Wednesday 22 November 2017

A Treasury of minor milestones

When one of my friends got married his mum presented him with a beautiful gift. It contained Christmas tree ornaments which she had collected for him -- one for every year of his life.

I love the idea of celebrating a child's life through all their little achievements. I've kept diaries for my three children that record milestones and happy moments such as first steps, first teeth and favourite foods. I also use them to write down their idiosyncrasies, such as when Cal used to call yoghurt 'yolis' and how Ely currently calls computers 'bicuters'.

For more than a year Cal called crisps 'crispmas', as he first learned the word around December. We loved his special lingua franca. One of the joys of parenting is listening to all the funny things children come out with and all the hilarious conclusions they draw.

We might imagine that we'll never forget a child's catchphrase or confused vocabulary but, as time rolls on, the inevitable does happen. A baby diary is a great way to prevent brain rot and many of them come with spots to stick in photos of grandparents, first birthdays and first holidays.


I'm rubbish at printing off photos, and most of the prints I have of my children were given to me by relations. However, one thing I am good at is hoarding. As a result I have three wooden wine boxes that I've turned into memory boxes for each of my children. Inside you'll find a mix of mundane and special items that record their childhoods.

In each box there's the card that hung at the end of their cots in Holles Street recording their name, time of birth and weight. I have each of their very first babygros put away, and I feel certain my daughter won't believe she was ever so tiny. Born seven weeks early she weighed in at just 4lbs 11oz.

Each of the boxes contains their first pair of shoes, boarding cards from their first holiday abroad, and in the boys' cases, curls from their first haircut. There's a selection of baby cards from close family and friends as well, which show the delight their arrival into this world caused.

Over the years I'll cram the boxes with school reports, tickets from special events and odd photos.

In one way it's like a magic box of historic DNA that will go towards explaining who these people are. I plan to keep the boxes until the children are old enough to appreciate their contents.

Imagine being able to present a memory box to each of my children when they get married or become parents! I can't think of a sweeter or more poignant gift.

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