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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Stolen Baby Books

Uploaded: Jan 31, 2015
Like many parents, I'm putting together baby books for our children. These albums contain many keepsakes such as their newborn footprints, birth announcements and locks of hair. I also take monthly photos of them with the same blanket, stuffed animal, etc. Taking these photos has been a great reminder to step back and actually think about all that they have accomplished over the past month and how their skills and interests are evolving over time.

I enjoyed this monthly activity so much that I continued the tradition into our son's toddlerhood by taking his pictures every month at the same park.

Most of the time when we go to park, we meet up with friends. But his monthly photos gave us an excuse to venture to the park on our own. On these special outings, all of my attention was on him and the camera. These photos are not my favorite ones from his toddlerhood days, but the tradition was one I definitely treasure. It was a time for me to reflect on the past month and all that we had done together. It would be heartbreaking if these photos were ever lost or stolen.

About a week ago I heard about a woman who not only had her car stolen from her but also her children's baby books. The books were in the back of her car because she worked on them while her children took naps in their car seats.

When you hear her interview, it is clear that losing her baby books was devastating. Some of the mementos are irreplaceable, such as hospital bracelets and newborn footprints. As a fellow mother and scrapbooker, my heart goes out to her. I know how much time and energy can go into creating these keepsakes. And how sentimental they are.

As she addresses in her interview, her story is a tough reminder to us parents that keepsakes are things and that cherishing our children and our quality time with them is what's most important.

We will definitely keep this family in our thoughts and hope that their vehicle and baby books are returned.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Feb 1, 2015 at 9:16 am

Apart from the usual baby books, I have also been writing a blog for each of them addressed to their older selves.

A picture can tell a story, but it doesn't always capture everything. So I write a paragraph describing an amusing incident, an emotional conversation or how we dealt with a childhood difficulty - like a trip to the ER, while it is fresh in my mind. Not too long and not too often, but just something that I want to remember and be able to pass on to them.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 1, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4- What a great idea. Have you shared the blog with your kids or other relatives yet or are you waiting to share the final product with them at a certain age?

I agree, written down memories are something to treasure.

Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Mountain View,
on Feb 1, 2015 at 7:48 pm

If objects were just things, then their loss would be easy to dismiss.

That's simply not the case.

Human history is full of instances where the original item is of value, whether it be a building, a piece of art/clothing/whatever. in many cases, the item is so valuable that even if destroyed, the people will try to rebuild it.

Ten billion photocopies of the US Constitution will not replace the sentimental value of the actual piece.

High resolution photographs and X-ray scans of the Mona Lisa won't replace the actual painting. Heck, there's a reason why people travel ten thousand miles to see the actual painting. Sure, you can get a good idea what the Sistine Chapel looks like in photos or even a 3D walkthrough on your computer, but it's not the same thing.

As a writer, you will need to accept this someday. Books are a cheap way to describe what the world is like, but they don't replace being there. That's why people travel.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 2, 2015 at 10:31 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Jay Park - Thanks for commenting.

I agree, objects can be quite valuable. And that is why this mother is clearly heartbroken.

You bring up a good point about originals and replicas. It is great when you have the opportunity to travel and experience these treasures rather than only read about them or see photographs.

However, to me, I think about spending time with our children and creating these memories as the "original" and the keepsakes as the "replicas." It is great to have these keepsakes (the photos, footprints and other items in a baby book) but what's most important are one's children and the experiences you have with them.

Posted by Jay Park, a resident of Mountain View,
on Feb 2, 2015 at 10:14 pm

It's not just about an "original" and a "replica", it's also about an experience versus a record.

Who are your scrapbooks for? Yourself or your children (who may not remember what's going on at this age)? Others who may not have been there?

Is your own memory persistent enough to remember everything? What if you outlive your children?

Yes, the original experience is the most important, but it is limited to the people who were there, at least those who can remember it. That's why there are contracts, written documents, paintings, photographs, videotapes, DVDs, whatever.

One can spend an entire life without scrapbooking or archiving anything, but when you are gone, much of that will also vanish. It doesn't mean that what happened didn't happen, it just means that there is no record.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Feb 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Jay Park - Personally, I scrapbook and create keepsakes because I enjoy it. It's always nice when these mementos become sentimentally valuable to someone else - one's kids, grandparents, spouse, friends, etc. but that doesn't always happen.

I share most of these keepsakes with our children now. That means they might get spit-up on them, break or have sticky fingerprints. But I created them to be enjoyed and don't want all of them to just be stored on a shelf somewhere until they may or may not be enjoyed in the future.

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