It’s really hard in this information age to feel like I’m doing enough to document all the greatest, fleeting moments as they’re happening. Never before have we had such easy access to photos, videos, blogs, etc. to mark milestones. So far, I’ve found a few things to be helpful. For example, I actually kept a calendar on my refrigerator when I introduced Eliza to solids so I could mark what days I introduced each food to her. Of course, I did this to keep track in case she had an allergic reaction to something, but also because, remember, I’m a control freak, so I wanted to introduce her to every fruit, vegetable, meat, bean, herb and spice I could think of between six months and a year, and there’s no way to remember if your child has yet tasted, say, cardamom or kohlrabi. (Maybe I was only that adventurous in my memory, but whatever.)
So, I haven’t had a calendar up yet for Zach, but I’m going to go get one now for sure. It’s nice to have a record of food introductions that’s easy to read. But the other reason to keep a calendar handy is that it makes it super easy to jot down the dates of first teeth, first steps, first words, first anythings, and of course, funny moments. (My mom suggested this.) I have not been using a calendar for these things (yet!), but rather several different tracking devices. My problem is I am a perfectionist, which is a really paralyzing disease because I end up waiting to do a lot of things until I have time to do them exactly as I imagine I should do them. What this leads to is inaction. I’m trying to get better about this, so I have a nice journal I use to record my favorite moments. But I also have a couple of random notebooks around in case I can’t find the journal or am afraid if I wait until later I’ll forget. Shoot, if I were at a restaurant, I would use a napkin to document the moment and just put it in my filing folder later. (I’m cured!) And I’m okay about not having everything in one neat and tidy place because all I really need to know is that someday, if I wanted to make a perfect scrapbook or baby book, I’d have the resources at my fingertips. And finally, I have Zach and Eliza’s e-mail addresses.
Just after my children were born, Greg set up an e-mail account for each one. I try to send them notes whenever I think about it (sometimes every few weeks, sometimes every few months) to tell them how they’re doing, or describe their milestones, or their personalities, or just how much I love them. E-mail is so nice because it automatically time stamps your thoughts, so someday my kids will know exactly what I was thinking on a particular day in history. We decided on Gmail accounts because the messages won’t ever be automatically deleted.
So, don’t get paralyzed by perfectionism. The important thing is to keep a record – somehow – of the truly important stuff. If you have ideas on tracking your kids’ greatest moments and milestones, please post them!