Monday, August 1, 2011

Big Bird & the Baby Book

While having a cathartic afternoon of cleaning my basement (you do not need to see visuals of this), I came across this little gem.
It may look a little yellowing and decrepit but, I'm so happy I opened it up. 

For the next half hour I became completely lost in reading it, turning page after page as it rested on top of the washing machine, and laughed so hard I got an ache on my right side.
It became evident to me that his book, my baby book, was a true labor of love. I can only imagine the countless hours that went into creating this keepsake that is so meaningful and beautiful that I doubt I would have appreciated the value of it unless I was a mother myself.
Among first birthday cards, a "No Cavities!" award from my childhood dentist who has since passed away,  a 1974 church bulletin for a Sunday Night Revival Service that listed me as the newest addition to the church family, baby gift lists and inspiration for my daughter's future room, I came across these treasures:

(Per my mom's notes) "A picture of the clown (Daddy) and Mama - since Mama is pregnant it's easy to see who it who."
As I have wondered if I should be worried about my daughter's love of white wine, I see things like this and I know she's going to be OK. (Insert picture I came home with as a four year old.)
(Per Mom's notes, "Notice anything Daddy?")
I laughed hysterically, tears rolling down my face and then I read the small note tucked just beneath my Matisse written to my Montessori teacher from my mom:


     I do not know if this will be of any news to you but lately Brooke has had an insatiable desire to learn  to print letters. She is constantly asking Gerald or myself to sit and watch/help her print. So far she has learned B, b, H, t, o & E.

The letter goes on to ask if Marian and the other teachers could possibly work with me on related activities since my desire was deep. I love that it was signed, "Brooke's mom, Julia".

It made me smile because I immediately thought of my own first born and his insatiable appetite for letters.
 (Drawing letters on the driveway is a daily activity.)
 (He loves directing Mommy, Daddy and babysitters what letters and words to write.)
(How he decorated his first Easter egg this year.)

One day I told the kids I was going to build them a fort to watch a movie in. I asked them if they wanted a big or little fort. Hunter informed me he wanted a "letter fort". 
 And a letter fort is what he got.

Lately he has been doing a lot of spelling. "N-O spells no, O-N spells on, M-O-M spells mom" all day long. One day he was doing this and then said with full confidence, "V-Q spells gas!". I let him believe that, yes, V-Q does spell gas.

A few more pages into my baby book I came across notes my mom made on who I was as a four year old:  "very prissy, hardheaded, loves Donny & Marie Osmond, Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Muppet Show, Little House on the Prairie, can carry on a delightful conversation, loves to color and draw, best friend is Sarah McGee, and is an absolutely wonderful sister to Josh as she shares easily and unselfishly."
These traits sound very much like two little people I know (other than the unselfish sharing.)

Me and my little bro.

 (Josh, I always knew I loved you rainbows and chocolate!)

Apparently, even as a four year old I loved to just put it out there. My mom says that one night while she was rocking me, pregnant with my youngest brother, I had the gall to say, "Mommy, your baby is big. You know how I know that? Your tummy is so grouchy!"

I also insisted that the baby was going to be a girl and her name would be Akaleisha. It turns out Akaleisha was a boy and thank goodness my parents didn't let me have the final say in his name.
 (My very good looking brother who I'm thankful for and 
I'm sure he's even more thankful my parents didn't take my advice on a name.)

With just a few more minutes to spare before the kids woke up, I leafed through the remainder of the book. I smiled with delight at one of the last excerpts because it sums me up best. 

(Per my Mom's notes) "Brooke asks me where her toy box is. I tell her in her room. She asks, 'what color is it?' and I tell her 'yellow, red and blue'. She smiles, claps her hands and says, 'very good, that is right!'". 

See? I always wanted to be a Mommy I just didn't know it for a long time. 

Oh, and did you know that snow actually is God's sand? That's what my mom told me when I was just over a year old. I like it and I think I'm going to pass that onto my own kids when they begin to tire of the thick, fluffy snow that frequents our northeastern yard during the cold winter months. 

Mom, thanks for working so hard to create such a special keepsake for me and my children. I hope they will read and relish this online memoir as much as I have enjoyed learning about my own young self. I love you!

P.S. Look what arrived in a box from Grammy the week I discovered my baby book. My childhood winter hat. Its been the favorite item of the week at our house.
"I don't want to grow up. 
I like being little."
-Sylvia, age 3, excerpt from A Child's World
Josh, baby Emerson, Grammy and a still-very-prissy me.


  1. Like mother like daughter, keep it going.


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