I love my daughter’s baby book. It’s beautiful. It’s wrapped in dupioni silk. Her monogram is fancily displayed on the front cover complete with a bow. The pages within are classically themed in a Peter Rabbit design. It cost an arm and a leg.
…and I’ve written in it exactly zero times. She’s two years old. Yikes. I don’t get much free time, and writing in her baby book has just never been high enough on the list of things to do while she naps or sleeps. This makes me a little sad, especially when I think of her opening it one day and seeing a bunch of empty pages (and also, how much it set me back in dollar-dollar bills y’all), but I think I have found an alternative and possibly even better solution to documenting her life.
A friend bought me a One Line a Day journal as a baby gift. I thought it was very nice, but honestly didn’t give it a whole lot of thought at the time. But since my daughter’s birth, it has become something I utilize almost daily, as I try to capture precious memories using the written word.
The name of the journal is self-explanatory – it gives you a few lines to write in for each day, over the course of 5 years. It is constructed so that you can reread what you’ve written on a given day, every year. It’s quite small and compact, making it easy to take with you if you need to. I like this model of documenting my child’s life because it gives me the opportunity to write something every day – what she said or did that was funny or groundbreaking (every little thing she does is magic to her mama, as I always say), where we went that day, whether a tooth erupted, etc. Also if something important happens within our family (a move, new job), I note those things too.
What I write and how I write has changed over the last two years, which is easy to see when looking over past entries…in the beginning, I felt it would help to document her sleep or lack thereof so as to detect a pattern (the jury’s still out on that one), and I noted the color of her bowel movements most days (too much?) because she had a sensitivity to dairy products in my breast milk, which thankfully for us both she outgrew at about 7 months (I could eat cheese again, let the angels rejoice!!). These days I’m usually running to write down a hilarious or precious quote from my little chatterbox before I forget what she said. A recent example – Me: “What do we need at the grocery store?” (making a list) My daughter: “Quinoa.” Noted. Or how about when she said for the first time, “Mommy, I’m so proud of you!” Hearing her express herself in that little voice is golden to her mama, and I don’t want to forget any of it. I can only imagine what I’ll be writing about during years 3, 4 and 5.
It’s nothing fancy, but keeping a record of her life is important to me, and this little book has been the ticket. I can recount daily details easily and quickly. Sure there are days that I forget to write in it, and I’m usually kicking myself later because I then have to back track — I don’t like seeing blank lines in my journal (“What the heck did we do yesterday?!”). The only con I can think of to using a journal like this is that if I want to reference something very specific, like when she first said “mama,” I would definitely have to dig page by page. I guess I could make tiny handy dandy tabs or something, but I’m not that crafty. I typically list her yearly stats the day of or around her birthday for easy reference.
Speaking of those stats, I do hope to one day (please God) write in that beautiful baby book of hers (I can feel it watching me, judging me, unused on the book shelf) – but in the mean time, I am recording the good stuff and that is what matters. And bonus, I’ve already slacked on my first kid when it comes to The Baby Book, so I don’t have to hear any whining from my subsequent children about how I didn’t love them enough to write in theirs. I like to lower expectations from the get-go…
Lastly, it begs the question, will I buy a traditional baby book for our next baby due in a few months? I myself am the eldest in my immediate family, and we are generally all about fairness (shout out to oldest siblings!) so honestly I probably will buy one much to the chagrin of my wallet, only for it to sit next to its buddy, so they can watch and judge together. But I do know that I’ll certainly purchase another One Line a Day journal (or something like it) to document the daily life and times of our newest bundle of the sweetest joy I’ve ever experienced.