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Creative Parenting 101: Holding Onto Your Babies, One Illegible Page At A Time


Every now and then here at the Scrawl I like to throw in a “Creative Parenting 101” post. It’s been a while, and I thought that Fatherhood Friday would be a good day to bring it back this week.

Whether you are a parent or not, you absolutely know that each little bit of childhood is a fleeting thing. Once those crazy kids grow a bit and move beyond the current stage they’re in, it’s all over (most of the time! I’m not talking about when they move out and then move back…). That’s why I have mentally frozen moments in time for my own selfish purposes; for example, I vividly remember walking with the younger boy, his little hand totally enclosed in mine. I thought to myself, “I have to remember that today, his whole hand fits inside mine.” I’m glad I took that moment to consciously mark the memory in my brain. We spend so much time just trying to take care of everything and everybody that we don’t often pause to absorb what’s truly joyful at that moment.

Obviously it’s impossible to keep your kids little forever, and frankly, who in their right mind would want that? (I’ve always said that I enjoyed each and every stage better than the last one, until the boys each hit puberty. Then there was a big, annoying bump in the road…and then we could enjoy them again.) Some things, however, are precious and there are tangible ways of reminding yourself about them.

I wrote a while back about the older boy’s Thankful Journal. That was awesome and I’m so glad I have it. I found something else I wanted to share, today while I was checking out the suitcase situation in preparation for our spring break trip in two weeks: his scrapbook.

I was up to my ears in the scrapbook craze just as it was getting hot in the ’90s. As the mom of two little ones, however, I didn’t get alot of time to drag out all of my supplies and sit there like a busy bee.

At some point, I got the bright idea to get the older boy his own scrapbook and have him make his own while I did mine (the younger boy would be napping).

I took him to help pick out his own scrapbook, and the first thing I had him do was draw a family portrait. Priceless.

After that, we pulled out some photos that I took, extras that he could use. He attached them to the pages and then dictated what he wanted on the captions to me, and I wrote it so it was legible.

Then, later, I thought to myself, “Are you nuts? He can write. Not well, but he can write! And he can take pictures!”

We got him a camera before our trip to Disney World and, when we returned, he and I got back to scrapbooking. He only ended up doing about 15 pages in the entire book (first graders get busy, you know!), but I treasure them dearly. Here are two samples:

Translation, in his words:
(Top photo) This is “insert name of little bro here”. I went on it (the “A”) to, but the picture din’t show me in.
(Bottom photo) Over ahead you will see the kace (cake) of the Disny kasseall (castle) but it rilly is fake. (FYI, for WDW’s 25th anniversary, they remodeled the outside of Cinderella’s castle to look like a giant cake)

(Top photo) This is the Disny pool. I took the picsher of it because I never want to miss it.
(Bottom photo) That is one of the halltells (hotels). I took it because I think it is cool.

Not only is this stuff fun to look at, but it’s great to have your child’s perspective on what’s important to them at various stages in his/her life, like cool halltells.

I could go a step further and add how allowing your child to help you with the seemingly important task of scrapbooking not only enhances your time together, but might possibly even build self-esteem…but I won’t. Wait, I just did.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mags March 20, 2009, 1:58 pm

    There is a very good chance that you and I have been in the same area at the same time or even that I have smiled at you! I worked on Main St. USA during the 25th Anniversary-during the entire time the castle was that ugly cake! I also worked as a greeter welcoming people into the park!

  • Jason March 20, 2009, 2:34 pm

    My oldest has his own camera but he prefers using ours still. He takes tons of pictures.

  • WeaselMomma March 20, 2009, 2:37 pm

    Very cool to have.

  • Otter Thomas March 20, 2009, 3:06 pm

    I love his insight on the pictures. Very cool.

  • Bella Daddy March 20, 2009, 3:15 pm

    Such the GREAT IDEA! We take scores upon scores of pics….thanks for the smile!

