Monday, December 23, 2013

The Importance of Keeping a Baby Book

...or "Why I Do What I Do"

There are a lot of great reasons to keep a baby book for your little one(s).  Keeping track of milestones is not only great for reminiscing in later years, knowing that your little one is hitting their milestones is important to track for progress, even years down the road.  The sooner a developmental delay can be identified, the sooner intervention can take place and quite possibly avoid problems later on down the road.  Your pediatrician will want to know at each of your well-baby visits that your child has not only reached specific milestones, but when they happened.

Another reason to keep a baby book is none other than avoiding the dreaded "mommy guilt."  Believe it or not, not writing down when those milestone occurred can create a great deal of negative feelings and then the overwhelming feeling that occurs when it's time to finally play catch up may keep the catch up from ever even happening.  More simply put: the more you have to write down, the less likely you'll write down any of it.  This tends to be the case, more often than not, for successive children.  Then the "mommy guilt" is even worse when the kids get older and compare the lack of documentation of their lives to their older siblings.  Luckily, my mom had four years between me and my older sister, so for being a third child, my baby book is pretty well filled out.  Of course there are gaps here and there, but the fact that I can ask my mom when I did such and such and she can say "I don't know, check your baby book" is usually good enough for me.  I have yet to compare my book to my older siblings, but what I've got is good enough for when it was made.

This brings me to my next reason for keeping a baby book, FOR YOUR CHILDREN. Inevitably kids will ask where they come from at some point, being able to pull out a book (or it's equivalent) makes answering that question a lot easier.  Of course I'm not recommending putting all of the conception details into a baby book, but typically looking through the book (or again, it's equivalent) will squash the birds and the bees question, for a while anyway.   Looking even further into the future, when your kids have their own kids, it will be important for them to compare when they did something with when their child is doing those things.  For example, my son is just now, at fifteen months, getting his first tooth.  When the one year milestone passed and no pearly whites were in sight, I of course got concerned.  But since I myself did not have too many teeth early on (thanks to being able to find out in my own baby book), a lot of my concerns were put at bay (and searching on Google was helpful as well).

Looking even further down the road, as much as we don't want to think about our own mortality, we will not always be around and giving our children the chance to read about our thoughts and feelings towards them and gain deeper insight into those early years and the relationships we developed during that time, can really make all the difference.  In the case of Video Baby Books, seeing how we look at our babies, the way we respond to them, how we talk about them, how we look at them, is a priceless treasure that will mean more to them than we will ever know.

If a typical baby book is not for you, you are not alone.  Feel free to check out my previous blog post on the typical baby book and alternatives that exist.  If you're an expectant or new parent and already feeling overwhelmed, you can always delegate the responsibility to me and have me create a Video Baby Book for you.  Check out my website, like me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.  On my website you can sign up for my mailing list to receive the "Top Ten Home Movie Failures To Avoid."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

So You've Got a Ton of Photos of Baby, What Now?

Long gone are the days when you would think about each snap of the shutter and eagerly take a roll of exposed film to the drug store and wait two days for your prints.  We have become a society of instant gratification, cooing over each and every photo as they are taken, sometimes at the expense of missing an even better shot unfortunately.  If you're like me, your phone is slowly becoming a mobile photo album, constantly going back over old shots, reminiscing about when baby was small(er).

So what do you do with all of these wonderful photos? Of course you can still print them, cell phone cameras are pretty high quality these days and the auto focus usually grabs the right point in the frame, but then what? Buy an actual "Photo Album" to put them in and then find a place on a shelf for the album and bring it out to coo over every once in a while? Not too practical for this modern age of digital consumption.  You could pick a few of your best shots, store them on a memory card and put that card into one of those picture frames that creates slide show.  The problem with both of these ideas is that then the picture is just a picture, it doesn't tell the whole story.

We don't want to think about the one day when we will no longer be around to fill in the gaps about the story surrounding each picture.  As much as we love to take pictures, look at them, and share them with friends and family, the photos we take are sometimes more for our little ones than ourselves.  Have you ever taken the time to go through your parents old photo albums and scan through the faded orange images, trying to make out when and where each photo was taken and the circumstances surrounding those photos? I know that I have.  Sometimes I actually remember those events, or rather remember being told of the events and have now incorporated those stories into my own memory banks as actual memories.  Regardless, it's the stories surrounding the photos that make the memories valuable, not that Kodak paper those pictures are printed on. 

So how does one record those memories and stories to go with the pictures for years and possibly generations to come? One option is to create a digital scrapbook of sorts, using any of the wonderful online options.  Shutterfly will often send out discount codes for a free 20 page album, usually enough for incorporating a good amount of memories.  Remember to incorporate text with your pictures, it doesn't have to be lengthy, just enough to fill in the blanks where the "thousand words" of the picture leaves off.  If you have been taking notes somewhere of milestones, those can be added in with dates around the period of time the pictures were taken. Be sure to incorporate a number of pictures per page to really get the best bang for your buck, and make the album as much of a joy to look at as it was to make.

The other option you have is to take those digital photos and create a video out of them.  There are a lot of free programs that computers come with to create digital slide shows.  Just make sure you have the capability to incorporate text as well (see paragraph above about using text with photos).  You can also put a few recorded soundbites in as well.  Most cell phones have the capability to record audio notes.  Use this as an opportunity for your little one to hear your voice.  If you can easily incorporate some mini videos as well, that will make the entire piece a lot more interesting to watch.  After all, if a video is created with love and energy but no one every gets to enjoy it, it never really exists.

Video editing tips will be in a future blog post.  Be sure to sign of for my mailing list to receive all of my tips and tricks!