As my little baby boy is nearing his first birthday, I am starting to reflect on the memories we have kept of his first year of life.
There were many plans – as, I believe, is always the case when you’re engulfed by pregnant fantasies of what life with a new baby would be like – but not all of them have taken to fruition. I do think, though, that we have made a decent attempt at keeping memories this time around.
We had two different baby hand and footprint sets. The original plan was to use them a few days after the boy was born, but time and the simple need for sleep took over.
The plaster of Paris print set we bought was a minor disaster. I mean, who has the heart to force their baby’s feet and hands so deeply into the astonishingly hard substance when they’re tiny and seem so fragile? I know we didn’t. I did make some salt dough prints when the boy was around 3 months old, and other than a little crack they dried well and are now proudly displayed in grandma and grandad’s house.
We got given a lovely ink print set, which somehow didn’t get done until Valentine’s, when my husband took it upon himself to get the boy to print his hand onto my card – a lovely keepsake, which will go into his memory box (i.e. the shopping bag I use to store some of his old clothes in).
A few days ago I sorted out all of the boy’s old baby clothes, from tiny newborn to 9 months of age. A colleague of mine is currently expecting a boy, and what better home to give our baby clothes to than hers? I welled up on the inside, sifting through all of his old clothes, realising just how tiny he used to be and just how much time has flown by. There are a few clothes I’ve kept: his very first vest, which he wore on the day he was born, his knitted hat he got in the hospital, his very first Christmas outfit, a tiny pair of shoes he never wore, but which were just too cute for words (I vividly remember going high-pitched and shouting SHOESIES all across the shop).
And then there is the ongoing project, with only a few pages left now: his scrapbook, detailing the first year of his life. Sorted thematically rather than strictly chronologically, it documents everything, from preparations when I was pregnant and the paintings we made for him, his birth including the tags he wore, his very first photo shoot, Christmas, play time, foods, days out all the way to the trip we will take him on abroad just before his first birthday. And while not every page in the book is how I would lay it out if I could start all over again, you can see a clear development in the way his first year of life is being documented.
Scrapbooking helped me not only keep track of all the little things you forget so soon when they grow up, but it was also a quick, effective way of keeping creative all the way throughout maternity and now life back as a working mum. From the champagne cork of the bottle we used to celebrate his arrival to my favourite trio of socks, it’s all in there somewhere and will, hopefully, show him at some point in the future what his first year of life was like.
And if nothing else, it appears to have inspired the girl to keep memories in a similar way.