year in the Life of Sam!’ Thanks to vanity press, you can even have it published into a book format, to keep for them to read when they’re older. This idea takes a little more time and effort, to get the words down and format them appropriately, but it’s a great way to capture not just the facts but some of the nuance of what you and your partner felt about how baby’s first weeks and months went. You’ll forget so much, but a book will remind you of the funny moments, and the scary ones. It will be a living testament to your child.
The only caution here is: don’t put your book online, in a blog. The Internet is forever and putting your child’s information online, for the whole world to see, might not be in their best interest long term. After all, they’re entitled to privacy, even if they are only 3 months old.
When all is said and done, having some sort of record of the big (and little) moments of those early days will be a delight to revisit at some point in the future, for you and for them.