Sunday, January 20, 2013

Better Than a Baby Book?

Here's a common tale for you...  I kept a baby book for my first child.  It was an Eric Carle illustrated baby book, very sweet. Sweeter still were the entries I made about his first tooth, first 'solid' food, and his favorite books and bedtime songs.  I don't even know where that book is now.  For my second, third, and fourth children I didn't even get a baby book because I had already been informed by experienced moms that I would never fill them out.  In fact, there is ample historical evidence of this from the baby books of my siblings that came after me.  My youngest sister's book has the date she was born, and then according to the baby book, she fell off the face of the Earth and no one knows what she's been up to since.  

Really, I always knew that I wouldn't seriously keep baby books.  Part of the reason I know this is because of the nearly total lack of interest in my own baby book.  It really doesn't matter to me when I got my first tooth, ate my first hot dog, slept through the night, got new vaccines, or was toilet trained.  (And again, according to the baby book, my baby sister has never been toilet trained, eaten hot dogs, or has any teeth with which to eat hot dogs.)  What I do love are the stories my parents tell about when I tried my first green olive and said with puckered lips, "I can't eat this, it's too tasty," or about my giant musty-smelling teddy bear named Sam Squash, or the time when my sister and I snuck down to the basement after bedtime and, totally eluding my usually-attentive dad, built a canopy over our bed with scraps of wood, duct tape, and a bed sheet.  (every little girl wants a canopy bed, right?)  

Similarly, I'm really not too concerned with the typical baby-book material for my own children.  But I do want to remember the funny things they say, the words they make up, the sweet gestures they do for each other, and the truly momentous "food firsts" like finally being allowed to grill a hot dog.  So at the suggestion of a good friend, we've decided to start a different kind of book - a notebook for each child documenting the things that we'll all want to reminisce over in the future, because I don't see us twenty years from now all sitting around the living room on Christmas Eve and pulling out the blow-by-blow accounts of cutting first teeth.  We will, however, all still get a good laugh twenty years from now remembering stories like this, one of my personal favorites...

Aaron, age 4
After reading the story of David and Goliath at bedtime...
Me: So, Aaron, just like David, we can always count on God to come to our aid in time of trouble.  Can you think of any thing that's tough to do on your own that you could pray about and ask God for help?
Aaron:  Well, like when I have to lift heavy things.
Me:  Oh, sure, of course!  You can thank God for your healthy body and ask Him to give strength to your muscles when you're doing heavy work.
Aaron: Or I could use a pulley.  

Here are the notebooks I made, one for each child.  There are no rules, no limitations, and no pre-determined categories or lists, so I'm not obligated to record her first bath and I won't feel guilty if I don't  write down when he ate his first hot dog.   I hope that some day when I turn these notebooks over to my children they will  think this collection of "information" about themselves is thoughtful, funny, and full of love.  I hope these books will be a glimpse of what it's really like for Russ and me - daily experiencing in the little things, the joy and privilege of raising  these precious and precocious, silly and smart, endearing and difficult, truly amazing children, whose worth and accomplishments are much more than first teeth and vaccinations.

No need for a tutorial here, I didn't make it up!  I followed this tutorial to affix the material to a standard black and white composition notebook.  But, instead of trimming the edges, I folded them in and ironed them onto the inside of the covers.  Then I chose coordinating sheets of scrapbook paper and attached them with spray adhesive.  Be careful, that spray stuff gets everywhere!

(It's so fun to make these, I made tons more!   They're great for gifts!  But don't get any ideas, this is my gift for any future baby showers.)
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  1. Hi! Not sure how I am connected to your blog, but what a freaking good idea! I shall do it for my boys :) Thanks

    1. Thanks! It seems like such a fun way to record the fun and funny daily things the kids do and you don't want to forget but think you might because life gets so busy!

  2. Theresa, I tried this years ago! Not with the cute fabric cover, though, maybe that would help! But a composition book and everything! I wasn't very good at it but I do have some great quotes in John Paul's and then I slooowly tapered off. It is such a great idea. But baby books? Oh my gosh, you have me laughing out loud. Like your sister, I really don't exist, being number 5 of 7 children and all. I think I got a few shots and learned to crawl and that's about it. And I've done the same thing to my poor kids. Yet I still tell my mom to gift us one when we have a baby since some strange part of me would feel guilty that the newest baby doesn't have a baby book of their own that I WON'T WRITE IN. Seriously, Luke's has NOTHING in it. And it stares at me from the shelf and makes me feel guilty. I'm sort of hoping the blog makes up for it all :)

    1. I'm wondering too if I'll able to keep it up at full steam... I'm hoping to leave the books in an easy-access area with the hope that it won't be a hassle to get them out when I have a quick moment. We'll see.
      Don't feel guilty about the baby books! You have such lovely pictures and memories of all the boys on the blog!


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