The baby book guilt
If you are coming to the end of your first pregnancy no doubt someone will have bought you the Baby Book. This is usually a very well-meaning friend who has no children or a supermum. In the last few weeks you will sit down with your partner and start to lovingly fill in information about yourselves, your families and current events. Whilst you are doing this you will be thinking about how that little baby, who is yet to come into the world, will look through this book when they are older, enjoying this detailed picture you have painted of the world they were about to enter. They will enjoy the observations you make about their development; when they first rolled over, first word, songs they used to enjoy, when they actually slept through the night. And how they will smile at you as you regale them with anecdotes about the strategies you used to get them to sleep / eat / stop crying for no apparent reason.
A beautiful baby book to record your memories in.
I got to about 3 months with Freyja’s baby book. The rest is blank. In fact some of the entries in the first few months are also blank as, please take note baby book publishers, Freyja was not weighed at the start of each month and as for her length Health Visitors do this once. Baby book publishers obviously have never tried to measure the length of a small child. If they had there wouldn’t be a space to lovingly record it every month.
The inside of a baby book (or what my girls’ baby books actually look like inside)
So after giving up with Freyja’s baby book I made peace with the fact that it wasn’t complete. I mean, she would be grateful with my chronicling of her very early life, right?
However, along came Emily, and another baby book. This time round with a boisterous toddler I didn’t even have time to fill in all the stuff you can before your new little bundle arrives. Emily’s baby book is blank (with the exception of the odd tear stain as I lament my uselessness at filling in records of my children’s development).
Now I am faced with a real dilemma. Freyja has a baby book with an albeit fairly cursory description of early development. Emily has nothing. Freyja can read how she loved me singing “Old MacDonald” to her at 2 months. Emily just has to rely on me remembering how much she loves “The Wheels on the Bus” (specifically “the babies on the bus go up and down” whilst being bounced up and down).
So do I do nothing and watch Emily’s disappointment as she turns each blank page of her book? Do I pretend that hers (and possibly Freyja’s baby book) never existed? Do I make something up to go in there when (and if) I have time to do so?
So, new mothers-to-be here is the baby book guilt that I imagine a lot of you will experience. I have come up with a few solutions. Obviously this blog. Thinking about it, I don’t really care when I started to walk. I can do it now – hooray for me! I don’t care about how much I weighed at 3 months – I get enough of that now. Focus on what is important. The anecdotes that you can tell them. The embarrassing stories you can tell their boyfriends. The tales of their misdemeanors to share with them when they are despairing over their own children.
The other thing is that the smartphone is your new best friend. I have hundreds of photos of the girls. Freyja had photos taken of her as a baby whenever her facial expression changed. I am going to create photo books from all these pictures to chronicle their life. See! I am a good mommy after all. Saying that we still haven’t sorted out our wedding album after over 2 years now, so don’t hold your breath!!