Your baby is growing fast every day. One minute he’s so small you can comfortably cradle him in one hand. Then, before you know it, he’s crawling around the house… and walking, then running, faster than you can catch him!
You’ll want to capture these moments, not just the well-known milestone like the first steps or the first tooth, but the little expressions and quirks that make your child so special. Here are some great ideas for recording these wonderful details, so when your baby’s all grown up (and maybe has babies of his own) you’ll still have this keepsake of his first year.
1. Take a picture every day.
Of course, you have photos—thousands of them! But why not take one picture of him every day, and then place these in a special album? You’ll probably take a lot of cute close-ups, but be sure to document the every day rituals too: taking a bath, playing with a favorite toy, even lying down on the diaper changing table! Your goal is to capture every day life, and reflect your baby’s personality and the way your life has changed. For example, when you catch your child playing with his blocks, zoom out so your photo can also show the stuffed toys and board books strewn the living room. Believe it or not, you’ll miss that mess when he’s all grown up!
2. Use an object to ‘measure’ his growth.
Photos don’t always reflect your child’s relative size. To tell the story of his growth (beyond the inches recorded in his medical records during doctor’s visits) take a picture of him every month next to a stuffed toy. Or, when he’s six months old, lay him on the bed, right next to the onesie he wore when you brought him home from the hospital. Can you believe that he used to be that small?
3. Keep a mommy journal.
We know that the first year can be very hectic, and it can be a challenge to even find time to take a bath or brush your teeth! However, do try to spend at least 5 minutes writing down something every day. You can record your child’s habits (‘He’s drinking six ounces of milk now—and still asks for a cookie right after!’) or your thoughts and feelings.
This mommy journal will be both a wonderful keepsake and a powerful (and easy!) form of stress relief. You need ‘me time’—all work life balance advocates say that you have to give to yourself before you give to other people—and it can be very comforting to sit down with your journal and a cup of tea, releasing your thoughts and feelings on an ever-sympathetic journal page.
4. Keep a scrapbook.
A lot of people start scrapbooking after they have a child. It’s the perfect way to show off all those adorable photos—the gummy smiles, the fat bedimpled fingers, the baby outfits. Thankfully, there are many scrapbook supplies and ready-made scrapbook embellishments that make decorating a layout fast and easy. You can even get scrapbook kits that have matching papers, stickers and ribbon. This completely takes the guesswork out of scrapbooking—so you can finish a layout in as fast as five minutes.
5. Turn old baby clothes into a quilt.
Your child will outgrow his clothes very, very quickly. Instead of throwing or giving them away, select your favorites and cut the fabric into squares. You can then quilt these yourself, or bring them to a seamstress. You can also commission the project to a crafter friend, and pay her a small fee for her work.
This quilt is not only practical (your child will be able to use it for years!) but also has a special meaning and history to both of you. Every time you see it, you’ll remember the baby years. Every time he uses it, he’ll have a connection to his past. Chances are, this quilt will become a treasured family heirloom (not to mention a really good way to stay warm on cold winter nights).
6. Capture his handprints and footprints.
Many craft stores sell a plaster kit so you can make a cast of his handprints and footprints. You can frame this and hang it on the door.
Or, you can just apply paint and ink on his hand, and press it against a piece of cardstock. Write down his age and the date at the bottom. Then, frame the cardstock. Repeat this every year, and you’ll have a wonderful record of his growth and unique and meaningful room décor! Just arrange the frames in rows on the wall.
7. Place keepsakes in a shadowbox.
Bring your child’s christening outfit, a lock of his hair, first shoes, and other treasured memorabilia to a professional framer. He can then attach these to a shadowbox, or a special frame with a recessed opening that allows you to ‘hang’ three dimensional objects. This makes really great nursery décor!
8. Bronze his shoes.
When he outgrows his first pair of shoes, take these to a store that does special bronzing. (You can find the stores on the internet or in your local directory.) Usually the shoes will be mounted on a special stand. Some stores will also allow you to engrave a special message or even a photo of your child.