By Aubrey Everett
When my son was fourteen months old I bought a baby book. The book contained sections from birth to 18 years that could be filled in with memories, milestones and pictures. I got to work on it right away.
Will you remember things from his first months, my husband asked? Well, no, I didn’t remember every small moment and each wearisome newborn day, but that is part of the reason I didn’t start the book until later.
Those early weeks and months were so tiresome, so overwhelming, so relentless, I could not imagine adding one more item to the task list. I did not have the capacity at that time. Anything I would have written would have been rushed, tinged with misery. And that is not what I wanted to memorialize in a baby book.
Those early weeks and months were so tiresome, so overwhelming, so relentless, I could not imagine adding one more item to the task list.
I realize now that I may have subconsciously put off keeping a baby book until later, when my thoughts were more clear and my son less fussy. It would have been nice to jot notes throughout the journey when things were happening in real time, but that was not our reality.
Thankfully, in addition to our memories, our trusty smartphones capture a multitude of moments that may have otherwise been forgotten, even though they occurred only a few short months before. The first time he rolled over? We took a video of that. His first food? We captured a sloppy photo. First mom’s group? I have the email confirmation. Even though I was not keeping an official baby book, my son’s special moments and firsts were being recorded nonetheless.
Thankfully, in addition to our memories, our trusty smartphones capture a multitude of moments that may have otherwise been forgotten, even though they occurred only a few short months before. The first time he rolled over? We took a video of that. His first food? We captured a sloppy photo.
There is so much data stored on our devices that I found it easy -- and fun -- to fill in these milestones after the fact. I could not remember exactly what he weighed at his six-month pediatrician appointment, but all I had to do was log into the doctor’s portal and pull up his medical log. I knew his first tooth came in on top, but thankfully I had a blurry in-motion picture to remind me it was on the left and not the right. His first flight was in February, but if you asked me the specific day, I would not have been able to recall without my digital calendar.
One thing I did make sure to write down shortly after it happened was my birth experience. I knew this was an event I wanted to remember in detail, but understood that those details would likely disappear in pieces. My husband took some notes on his phone during labor -- what time I was admitted, our nurses' names, when the pain increased -- and I was able to incorporate those notes into my own lived experience. I transcribed that account into my new baby book in order to have all of these memories in one place.
Now that I am all caught up, I take the baby book out every few weeks to add a note or a photo. For those who have the ability to start a baby book at birth -- or even during pregnancy -- I applaud you. But if it is simply not in your wheelhouse, it is never too late to start. Having your child’s moments recorded will be something you look back on tenderly and with admiration.