  • ciara March 20, 2009, 3:26 pm

    this a cute post…love the 1st scribble and his thoughts. my girls got digital cameras for christmas, but they have yet to really use them. we are going on a family road trip down the sierras and back up hitting places like yosemite, mono lake, a hot springs, etc. we are making it a photography trip. maybe i’ll get them a scrapbook. 🙂

  • MileHighDad March 20, 2009, 4:02 pm

    Don’t blink! Or they’ll be gone!

  • Joeprah March 20, 2009, 6:01 pm

    Very cool trip down memory lane. I too love the handwriting and scribbles. When a tot draws a smiley face I light up. I love those stick figures.

  • Melissa March 20, 2009, 8:16 pm

    Awe! And here I am throwing every scrap of paper away. Yikes, looks like I need to remedy that.

  • i am the diva March 20, 2009, 8:31 pm

    wow, i love that… what a great idea. i may have to do the same when Chewie gets old enough to be interested in crafting. 😀

  • Michelle March 21, 2009, 1:30 am

    Oh that’s precious. I think Mister Man and I may someday need to do something along these lines. Maybe while I work on baby books….

    So the pool that he never wanted to forget, does he still remember it well?

  • Don Mills Diva March 21, 2009, 2:20 am

    You sure did.

    What a great idea – can’t wait to try that with Graham.

  • Melisa with one S March 21, 2009, 2:37 am

    Mags: We probably WERE in the same space! Funny. I couldn’t really ever decide if I liked or didn’t like the cake. I thought it was a marvel the way they redid it, but I missed the ole’ castle that trip. I have another story about that trip; I’m going to save the idea in drafts and in the next couple of weeks I’ll write about it. 🙂

    Jason: Seems like more and more kids have cameras these days. I think it’s awesome. I also have photos that my older son took at my surprise 30th birthday party, and his commentary, though I wrote it for him (word for word though), is hysterical. It’s neat to see what little kids like to take photos of.

    Weaselmomma: It’s come out of storage a couple of times over the past many years, and he LOVES looking at it. 🙂

    Otter Thomas: Unique, huh?

    Bella Daddy: You’re welcome! 🙂

    Ciara: Yup, you should! It has the potential to keep them busy for days.

    Milehighdad: I know! It’s funny how people always said that to me when my boys were little and I always chuckled about it, but it’s totally true. 🙂

    Joeprah: I love stick figures too. Though I can’t quite figure out what he did with my hair.

    Melissa: SAVE SOME!

    Diva: It really is fun. And they’ll have it forever.

    Michelle: Augh! Baby books. My poor younger boy has just a couple of pages filled out in his… And no, the older one doesn’t remember the pool…until he looks at the scrapbook. 🙂

    DMD: He’ll LOVE it.

  • Isabella March 21, 2009, 3:47 am

    Love it!

    The drawing is fascinating – you are mostly torso and “dad” is all legs. And look at those HUGE hands he has! 🙂

    What a great idea. I’ll have to keep this in mind for when my little one gets older.

  • terri March 21, 2009, 12:55 pm

    This reminds me of my kids' journals. They had notebooks in 1st, 2nd & 3rd grade and wrote & drew pictures in them almost daily. The perspectives they held at those ages were precious!

  • dearmisterman March 24, 2009, 2:16 am

    I think children see things through the lens of a camera that we often miss as adults.

  • The Microblogologist March 27, 2009, 6:19 am

    I have a ton of vids Niecey has made of herself with my camera. She appears to be heading towards a career in journalism or weather reporting or becoming a monster and terrorizing towns, which one it ends up is anyone’s guess (I’m going with monster though, hehe!). I should totally make her write a book to go along with pics she has taken, maybe that’ll be a good activity for her while I try to get work done while she is here next week, the same week my committee meeting got rescheduled during, duh!

  • nonnasnonsense March 29, 2009, 4:23 pm

    great idea! can’t wait til the g-kid gets old enough to write his own scrapbook.