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Bring Back the Baby Book—But Make it a Box

Baby book

Brynn Sch.’s Graduation AwesomeBox

A yearbook is a treasured artifact. Even if your experience in junior high and high school wasn’t the best (hello, braces!), you may still find yourself flipping through your old yearbooks from time to time, remember the classes you took, the inside jokes you shared—and old friends’ faces that you may have forgotten.

What’s so magical about yearbooks is that they capture a very specific period of your life with photographs from that time. Whether it’s that terrible photo of you as the class secretary or your favorite picture of your best friend singing her big solo in “Oklahoma!”, cracking open a yearbook feels a bit like opening a time capsule.

Unfortunately, most of us only have a handful of yearbooks from high school and maybe before—but wouldn’t it be great if you had a kind of yearbook for every single year of your life?

When Kodak brownies and Polaroids dominated the photography market, many parents created baby books for the first year of their child’s life. We think it’s time to bring that back.

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Lyle L.’s 50th birthday AwesomeBox

Bye Bye Baby Book? 

Back in the days of film (and even before!), baby books were extremely popular ways to save, organize, and present photos, stories, and moments of a baby’s first year. As early as the late 1800s, parents (mostly mothers) were taking notes about their babies from day one—some of them are even stored in a university archive at UCLA, where it’s clear that the love between a mother and child really is timeless.

Once a child was older, their parents would share this book with them, allowing them to not only take part in the memories of their earliest days, but also ensuring that those photos weren’t lost in boxes or filing cabinets, never to be seen again.

Now that most of our treasured photos are on Facebook and Instagram though and we do much of our note-taking in the form of baby blogs, baby books have become less and less prominent—which is a shame, because, as any parent can attest, childhood passes in a blur, and often, there are few tangible objects to remember it by.

Kids Say the Cutest (and Strangest) Things

For as long as there have been kids, there have been parents who have delighted in the things that come out of their mouth. Whether it’s the old TV show or, more recently, blogs like Reasons My Son is Crying, there’s a certain kind of joy that arises from making note of the adorable (or sometimes inscrutable) ways that children behave and exist in the world. These moments often become the stuff of family lore and inside jokes, but if you don’t make note of them as they happen (and a tweet doesn’t count!), they can slip away forever.

Durham

Durham’s AwesomeBox

Not only that, but saving those special—and sometimes truly strange—moments makes for great fodder once they’re old enough to hear about them. Who doesn’t want to have a stack of their favorite funny (or embarrassing!) kid quotes to share during a wedding toast 25 years later?

Kids Want To Feel Special, Too

Though we mostly talk to parents, we’ve heard from that kids who have seen their mom or dad get an AwesomeBox that they’d like one, too! And who could blame them? Not only is seeing portraits of themselves and their families good for a child’s self-esteem and sense of place in the world, the look of gratitude and joy on the face of an AwesomeBox recipient is something that everyone can understand.

One of the true joys of parenthood is watching your child grow up—and it’s especially great when you can share those moments (you know, the ones they were too little to remember) with them through photos and stories.

Sure, having an Instagram feed full of cute baby pictures may be fun for your little ones when they’re old enough to swipe through an app, but you know from flipping the pages on your old yearbooks that something tangible—something filled with memories and moments—is a true keepsake.

Long before your baby dons a cap and gown, why not create a kind of yearbook for her to look back on for years to come?