We don’t really do baby books. But we do something different.

Ever since day one for our first child we have kept a journal for each child. This is largely a set of short paragraphs describing something the child has learned, a funny thing the child said, or something important they have done. Each story has a date.

So we have seven sets of stories – seven journals. I’m mentioning it now because just last week the document that includes this reached its 300th page.

Some tips:

– It doesn’t take long. Twice a week (Monday and Friday) I open the file and try to think of something to put in there. Sometimes I call Debbie and ask “Anything journal-worthy?”. It takes less than five minutes.

– I recommend putting only positive things about your child. There is a place (especially for kids with emotional problems) to write down difficulties you’re experiencing with the child, but this isn’t it.

– Just a Word document is all it takes.

– This is a good place to put the birth story. In as much detail as you can. We also put in anything significant about the child before the birth.

– I know what you’re thinking – Oh, I’ll remember all the stories. Nope. I go back and look at things I’ve written six months ago and I don’t remember them at all.

Some sample journal entries:

(Apr 22) All the kids, led by Barrett, made a house out of poster boards around the couch and Barrett said that Debbie had to take a nap. After she had gotten in, Barrett put up the last poster board and said “Goodnight!” Then they tried to be quiet. She slept.

(Apr 30) Debbie was giving me a hug before I left for work this week and Erik walked up and gave us a big embrace, saying “Hug Group!”

(June 5) Today Daniel made a rolling, cardboard, toy-cleaner-upper. It works.

(June 8th) Today Adelyn walked up to Debbie with her arms up and said “Hug!” After Debbie hugged her she said, “I just wanted to give you a hug because I haven’t hugged you in awhile.”

(July 4) For free-time reading at the cabin, Carl brought his Algebra book.

(July 28) Anna continues to be our best geocache finder. Today she found one before 8 other kids and 2 adults.

(Aug 1) While they were waiting for the prescription to be filled, Barrett sat on a chair while Debbie went to get a couple things. Barrett asked – “Will you be within eyeshot?

(Aug 12) This morning Foster was coughing in his crib and I went in to see how he was doing. He was sleeping, but suddenly sat up and was staring right at my waist. He stared for a couple seconds and then smiled and looked up at my face. He was happy to see me.  (This is the entry that put me on the three hundreth page.)

See? You could do this, couldn’t you? Never too late to start, nor too early.