Baby Journals: How to Keep Your Baby Books Updated, the Do-it-Yourself Style

I have here with me a stack of three journals. One is a Taschen, the other is a Piccadilly, and the third is an unidentified good quality hardbound.

These are my family’s baby books, one for each son. These are where the memories and keepsakes of each of my babies’ growing-up years are recorded. These keepsake journals are not the usual kind that you can buy in stores. Inside these books, there are no illustrated pages of pink and blue cutesy designs, color coded according to the child’s gender. There are no specified areas to fill up with milestones and growth charts and baby’s first everything.

The journal pages are blank, so we fill them up with anything that takes our fancy. We personalize with drawings and handwritten notes and homemade graphs and charts. There are funny quotations from their toddler years, roughly sketched scenes of holidays and vacations, photos randomly pasted in place of a baby photo album. And no, it is not scrapbooking, although you could do it that way if you wished.

We all know how hard it is to manage time in a busy household, so sometimes we let other people write on the journal pages. That way, the kids have love notes from Grandma, some titos and titas, and close friends; even as their parents are too busy to update the baby books. What better way to make them feel loved? Unlike the ready-made store-bought journals, it is not only a toddler’s 1st year growth and development that gets recorded. We fill up the pages as long as there are any pages left to fill. My firstborn’s keepsake memory book had a recent entry from when a godmother came to visit, and he’s already sixteen.

In the Taschen diary, with the painting of Matisse’s garden pond on its hardbound cover, a lock of my son’s hair is taped along with his clipped fingernails. In our haphazard way of recording his first haircut, we failed to place a date. However, this page is right after his Happy 1st Birthday page, thus giving us a rough estimate of when this great event in our baby’s young life could have occurred.

On the first page of Kabu’s baby journal, we attempted to record the day of his birth: it was in Banaue Ifugao at the Good News Clinic. Dr. Ligot was the doctor, with Ms. Maria Newane as the head nurse and Ate Rose assisting.

It was raining. A wind came through the open window as I lay there in the delivery table. The good doctor was attempting small talk to distract a first time mother from the pain of childbirth. The expectant Tatay was peeking from the delivery room window with the first-time tito and tita. Mom was in the other room, nervously smoking and chanting her Buddhist chant. Eldest sister was somewhere doing something, as seen clearly in the drawing. It was 7:45. All around us were the rice terraces and fireflies and God’s little creatures.

Now, let a common baby journal try to capture that experience.

Excerpts from the pages of the baby book journals:

1. This is how good Kabu was at drawing when he was 8 years old. A totally forgotten skill that he is attempting to relearn at 16.

2. Kalinaw's birth

3. Davao-based artist/writer Angeli Pamila Chi stays a few days with us.

4. Playing Kaaro, from Ninang Joy

Let me end this blog post by sharing some KALINAWISMS:

Kalinaw:     Nay, what are you checking?
Nanay:       My uterus.
Kalinaw:    Your Terus?
Nanay:       No, uterus.
Kalinaw:    No! I am not a Terus!

And another one:
Nanay:       If you had a cow, what would you name it?
Kalinaw(after a long pause):    I will be thinking and thinking and thinking

16 years and 3 sons after, and she finally thinks she can be a mom blogger. Kelly is an artist and writer who loves to stare at a blade of grass on her good days. On bad days, she drinks inordinate amounts of coffee and multitasks as her soul dreams of mountains unclimbed and her warm soft bed. 


Naomi said...

This is so inspiring Kelly :)) Awww, your sons are lucky that you are ever so diligent and creative in keeping those wonderful memories. I wish I had a mom like that! haha :)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, simply beautiful! I love how creative and inquisitive your boys can be. It's like I got to know a bit more about them through this post. :)

artnanay said...

Thank you, I had such fun writing this. My first post, yay!

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