Before my little Monkey’s first birthday, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to commemorate the special occasion. Beyond the cake and presents, I wanted to mark the big day in more lasting ways.
I was very conscious of starting traditions, not only for him but for any future siblings. As a youngest child, I knew how important it would be to maintain the same traditions for all children in the family!
After much research, I found a number of wonderful ideas for commemorating a child’s first birthday, many of I will share in future posts. In this first post in this new Milestones series, I want to share the birthday book I started when my little Monkey turned one.
The Birthday Book (“My Favorite Things”)
The birthday book was a combination of two memento ideas that I had seen in the past.
My first inspiration was the sheets they used to sell in gift shops, about what was happening in the year you were born (price of a gallon of milk, who was President, etc.). I always loved finding out such telling details about what the world was like when I came into the world.
I wanted to recreate this for my little Monkey, but on a yearly basis. Here is the form I made to fill out every year on his birthday (you can download the complete template below):
In the World Today…
The price of a gallon of milk [brand]…$——
International headlines: _________
National headlines: _____________
Local headlines: _______________
Top Songs: __________________
Top Movies: __________________
Top-Selling Books: Fiction – ______________, Non-Fiction – __________________
(Because we are raising our little Monkey to be bicultural, for him I include national headlines, etc. from both the US and Costa Rica).
The second idea I drew inspiration from was a Ramona Quimby (anyone remember her?) notebook I was given when I was about eight. There were a few pages for every year of elementary school, with blanks to fill in your teacher, favorite subjects, friends, and so on. I only kept it up for a year or two, but the idea stayed with me.
Here is my version:
I can…______________________ [new skills, such as learning to walk]
I like to…___________________ [favorite games and activities]
My favorite toys are…_______________________
I am reading…_________________________
I am watching…___________ [television, movies]
Songs I like Mommy/Daddy to sing to me are…____________________
My favorite foods are…_________________________
My nicknames are…_______________________
My friends are…____________________
New members of my family are…__________________ [It seems there is a new cousin every year!]
Trips I took this year were…____________________
[For school-age children]
Favorite subjects at school: ______________________
Extra-curricular activities: _______________________
And thus the birthday book (which I named “My Favorite Things”) was born. I now update the book every year on his birthday. And even though he is still a toddler, looking back through his book, it is amazing how much he has changed in such a short time. I still get teary-eyed reading through the list from his first birthday – ah, for the days of the Exersaucer toy and just learning to say Ma-Ma and Da-Da!
As my little Monkey grows, I will modify the form, adding space for questions about school and extracurricular activities, for example. In just a few years, I imagine he will sit with me to fill out his birthday book.
How long will we keep it up? Time will tell, but at the moment I envision that a completed book would be a nice present for him when he graduates from high school 🙂
You can download the complete Birthday Book Template below:
How do you commemorate your child’s birthday?