Life & Style | Parenting

Saving special moments

Do you remember the first time your child made breakfast? Hmph! Remembering what they had for lunch yesterday is hard enough. Mother-of-two Louisa Wilkins looks for ways to back-up her memories

  • By Louisa Wilkins,
  • Published: 17:34 January 28, 2013
  • Aquarius

Louisa Wilkins
  • Image Credit: ANM
  • “The fact I could forget that my son wants to do ‘gymkaskiks’ because he likes the lycra outfit is too great a risk.”

Over two years of writing this column, I have learnt a lot about parenting theory through interviewing experts and researching topics, and it has been fascinating. One of the most important lessons, however, was learnt through the writing process itself; and that’s the importance of documenting your children’s growth.

I’m not talking about dates scratched into an old-fashioned wooden height-measuring stick, or the gazillions of photos that we take and store in never-seen-again hard-drive files. I mean making note of funny conversations, or keeping a chronological record of the specific issues and challenges that each child goes through as he or she passes through different developmental stages – a log book to keep track of the rapid speed at which your child’s universe expands.

Last week my daughter discovered Michael Jackson and listened to Beat It on repeat for two hours. The week before she became fixated on death and how she would feel when her dogs/her parents/Justin Beiber died (in that order). This week she’s been asking about her baby years and I’ve been stunned by the details I’ve forgotten.

I’m not saying height measurements won’t be fun to look back on, but when my kids are fully grown and have children of their own and I am sitting on the dock of a bay reminiscing about these glory years, this is the stuff I want to remember. OK, I know I could just carry on writing these columns for myself – give myself a deadline every month and really commit to sticking to it. But I won’t.

Or I could set up email accounts for each child (again) and promise myself (again) that as funny, or interesting, things happen, I will hammer out a quick email and send it off to their account, thereby ending up with a full ‘life and times’ for each child. But I have set up emails three times and can’t even remember the addresses, let alone the passwords.

Alternatively I could go old school and buy a little journal to scribble notes in when I get the chance. But I started that in my first pregnancy and by the end of the first trimester I was already leaving pages empty for missed entries – “Yeah, I’ll fill them in next week when I have time.” Again, it never happened.

Related Links

I don’t feel guilty or ashamed about this. I am full of great intentions to do many things (FlyWheel, Ripe Market, pick up my Emirates ID card), which I never seem to manage to squeeze in. So I will accept myself and resolve to find another way to squeeze in this small but utterly important project.

A parenting forum discussion on the topic mainly offers up suggestions of scrap-booking, but one woman writes a letter to her children every year on their birthdays. A great idea made even better by the fact it only involves being organised one day per year (per child), which is achievable.

Photographer and parenting blogger Kenny Ferguson suggests interviewing your child and recording it. He says, “Ask them about their least and most favourite things, and ask open-ended questions about themselves. Make it a yearly event. One day they’ll love looking back and seeing first hand how they changed over the years.” I like. One for the ‘possible’ pile.

Kenny and some other bloggers suggest doing a ‘day in the life of...’ video. Choose one day and record (or photograph) everything your child does that day. Then store the files in a folder labelled with the date.

On yet another site, I find an app called Evernote, which you can use to store thoughts, pictures, documents, videos and anything else your heart desires. The selling point of Evernote is that your file is stored on a ‘cloud’, making it unbreakable and impossible to lose. When you’re talking about using something over two decades, these are factors that should be given some weight.

Hmmm... All great ideas and certainly worth a try at least. After all, the fact I could simply forget that my son said he wants to do “gymkaskiks” because he likes the lycra outfit is too sad for me to risk it. And when my daughter makes it on to the stage as the singing, dancing extravaganza she hopes to be, it would be a tragedy not to be able to look back at a video of the seizure-esque break-dancing routine she performed aged six.

And the fact that they both say “changed” with a “t” on the front, and “morling” instead of “morning” – and that they double up their past tenses to say, “I sang-ed”, or “I ran-ed”, is too personal, too unique to be forgotten. The giggles over one toilet-related word. The sibling battles over who can press the buttons on the microwave. The tantrums, the laughter, the contagious curiosity. It’s all part of their own personal stories and I don’t want to forget a thing.

The monthly wellbeing and family magazine

Aquarius
Life & Style editor's choice
FROM THE NETWORK

More from aquarius

More from friday

  • wheels issue 500 teaser

    wheels crew and Emirati drift champion Ahmed Al Amiri line up and SRT Viper, BMW M235i and a full-on Toyota 86 drift car to lay down some rubber at Yas Marina Circuit

  • WH_140926_Long term (2)
    Long-term review: GMC Sierra SLT - Week 5

    It’s not easy parking something that’s the size of a Nimitz class carrier. The Sierra has its standard-kit aids, but the valet guy is your best friend

  • WH_140926_ntfh_audi5000
    Not Their Finest Hour: Audi 5000

    Celebrating the greatest cock-ups in automotive history. This week we look at the Audi 5000

  • WH_140926_News Bentley (3)
    Bentley Mulsanne Speed: Heavy hitter

    Crewe’s latest flagship offers supercar performance in a car that weighs more than a Range Rover Sport. As in, 350kg more…

  • WH_140926_Spy shots (1)
    BMW M4 GTS spotted

    Munich is being a little crafty with the disguise on its latest prototype lapping the Nürburgring

More from Wheels

More from alpha

More from insideout

Quick Links

  1. Business

  2. Sport

  3. The latest Entertainment news

  4. The latest Lifestyle stories

  5. Blogs

  6. Opinion

In Life

  1. UAE food features, reviews and more

  2. Shopping

  3. Motoring

  4. Travel

  5. Gadgets

  6. Beauty & Fashion

  7. Interiors

  8. People

  9. Health

  10. Education

Latest in Life

  1. Fred Perry ‘Sub-Sonic Live’ gig in Dubai

  2. Ileana stays cagey about SRK film

  3. Yasmin Le Bon at Fashion Forward

  4. Mexican’s ‘Potter’ hoard is world’s biggest

  5. Vuitton $100m venue upstages show in Paris

  6. How to be fit for life: top tips