Happy Birthday, Dear Punga. Happy Birthday to You.

Today is Mother’s Day.  It is also Punga’s first birthday.

Right here–today–right now is the post where I am most tempted to blabber on and on about my kid.

But I promised I would always have a point when I write.

Okay–pay attention because my point is coming up very quickly.  And it will pass quickly too. 

Here it is:  If you decided (for many good reasons, as I did) not to start or maintain a baby book, it is not too late to quickly, easily and beautifully document your child’s first years.

And here is my suggestion:  Once a year, grab a pen and make a stream-of-consciousness list of every detail you remember from your child’s most recent year.  Forget about the milestones–who cares when his belly button fell off?  Write about your child’s experiences.  What did he enjoy / smell like / sound like / dislike? 

If a messy list is all you have time for, that’s perfect!  Or, assemble that list into a letter to your child.  If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, combine the letter with digital photos and print a photo book.

Here are excerpts from the letter I just wrote to my son.  (See how I just gave myself permission to babble?  Brace yourselves!)

***

Dear [Punga],

Happy Birthday, my Little Love!  Today marks a very special day.  It is the day you were born.  The day all of our lives were blessed forever.

[Mushy, fluffy paragraph omitted for the sake of my blog readers…]

For your first birthday, I want to share with you some of our beautiful memories from your first year.

[Excerpt from pregnancy.]

Mommy and Daddy had so much fun watching you grow in Mommy’s belly.  Daddy took pictures of Mommy’s belly every Monday, and every Monday, Mommy wore a different hat, as a celebration.  

Daddy referred to us as “Momma and Boy!!,” and he even stopped eating the foods that we couldn’t eat, to make it easier for Mommy.   He kissed Mommy’s belly and talked to you so that you would know how much he loves you.  And you always responded to his voice.  You kicked and kicked and we could not only feel you, but we could also watch you kick.  Daddy called this your “flying fists of Judah.”

[Excerpt from our first days at home.]


At 3 am that night, our first night home, you did an explosive BM all over Daddy.  You and Daddy made Mommy laugh very hard.  Thank you for always reminding me to smile, even in the middle of the night!

…Mommy and Daddy quickly learned how to bounce bounce bounce to make your belly feel better.  And you instantly stopped crying whenever we stepped outside.  You liked to stick your nose in the air and, blinking, feel the breeze on your face.  You spit up often.  Again, you reminded us how strong you are.  You smiled to tell us, “I’m okay!”

[Excerpts from infanthood]

In your “shaky chair,” you waved your arms and kicked your legs to make yourself bounce.  We called this the “Kick and Punch Show.”  You also liked “Bongo Drums,” when we would lay you on a pillow on the counter and pat your bum.   

When Daddy came home from work, he would fly you around like a jet plane, and this made you laugh.  He puts you on his shoulders where he can listen to your heart beat.  Sometimes you lick his head and that makes all three of us laugh.  For Halloween, you were a lion. 

On Christmas Eve, you started to crawl!  Now you crawl everywhere, and you pull yourself up on our couches, our tables, our walls, even our pants.  You are very curious to learn as much as you can.  Sometimes you are so curious that you lick the floor or the walls.  Never lose your appetite for learning, my Love! 

[Excerpts from pre-toddlerhood]

You now say the words, “Momma,” “Dadda,” “Dog,” “Down,” “Duck,” “Light,” and “Bunny.”  We are so proud of you!  Your voice is music to my ears.  It is kind of squeaky, but surprisingly masculine.  You are always enthusiastic when you speak, and your eyes light up and sometimes you make funny faces too. 

You are learning to use a spoon by yourself.  You bring your shoulder to your ear when you feel shy, and you wave enthusiastically with both hands when cars drive by.  Sometimes you give us big, wet kisses.  Usually when you kiss us you say “ahhhhhhhhh.”  This tickles my soul. 

Dear [Punga], please know that we will always believe in you, and that we will love you forever. 

Happy 1st birthday, birthday boy. 
Love,
Mommy and Daddy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did you keep a baby book? 

Do you have any suggestions for great, easy ways to preserve memories?

I love to hear from you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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10 responses to “Happy Birthday, Dear Punga. Happy Birthday to You.

  1. I personally love when you talk about all the little things that Punga does on a daily basis. I will remember your take-home message and keep a list, book, photobook, etc. to remember the first year. As always, thanks Mommagoose for your ever-inspiring words! Hope the Lil guy had a wonderful first birthday!!

    • Thanks, T! And if you don’t get around to it during the first year, don’t stress! You can always whip it together at the end of the year like I did. 🙂

  2. I love, love, love it! You have such a great way with words! I know this is just bits and pieces of the letter, but it is amazing how much you remember from the last year. Can you believe it has already been one year?!?! He is going to love reading this letter when he is older 🙂 Hmmm…Now I think I need to go back through my book and write a letter…maybe even make a one year photo book!

  3. Goose, That letter will be a beautiful treasure. Your little guy will make you read it over and over and over to him when he gets a little older. I was so diligent about keeping a baby book for the first year of my first child’s life. After that, reality & life in general took over. So, her book skips from 1st Year birthday to 5th Year birthday. Ugh. Luckily, I journal regularly, so someday when I’m not so busy [ha!] I can go back and recreate some of those precious years for her – in book form with an online publisher would be fantastic. Your letter idea is simply perfect for every busy Mom. The only other idea I would add would be to keep a small notebook on your nightstand to jot down truly funny or memorable moments that happened that day before you go to sleep – things that you want to be sure to add to your “Year in Review”. Because, once you have more than one little one at home, trust me, The Mommy Brain has a very hard time remembering what happened yesterday, let alone last month, or 6 months+ back!

    Mommies with young children are SO lucky now with the computer age and all of the fun online tools to document the moments of our lives. I LOVE “MyPublisher.com” – run by Costco Corp. The binding and paper is of the highest quality I’ve ever found. I’ve started creating photo books for our trips, graduations, parties, etc. It is so much easier than having photos forgotten, sitting in boxes [or, in a computer folder or travel drive]. My problem is that I have hundreds of amazing photos from the past 40 years sitting in boxes or in dusty albums that all need to be digitized. It’s daunting, to say the least.

    Happy Birthday to Punga, and Happy Mother’s Day [a day late] to you. 🙂

    • MoSop–I love the notebook on the nightstand idea! I cannot even imagine the severity of Mommy Brain with two children. 🙂 And thank you for the MyPublisher recommendation! I haven’t printed any books yet so I’m really glad for this tip…I’d hate to put a lot of time into a book and then be disappointed with the quality of the printing. Thanks for checking in!!

  4. Dionne Baldwin

    Happy Birthday Punga! And Happy Belated Mother’s Day to you! Thank you for sharing this what an awesome idea! I had every intention of keeping a baby book but doggone it life got in the way. 😉 You are right, who cares about the milestones that are pre-outlined in the standard baby book format (well, some might) but making my own milestones is what makes it a personal baby journey book.

    The only thing I am glad I did was take LOTS of pics. Even if it was with a crappy camera and not professional quality I don’t care. I get the idea and those pics mean the world to me. My girl and I have had quite a journey so far and everything is marked with pictures to remember special memories. Even with my camera phone! I document our lives with pics and I love looking through and remembering things we have done. She has a lot of fun memories that are going into her annual album heeheehee.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Dionne! I just checked out your blog, and from the looks of it, when you do put together an album it will be beautiful. You are so creative!

  5. I didn’t have babybook 😦 but yet I keep my wordpress entry as remembrance. 🙂 Tried doing scrapbook and apparently I barely got the chance to shop for materials nor time to do all the cutting.

    My 1st complete page of scrap book ~ http://diddylove.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/1st-completed-scrapbook/

    Thanks for that lovely photo book link, I bet it will comes in handy for me.

    Happy birthday to Punga! *Big hugs*

  6. I was so sporadic about this when my babies were little. Later, when I remarried and all six of our kids were age 20 to 4 I kept a journal– one for each of them-wherein I wrote down stories featuring, describing, and quoting each one of the children–. I thought it might be a waste with the older kids, but here we are 13 years later and those stories are a very worthwhile record! It’s never too late.

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