The other day my girlfriend, a new mom of a beautiful baby boy, asked me when Annabelle got her first tooth. I sort of stared at her and stumbled through an answer, “Um, I think five months? Six? You know, I’ll have to look it up.”
It’s amazing how all the little moments, the ones that when they are happening seem so unforgettable, can start to blur as the months and years go by.
I remember the feeling.
The amazement and joy and wonder of looking into my baby girl’s tiny heart shaped mouth and seeing the little itty-bitty bit of white on her bottom gums struggling to break through. I remember how when it did break through, it was immediately followed by a second bottom tooth, so quickly that she never really had only one tooth, but instead went from none to two. I remember her little grin and how different it looked with those tiny bottom teeth. How she seemed, overnight, so much older. I remember, as silly as it seemed, adding brushing those tiny teeth to her little bedtime routine. How fascinated she was with the toothbrush. How she happily let us brush her little gums and teeth for a few months until she wanted to do it on her own. How her version of brushing amounted to mostly sucking on the toothbrush.
The feelings you don’t forget. The images. The moments. But the specifics, the time, the date, those do, even though you swear they never will, become murky.
Of course finding the time and a way to record all of those milestones can be a process in and of itself. I wanted a way to record them that was easy, not a way that was going to make me feel guilty when I didn’t have the time or the energy to keep up with it. I was lucky in that I sort of stumbled upon two very easy ways to keep track of Annabelle’s special little moments, so that I would always have a place to look up all the things I swore I would never forget.
The first, two baby calendars, one for Baby’s First Year and one for Baby’s Second Year, were given to me by Mike’s Godmother, at my baby shower. The calendars are fill-in, since every baby’s first and second years begin and end at different points. It came with stickers for the most common milestones and picture snapping moments, like, baby’s first bath, baby’s first tooth, baby’s first step, etc. as well as stickers for One Month, Two Months, etc. I stuck the calendar on my fridge with a thin-point black sharpie clipped to it, and every day I would see it and be reminded to write down anything that Annabelle had done. It was right there in my face each time I walked into the kitchen, so it was easy to keep up with. (I couldn’t find the exact one I have online, but if you look here and here you’ll find some calendars that are similar. There are a ton of different styles and options to choose from online.)
The second way I record Annabelle’s moments, is in a sweet little journal called, Mom’s One Line A Day: A Five Year Memory Book.
I found it completely by chance as I was roaming Barnes and Noble one day. It’s a journal with a page for each day of the year. On each day’s page, there is a space to record 5 one-line entries, one for each of the five years. I found this journal a few days before Annabelle’s first birthday, so I decided to wait and let my first entry be on July 18, 2011. “One wonderful year of adorable, sweet, giggly, clever, silly, precious, wonderful YOU!”
I love so many things about this little journal. The idea that a journal I started on her first birthday, will be completed when she turns six, blows my mind. I love that now, as I am approaching starting the second year recorded in this book, I get to revisit all the entries that I wrote a year ago, slowly, day by day. It will be so sweet to look back and see what little moments I chose to record. I guarantee there will be a lot of, “Ohhhhh, Mike, remember when she used to do that?” It’s a safe bet that I will cry. I’m a bit of a sap and motherhood has only increased my weep factor.
The other thing I like about this journal is it’s easy. Super easy. It hangs out in the little box on my bedside end table, and every night it takes only a moment to write in an entry. And, if I forget or am just too tired, one line is not a lot to catch up on the following night….
Oh, and Annabelle’s first tooth? It officially made its appearance on March 28, 2010 when she was just a little over 8 months old. Yes, the calendar rocks.
So, how do you record your little one’s sweet-every-day-moments and major milestones?