August 1, 2012

the new baby book.

In keeping with my previous post about how things never really change, here's another topic on my mind:  baby books.

I have to admit that I'm terrible about updating baby books.  I did manage to compile books for the boys but so far Caroline's "baby book" is a pink paper bag full of pictures, notes, hospital wrist bands and appointment cards.  My hope is that I will pull it all together eventually, but until that day comes it will continue to collect dust in her nursery.  Sorry, sweet Caroline.

Someone who was wonderful about keeping a baby book, however, was my mother.
It's a yellow, spiral notebook completely full of monthly anecdotes and milestones from birth to age two.  When she ran out of pages she jotted down her thoughts on scrap paper and stuck it in the back of the book.  It's nothing fancy, and in fact not too pretty either.  (The book survived a flood!)  But it's priceless to me.

Thinking about my love for blogging and my total lack of skill in keeping a respectable baby book for my own daughter, makes me wonder - are family blogs, in a way, the new baby book?

When I read through my own baby book, I find so many things that my mother wrote about that I am relating to and blogging about today.  Remember my post about how the boys like to go into the baby's room in the morning before I do?  In 1975, mom wrote this about my brother and me:
Our experiences are so similar from generation to generation.  Parents today find the same joys, have the same fears and write about the same things as our parents did.  But it's the way we communicate our experiences that seems to be changing.

My favorite things to write about online are the funny, little stories about the kids that represent where they are in their development.  I enjoy preserving moments that I might otherwise forget to tell them when they're older.  I'm sure this is what my mom had in mind as well, and how fun for me to now compare her experiences with my own as a mother.

One small but glaring difference between a traditional baby book and a family blog is privacy.  Blogs are a fairly new frontier, and unlike a traditional book, quite public.  As our children grow older what will privacy mean for us?  And for them?  Will there soon be a generation of teenagers begging their parents to stop with the blogging already?

Also, while flipping through my own baby book today, there was something quite sweet and sentimental about looking at my mother's handwriting.  Handwriting conveys something that doesn't come through with type.

So what do you think?  Do you think a family blog can be the new baby book?  Do you (or did you) update a traditional baby book for your little one(s)?  Or is doing both the way to go?

3 comments:

  1. Great topic, Erica. I do have a handwritten journal for boys. It was given to me by none other than your mom when Henry was born :) My entries are up until Henry was almost three. I also have some random entries on Vivian in there, mainly from her first year. I'm not sure what happened after that. For me, blogging is easier, although I will it's certainly not as intimate. Seeing your moms handwriting from so many years ago is so very special. I suppose my kids will have to decide who gets the journal I started and then they can all read along with the blog. Love you!

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  2. OK, you've made me completely nostalgic...I just read over my journal and my last entry was Feb.27, 2010. I started my blog in September of 2010. I suppose I did trade one for another. Why does that make me sad?

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  3. Ida - there really something nice about reading something handwritten, isn't it? It's more personal I guess? I don't know. Oh, and have you looked into publishing your blog into a book for the kids? A couple years ago I was looking into this and found some websites that offer it. Somehow you can transfer all the blog posts and pictures into a little book, and you could publish 3 - one for each child. I'd like to do it at some point. I'll be sure to share with you what I find. Love you!!!

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