Recording your child’s life in words can be a very fulfilling way to capture the special moments of his life. Sure a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s also nice to have written descriptions of how you felt at a given time and place in your child’s life.
Beyond the Scrapbook
The photo scrapbook has become almost mandatory for the new parent and creating one can be an overwhelming task. Gone are the baby books our mothers tried to keep up, with scraps of baptism records and locks of hair. Today’s scrapbooks are works of art. While they can be beautiful keepsake treasures, modern scrapbooks are also a lot of work and the emphasis on creating a good looking end product can lead to a perfectionism that may harm the process of recording the memory. At worst, no memory gets recorded because parents are too intimidated by the whole idea.
If you love your scrapbooks, try adding more text to your pages. This is commonly known as journaling, but it is usually secondary to the images. Consider keeping notes in your own hand. In an effort to make everything look pretty, printed text in attractive fonts is often chosen over handwriting, but a hundred years from now your handwriting will be a precious heirloom no computer can replicate.
Unlike scrapbooks where the emphasis is on the product, try to develop a process for adding records of your child’s life in words. You don’t have to write a book. Work at your own pace and capture what’s important to you.
Many of the little milestones of a child’s life can be written down quickly in a journal or computer document. Many families are creating blogs, which are a great place to keep those written memories. If you use a blog to keep family and friends up to date, make sure you keep copies of your posts in a safe place. You may want to go through periodically and print them out, perhaps incorporating them into a special album. Many copy centers will print and bind a book for you very inexpensively. This makes a great graduation or wedding gift.
Consider keeping journals by season. Wouldn’t it be nice to have memories all your child’s birthdays in one place? Imagine how gratifying it will be in the future for yourself as well as your child to browse through your personal writings of how you felt on each of his birthdays. One approach is by writing your child a letter every year on his birthday or another special day.
Favorite foods make for wonderful writing inspiration. Imagine creating a cookbook complete with stories about the first or most memorable times the meals were shared.
Write Your ABCs
One of my favorite ways of stimulating the creative juices is by writing out the ABCs. The beauty of this exercise is that you can do it anytime. Whenever you have a few free minutes you go to your notebook or computer file and start writing. For A you might want to jot down the memory of your child’s first messy applesauce adventure. Or you may think of the word apple, which reminds you school and then you think of his first day of Kindergarten where you were the blubbering mother in the hall wishing he were back in his stroller. An inexpensive notebook makes it easy to jot down thoughts on the run. Even if you’ve only got ten minutes to write (think waiting for sports practice to finish) you can accumulate quite a body of work in very small chunks of time.
Further recommended reading: