Now, let’s take a look at what you have accumulated for your second child. No doubt there are pictures, and while you’ve been meaning to get them into an album, chances are they are in a photo storage box or perhaps still even in the envelope from the processing lab. And, even though you’ve probably managed to get the video camera out from time to time, there’s a good chance that a majority of the footage of the baby also includes your first-born. And the baby book? Let’s just say that beyond the child’s name and vital statistics at birth, there probably isn’t much to read. We won’t even bring up the journal.
Is the photo collection for your third, fourth and any subsequent children so sparse that they have asked you if they were adopted at an early age?
If any of the above describes your efforts at documenting the lives of your children, you are certainly not alone. When our first child, Jennifer, was born, my husband and I took pictures by the dozens, updated her baby book after every significant occasion and wrote religiously in her journal. When our second child came along, we started out with the same level of enthusiasm but before long, I could sense that we were starting to slack off. It’s easy to see how this could happen. In general, the first child is a breeze (after you figure out what you’re doing, that is). There’s plenty of free time when the baby is napping or hanging out in her infant swing to work on photo albums, journals and the like. But, did you ever notice how the amount of free time you have decreases exponentially with the arrival of each additional child? Suddenly, your “baby free time” is taken up by the other child(ren)’s needs and suddenly, things like baby books and photo albums find their way to the bottom of the to-do list. As a second child myself, I still occasionally accuse (in fun) my parents of loving my older brother more whenever the old photos and 8mm movies come out. As a result of this, I made a personal promise to myself that I would put equal effort into documenting each of my children’s early years. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have found that occasionally taking a little bit of time to do one or more of the following tasks, has enabled me to stay fairly up-to-date in my memory keeping: