Friday, October 12, 2012

Baby Books

Steve's Baby Book Page 1 by midgefrazel
Steve's Baby Book Page 1, a photo by midgefrazel on Flickr.

Steve's Memory Box
While going through yet another Frazel box in our basement, Hubs came upstairs to my office and told me that it was not just full of his military records, but full of some of his papers from his "Memory Box".

Hubs' father made a box for each of his sons and he put important things in it. Unfortunately, he would not let the boys look at the stuff in each box. I, the lowly, daughter-in-law, could not even look at the boxes.

When they moved to a retirement home, they were both over 90. They didn't tell us what they were moving or even when they were going to move. Before this, my husband insisted on having his baseball mitt. He's a "leftie". It was not OK with his father really, but we all stood there while he went to the basement and got it. He was down there so long, my mother-in-law got worried and sent Steve down after him. My father-in-law was quite angry at this intrusion of his privacy.

The point is that parents of the late 1940s and early 1950s were more "helicopter" parents than parents today. Check out this chart of my husband's baby weight. To do this, they must have had a scale with their baby stuff in the house. She did tell me that she had to produce it, and the next page which was a chart of "appropriately spaced" feeding times at each doctor visit to show that she was "on the right track" with her baby. Yikes!

The baby book itself was a guide on how to take care of a baby. When I had my daughter in 1975, I asked for the "owner's manual". The nurse didn't think that was funny. She couldn't wait until I went home. I asked too many questions. My doctor laughed at her. She was not pleased. (She was snooty.)

When she came to see her new granddaughter, my mother-in-law told me about the "hospital book". She didn't know where it was (we know my father-in-law put it in the "memory box" now) but she was quite dismayed to find it missing.

On the same page as this chart was a list of his illnesses. He has had the chicken pox. Now, we can get our shingles shot. Good.

The moral of the story is that parents should give their adult children ownership of important photos and documents. Photograph those papers with the mother and adult child holding them. Teach responsibility!


Carmen Johnson said...

By the time I came along...Mom was so busy with the other kids that my baby book didn't really get somewhat completed until I was old. My name wasn't even in the family bible. She told me to write it in myself...she was joking with me...I made her do it. Her handwriting was beautiful and now I have it in there for posterity. You can't really blame her. She had four kids in six years.


Celia Lewis said...

And in the wartime, my mother didn't even keep a baby book... at least, I've never seen one. But she did recite [several times] all the "childhood diseases" I'd had so I at least knew that. How lovely that your father at least had those memory items in his box. They did save items they knew were important.