Monday, February 6, 2012

Just Take My Word For It....

I had this rogue notion to get my Mommy-act together one night last week and update the kids’ baby books. If I had known how far I’d fallen behind or the extent of the things I’d have to try and recall, I would’ve just watched TV, like the actual surviving-day-to-day Mommy that I am.
First up, Brainy. That one seemed promising because a great deal of it was filled out lovingly and methodically back when he was an only child for two and a half years. I even managed to keep up with it for about a year and a half after the twins came home. Because I didn’t leave the house back then. But suddenly, there are no height and weight recordings from his check-ups, though I’m certain he’s grown since he was four. No problem, I’ll call the pediatrician and get those. My goal is to do it before he turns nine.
Next, in an effort to crush my own spirit, I decided to do some work on the twins’ books, which I haven’t touched since they started walking. I recorded that accomplishment for them and have been chasing, wrangling, and peeling them off the ceiling ever since.
Their books start off like a good read, basic information about our family, where we live, the pregnancy, etc. The handwriting in theirs is markedly sloppier than my son’s. Everything I’ve done since August 22nd of 2006 has been rushed. In the section I was supposed to list gifts, I put toys, clothes, diapers…whereas in my son’s book, I described the clothes and wrote out what toys exactly and from whom. I stopped recording the twins’ growth at age two, so I’m going to have to get a cheat sheet from the pediatrician for that too.
It was the next section is where it got sketchy. Where this blog started to write itself. It was the page of “firsts”. Again, I was recording things left and right until they started walking, then nothing. So, as my husband, mother, and I sat down in the family room that night, I had to rack my brain for things like “First dressed yourself”, “First went potty”, “First brushed your teeth”, “Drew a picture”, “Wrote the alphabet”, “Made a Friend”….Uh-oh, I don’t remember. How exact do these need to be? Can I ballpark it? Like, “Well, I know you were older than one and younger than six.”
I thought maybe my husband and mom could help me piece it together. But, actually, we couldn’t even always agree on what the question was asking. “Do they mean when we brushed her teeth or she brushed her teeth?” “She’s been friends with A for her whole life, but is that a friend I made for her?” “I think they mean when she made a friend by herself.” “A trip where? Like to Nana’s house, or a vacation?”
Okay, wait. One at a time. Stretch…“Dressed yourself”.... Do parents record a certain date. Like Wednesday, April 27th? We agreed that she was probably three. Sometime that year? We also liked 3 as the answer to when she first drew a picture. We voted on four for her brushing her own teeth… “So, we’re going with four, right?” I asked, pen poised over the book. We exchanged glances, a silent agreement that these made up guesses would become fact in the baby annals. Nods. Done.
That’s when I decided to just fill the rest out with whatever seemed reasonable or appropriate. How will they know the difference? And it’s not a science exam; there’s more than one right answer. There’s only one “true” answer, but I don’t recall it, so que cera cera! Won’t they just be pleased that I took the time to fill it out? It’s very likely that Stretch DID get her first pair of shoes when she was ten months old, at Stride Rite. Stride Rite for sure. Ten months??? She wasn’t walking yet, but I don’t think I took her to church barefoot like a vagrant.
For her first haircut, which was when she was about four, I think….I was supposed to put in a before and after picture. Ooops! I could put in a newborn picture and one from this week. Technically, that’d be before and after.
The book has a place to fill in the address of her first pediatrician. Seriously! I mean, obviously I could look that up, but why? Will thirty-year-old Stretch ever need to know the address of her first pediatrician? Please tell me she’ll have more important things to fill her time with than doing a nostalgic drive by of her childhood doctor’s office. So, some things I’m skipping on principle!
I want to catch up on these books and then find some quiet corner of the attic for them to gather dust. The moments are happening now, and I don’t want to miss them because I’m caught up in recording them. I can just make up something realistic later and none of us will know the difference twenty years from now.
Just another helpful blog on short-cut parenting :)

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