Written by Stephanie Lewis
Yes, guilty as charged — I could have done more with childhood memorabilia. But I’m asking for a fair trial before you throw the (baby) book at me. I’d like to plea bargain. In my defense, I have six children. Besides, shouldn’t fathers be persecuted for being an accomplice? They know where the ballpoint pens are kept, too!
Yesterday, my last (sixth!) child dragged out my firstborn’s “stuffed so full it’s tied shut with a ribbon” keepsake book to compare with her own minuscule 1/8 inch thin “baby pamphlet” as evidence of my crime. She’s lucky to have gotten any handwritten documentation out of me at all. I could’ve just shoved some loose teeth, a lock of hair, and a stray bootie in an empty Lucky Charms cereal carton and called it Sentimental Creative License.
May I present Exhibit A below? The essential Family Tree found on the first page of all self-priding Memory Books, filled out in my prettiest cursive for Baby #1’s book.
And now for my last child’s memory book, we have the version I’m most proud of. What an original family heirloom this will be!
As I further compare and contrast (to assert my innocence) all samplings from First Child’s Memory Book will be written in blue, whereas Sixth Child’s info (what little there is) will be in pink. This also reflects their genders, so the Creative Memory Scrapbooking people will be so proud of me!
BABY’S NAME: Benjamin
SIGNIFICANCE OF NAME: Your Dad and I bonded over watching actor Benjamin Bratt in the television series Law & Order. On our honeymoon, we kissed in front of the Big Ben clock in London!
BABY’S NAME: Lacy
SIGNIFICANCE OF NAME: I wanted to remember my favorite vintage blouse which got ruined when morning sickness made me vomit all over the Chantilly appliqué collar and sleeves.
HOW LABOR BEGAN: Shopping for nursery furniture, I felt a mild twinge so we rushed to the hospital. The nurses thought we were so cute and sent us back home three different times until the pains came closer together.
HOW LABOR BEGAN: At Disneyland, my water broke on Splash Mountain. Nobody believed me. Your siblings insisted we stay for the Electrical Light Parade. Sitting curbside (writhing in pain) I was suddenly seized by a huge contraction causing me to kick an extension cord out of an outlet. The entire park plunged into darkness.
THESE WONDERFUL INDIVIDUALS WERE PRESENT FOR YOUR BIRTH: Nana, Papa, Aunt Carol, Uncle Gary, Great Grandma Ethel, my wonderful obstetrician Dr. Pransky and of course, Daddy!
THESE WONDERFUL INDIVIDUALS WERE PRESENT FOR YOUR BIRTH: Pluto and two Dwarfs.
FAVORITE STUFFED ANIMAL: A darling lavender polka dotted poodle displayed in a doghouse on your dresser.
FAVORITE STUFFED ANIMAL: A cute dust bunny that hangs out under your crib.
YOUR FIRST SOLID FOOD: Mashed banana, rice puree and strained spinach.
YOUR FIRST SOLID FOOD: A piece of What’s His Name’s Big Mac, french fries, a diet coke.
FIRST WORDS: Mama, Dada, light, doggy, ball, cookie
FIRST WORDS: Help! Valium, postpartum depression, Crème Brûlée, Weight Watchers
FIRST LULLABY: Rockabye Baby, which I sang to you in the beautiful oak rocking chair!
FIRST LULLABY: I couldn’t have sung to you because I became tone deaf. Plus we used the rocking chair for kindling wood during a family camp out.
YOU BEGAN TO USE YOUR HANDS AT 6 months
THIS IS WHAT YOU DID: You reached out tentatively for a colorful rattle shaped like a butterfly!
YOU BEGAN TO USE YOUR HANDS AT 2 years
THIS IS WHAT YOU DID: You shoved a Sharpie and this Baby Memory Book into my arms and looked expectantly into my eyes.
And now, in keeping with tradition, the classic page with my firstborn’s preserved hand and foot prints:
Though not depicted below, 6th Baby does possess a complete set of Hands and Feet. I thought leaving that part to the imagination added a nice touch of mystery!
Now I admit there may be some substantiated claims of my lazy ways. So sue me! But don’t be surprised if I throw myself on the mercy of the court, claiming self-defense and get off with just a light warning. Because at the end of the day, it’s not the time spent documenting the memories that’s important—it’s the time spent creating them together in the first place.
About the Author: Stephanie D. Lewis regularly contributes to The Huffington Post and her work has been featured on Bluntmoms, In The Powder Room, Erma Bombeck as well as humor columns for local print publications. She pens a humor blog called “Once Upon Your Prime” and was a 2014 recipient of a Voices of the Year award at BlogHer. You can find her 2008 novel “Lullabies & Alibis” (marriage, motherhood, mirth, madness!) on Amazon. As a single mother of six, Stephanie doesn’t want a full time housekeeper, but rather a live-in psychiatrist. It’s the potty training and driver’s training all happening simultaneously … too many accidents.