So this was the end of a right royal pregnancy and the start of a frenzy of baby pictures. In some ways I feel sorry that this boy child will spend its life in the public eye, every minutiae of his development, not just cooed at but documented in detail but in some ways this is enviable. Your identity is a mixture of your own choices and your past heritage but how many of us base the latter on some half remembered hand me down anecdotes. I for one remember my parents telling me I took my first steps earlier than expected on a brief weekend to Blackpool, but could only balance if I held my ear! Luckily for me hard evidence survives and I fondly look upon that picture toddling along in seventies sheepskin on a damn cold looking day but I hazard a guess the presence of a camera was fortuitous and the image only means so much as I know the back story. How many other incidents and funnies during my infancy have been forgotten I wonder?
My parents, like all newbies got the ‘Baby’s First Book’ and dutifully filled out some of the milestones such as weight and first tooth but as the hard job of parenting grew, so the information waned and the book itself seem a bit contrived and structured…and now looking back at the garish cover not something I would put on my shelf with pride.
It may not be something that really concerns you at the moment, but think about your heritage, culture, ethnicity and think about how you know this information. Talking to some foster parents the other week It brought home to me how important this information is in childhood and later as an adult. Most looked after children have a file prepared by carers, that follows them through life telling them about their heritage and the people and events in their life. In some ways, although I wouldn’t wish that kind of insecurity on any child, I envy those written memories.
So I urge expectant parents, friends and family to make a baby journal. It doesn’t have to be chronological, it can be retrospective, but pass on the memories, as well as the statistics of a life. Oh and stay away from the cutesy teddy bear scrapbooks, record in less embarrassing stationery and those memories will be all the more treasured (rather than cast in the loft).