Your children are growing so fast. You are busy with that long to-do list. But the special moments will fly and never come back. Be spontaneous. And make the most of each moment with your children. It is tough, but give it your best shot.
And do not forget to capture these moments - not just the big milestones, birthdays and holidays but the everyday ones like what they say, do, make, how they look and act and move and dance and sulk, the special pet-names that you have for them and more. This way you can cherish and relish these moments all your life.
Some tips on how do you preserve these memories.
Of course take lots of photos and video.
- Do not forget the routine and the everyday things - going to school, dance class, fussing over food, playing etc.,
- Have your camera and video camera handy for most times. Keep them charged.
- Make sure you archive these well - make CDs and DVDs so a hard disk crash will not kill your memories, backup your hard disk, archive photos in online services like Flickr, Photobucket or Picasa.
- Moms can take their kids photos, art work and decorate it in scrapbooks. Add mommy thoughts and stuff by mommy as well -- artwork, anecdotes and decorations along with the photos.
- This is very common in the West. Western moms even have scrap-booking clubs and get-togethers. They enjoy being creative, cherishing their kid’s pictures, sharing them with other scrap-booking moms and having fun. We could adopt and adapt.
Digitize your child’s creations (digital pickle of sorts)
- Take photos of what children create. For example, their poem, painting, even their play-doh or lego creation. One digitized these can be stores for posterity.
Blog about your children or keep a Parentree journal
- Parentree makes it very easy for you to write about anecdotes and special moments in our journals or mini blogs. The funny and cute things they say and do, what you learn from them, things that make you think or even vent at the challenges. From snippets to a regular account of your child’s growing years, you can have all these in one place and share them as well with the Parentree community. When you read these from time-to-time, you sure will feel pleased about preserving these memories and thoughts.
- Digital scrapbook. You can make it into a digital scrapbook of sorts by addin their photos, artwork and anecdotes. A lively reminder of these fun times for the future.
Have a handy memory box or a keepsake box
- Store typical mementos like a tiny baby suit, a lock of hair from first haircut, first tooth, rattle, blanket, the silver bowl and spoon they first had their solids from, their first birthday invitation card or special cards they get, some decorations from their first birthday party, even their well-used nappy that used to cover those cute little bums.
- Some other ideas are to store special birthday cards or letters.
- Don't forget to store items from later years. For every 2-4 years, you could keep a toy, book and clothing item that they used a lot and you associate with those years. Not too many but a few.
- To start with, just take any box. Even a cardboard box. Later, if you want, you can replace it with a treasure chest or a pretty keepsake box.
Ceramic or other impressions and casts
- These days, some shops can make impressions of your little one’s hand or feet on ceramics for you. They package these for you. For example, put a ceramic foot impression in a frame.
- There are even castings that can be made of your child’s face.
- Find out about these from other Parentree parents in your area.
- Actually, you can even do these impressions yourself on pretty paper by using fingers paints and then pretty it up with borders and perhaps frame these.
Once you capture - to cherish and share
- Make a collage
- Hardcopy: You can make a collage of their pictures and get it scanned.
- Digital: You can use software like Picasa or Photoshop Elements etc. to do this for you.
- You can display the collage or make cards out of it at the nearby photo store.
- On your child’s first birthday, ask close friends / family to write some short wishes and thoughts. Then you can follow an ancient native-American custom. It's called the blanket of a thousand blessings where these wishes can be embroidered on a blanket. Tough to execute but what a special keepsake for you and your child.
- Create family newsletters that you can send to friends and family on Diwali, Ugaadi, Id, Christmas, New Year etc. Once you have the photos, the anecdotes, their art etc. you can easily crank out a newsletter (say a page or two) and send to friends and family.
- Greeting cards - You can use the photos and digital copies of their artwork etc. in making greeting cards.
- Frame special keepsake photos. Examples:
- Their painting
- A poem they wrote.
- Even their little baby suit (frame can be deep, with a glass cover). Enlist your carpenter or local framing store to be creative with you.
Someday, you will enjoy these. Even your children would love going down the memory lane when they are older and will thank you for this. So keep at it...
Any other ideas? Please share with all...