Monday, February 11, 2013

Baby Book

My first born has a beautiful baby book. My stepmother used to sell Precious Memories or Happy Moments or whatever it was called scrap-booking stuff, and she made sure I was well stocked with primo materials. I have a calendar page for every month of his first year of life, complete with photos and die-cut little duckies and stickers. I noted things like the first time he chased a cat, when he spoke, or looked like he might be thinking about speaking. I noted every sniffle and smile and nap for posterity.  

My second born has a mini book with the first 24 snapshots ever taken of him slipped into molded pages . That's it.  As the second child myself, I had no baby book either. I know it's not just me. 

He started asking where his baby book was. "Ummm, it's imaginary" I wanted to reply, but didn't. Instead I printed out 67 pictures taken mostly by phone cameras and found an empty purple suede photo album to put them in, and started rummaging through drawers to find "stuff".

It has a hospital baby hat, worn by one of them. The hospitals here use the same baby hats, so it could belong to either, but as I was low on baby #2 mementos, it became his. I even found a teensy tiny wooden clothes pin to use to keep it in place.  (Awe! So Precious!) I found some baby themed die cut duckies and used them to fill in the empty holes in the album, which look sort of eerie against the black background, for the record.

I found my hospital bracelet from his birth, but not his. I figured that was close enough.

In my rummaging, I found two calendar pages I made way back when I thought I might be able to maintain the baby book standard. They talked a lot about his brother, too, but mentioned when he first said "Mama", when he crawled, and for some odd reason, when he ate a cat furball.  

Boy #2 was ecstatic.  He started asking me all those same questions I asked my mother, like when he said his brother's name, and what date and time he first walked. And I came up dry. I had no f-ing idea, and nothing written down to look back on. I didn't have "congratulations on your new baby" cards, first birthday invitations, or lists of cute things he said.  What I had was a purple suede album half-filled with dark and out of focus pictures in a somewhat chronological order, and a lot of gaps.  (There're some stellar photos there too, interspersed between the others. I mention that only to feel better about myself.)

Because we live in a digital age, I can go back and rummage through my computer and print the pictures of his first birthday and second Halloween. Maybe my mother snapped some pics at Christmas, because I was too busy picking up wrapping paper and making sure each child opened a gift at the exact same time to take more than one picture (with my phone, of course) each year.

All I can hope is that someday he will have more than one child and understand. I never loved him less, I just lost the ability to document it along the way.

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