My daughter is turning 2 this month, but according to her baby book, she’s not a day over 5 months.
I promise that I have no excuse for this. For starters, she is my first child. I know that baby books for second-third-fourth-or-fifth children are about as rare as purple unicorns (did I buy one for my second kid? Uhhhhh…how about no). But my daughter is my miracle baby. She is the daughter I finally had after a long and grueling battle against infertility, a couple rounds of IVF, and repeat pregnancy loss. She is one of the most loved, wanted, cherished, celebrated children to ever walk this earth. So why can’t I get my shit together and document her major milestones?
It’s my fault, really. I’m the one who registered for the stupid thing in the first place. An antiquated notion, probably: a baby book. It’s like, to write in? With a pen? How quaint. I’m the equivalent of those people who register for fine china for their weddings and wind up trying to sell it along with Great Aunt Edna’s oversized china cabinet at a yard sale 15 years later. No, people don’t want it. It’s just another dust collector taking up space.
But as far as the baby book is concerned, I thought it would be different since I’m actually a writer by trade. I prefer library books to Kindles and I carry around a little notepad to jot down my grocery list (no fancy app required). That’s why I figured I would ace the baby book “test.”
I also think the book itself is to blame. I mean, there’s an entire page devoted to immunization records—who the hell cares about that? Will my darling daughter come to me years from now, curl up in my lap, and ask me once again to tell her about the time I held her down while the nurse efficiently injected vaccines into her chubby thigh while she screamed bloody murder? I think not.
Also, the photo sizes. This particular baby book designer decided that it would be “so cute” to include shaped photos, such as ovals and trapezoids, scattered amongst the memories. It’s hard enough finding the time to order photos online and paying 5 cents per print and $92 shipping. Now I also have to think about how to cut my cheap-yet-somehow-expensive prints into octagons without cropping any major body parts? Yeah, thanks a lot.
The baby book has been looming over my head for literally years now. It’s been sitting at the top of my (handwritten) to-do list, mocking me week after week and getting no closer to completion. For one thing, I can’t remember when she did the cute things she did. When was it she started clapping with unbridled glee every time we said yay or any variation thereof? What was the exact day those two front teeth finally broke through her gums? These days she’s speaking in full sentences. How am I supposed to remember the first time she said mama?
My phone has approximately 2,500 pictures of her from the last two years, but iPhone photo reels do not a baby book make. My plan was to have the book lovingly displayed, perhaps next to an exquisitely frosted, 3-tier cake, at her first birthday party so that her guests could exclaim over her progressive cuteness. Clearly that never happened. Now the task of finishing is so overwhelming, I’ll be lucky if I have it done by her high school graduation.
I’m a good mother. I love my daughter more than words can say. But next week, come trash day, my garbage bag might be one baby book heavier— because baby book guilt is just not worth it.