Baby books, pictures, regular family / friend updates, all have their place depending on preferences, but one tool that I've found particularly interesting is a detailed, annual documenting of the routine. It's amazing to me to look back at these and remember how normal and forever-feeling the routines were. They were an essential, regular part of life and I've often forgotten them completely.
Here are a couple fun excepts:
Three year old Routine: 1 pm Begin nap routine (in bed by 2 pm). Read three downstairs books while Cameron drinks a glass of milk. Let him pick two little cars to bring upstairs. Read three upstairs books. Pull Cameron by one foot (chuga chugaa choo choo) to his room and roll him over to reach the blue crib. Put on a clean diaper and pajamas. Turn on the fan. Rock while singing "Baby Mine" with Cameron filling in words. Carry Cameron to the crib, count "1,2,3" and drop him onto the mattress. Pick him up for one more "outside kiss". Hold "Grammy's Tigger" music animal so he can play with it gently, twice. Give him one kiss in the crib. Make kissing sounds while leaving and walking down the stairs.
Five year old Routine: 6:27pm Cameron turns off the light and I start singing "Baby Mine" while he gets in his bed. Then he picks where he gets his kisses (up to ten). Then I pick where I get my kisses. He especially likes to kiss each finger and see me wiggle my fingers saying "happy fingers" and then kiss all the way up to the shoulder of each arm and see me waving my arms, saying "happy arms" too. Then he asks what I'm going to do downstairs and I give an abbreviated version and he counts how many things. For example, I'll say, "I'm going to read, make dinner, and go to sleep." Then he'll tell me to have fun with my three things and I always tell him to have fun with his two things "good rest and sweet dreams". I wind my horse music box and sometimes the "Spoonful of Sugar" music box works too. He loves it if they're both going. In bed by 6:30pm.
The other idea I wanted to share is finding a method that works for recording endearing moments regularly. I write a weekly update and include a section called "cute antics". The tag for "cute antics" on the side bar includes antics form the few months I've done this blog. However, I have recorded them in my weekly updates since his birth and that means those memories will always be there for me and my husband and, eventually, my son. They're also a way to bring family close and let them share in the delights of his growth. I would not have believed how easy it is to forget The Little Things (as a friend notes in her aptly named blog). Here are just a sampling of the older ones that I enjoyed remembering as I randomly scanned old updates for writing this post:
• developing a seesaw routine. He gets his bottom way up in the air... falls over. He gets his head and chest way up in the air... falls over. He gets full credit for effort as he lifts one end and then the other, but simply can’t manage to get both up at the same time. I know... as soon as he does, he’ll be crawling away from me so fast that I’ll wish he was still stationary.
• yelling “red, green, red, green” as we moved along the metered on-ramp
• handing me the phone book and saying, “Read it.”
• yelling “Boob. Boob. Boob. Big Boob!” (I know that sounds odd, but what really happened was he saw his large bib! We brought it out to keep his clothes clean for the hair-cut-photos. He hadn’t seen it in a long time though, and he clearly forgot how to say “bib” correctly.)
• abbreviating matters by responding to getting something with, “Thank you welcome.”
• deciding a little strip of toast was so precious that he held it tightly through half his bath. It was rather amusing watching it float soggily for twenty minutes with Cameron firmly stating he was not “all done”. (He finally let me throw it out after it broke in two.)
• "progressing" from real sneezes to pretend sneezes to declaring, "Ah, ah, ah... Sneeze!"
• throwing his body into the couch with full sound effects while yelling "Crash!"
and one more of his whacky "opposites" that was just too bizarre to pass up...
• "Daddy in black car, not in meat-loaf." (Um, ya?!?! He developed a taste for meat-loaf last week, but I can't even guess where this connection came from.)
• developing an amusing fondness for yelling, "Bingo" whenever completing a task.
• walking with a literal spring in his step (He clearly really likes his developing jumping skills.)
• "Both!" Cameron gets to pick which hand I hold when we're walking together. I was a little surprised by this request, but both hands it was. I'm sure you can picture us sidling sideways along the city streets. He was all giggles at his brilliance and ya, I was smiling too.
• responding to being called a silly goose with yelling "I'm not a goose!" Then commenting knowingly, "Gooses don't watch movies."
• clearly demonstrating his lack of understanding of the concept "favorite". When one of his toys asked "What's your favorite food?" He answered, "Broccoli!"
• responding to an invitation to make a snowman with, "No, lets make snow soup!"
• responding immediately to me yawning and asking if was time to go to sleep by bolting into his bedroom where I found him a few minutes later hyperventilating with highly energetic pretend snoring.
•and a story:
He was running into the closet and I asked him where he was going. "To the airport!" came the excited reply as he closed the door. I smiled and was about to ask him about the trip when he opened the door, rolling the small luggage behind him, walked across the bedroom, and, as he closed the bedroom door announced, "I'll see you tomorrow."
• responding to my observation that my hands were cold by gently taking my hands, humming "Sleeping Beauty", and starting a little dance :) (There's another fairy-tale moment, a kitchen waltz to "I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream.")
• telling a classmate loudly to play with a toy in a different way and when the boy asked if Cameron was mad at him, Cameron answered, "No! I just pretend sometimes."
• seeing the screen credit for "Barbara Streisand" when we first watched "Hello Dolly" and asking excitedly, "Is it in Santa Barbara?" (Just a little mis-read :) )
• Suggesting I take a tuba on hikes so he can hear me
• "Lets take over the world?"
I asked, "Why?"
"So I can tell everyone what to do."
I pointed out, "That would take lots of time when you wouldn't be doing fun things yourself."
[Processing pause.] "Then I wouldn't."
(Can you tell he's been watching Daddy's Animaniacs cartoons? He's not quite as devoted as The Brain in the cartoon whose prime goal in each episode is to take over the world.)
So, there's a smattering of fun memories that I hadn't thought of in years and many of which I'd forgotten. Aside from whatever methods you've picked for recording, I hope you find it useful to add the ideas of capturing both a detailed annual routine and regular cute antics. I've loved the joy these records have provided me so far and I'm glad I'll have a way to allow those memories to stay close.