From the Vault: Baby Book

By Eilene Lyon

The “From the Vault” series features an artifact or family photo from my collection to illustrate a tale from my distant past.


Did your parents keep a baby book for you? Are baby books still a “thing”? The inside cover of mine indicates it was a gift from my Aunt B in 1959—two years before I was born. I guess someone was hoping a girl would come along eventually! It’s possible she bought a boy book and a girl book at the same time, when my older brother was still “in the oven.”

This brochure about preparing baby formula is tucked in my baby book. It also covers breast feeding and bathing. What an ordeal doing all this must be! I think moms today have it a bit easier, but maybe not.

Though the book contains only 12 sheets (24 pages), it is fattened considerably by items stuffed inside: cards of congratulation (mostly names I do not recognize), and especially envelopes filled with my hair, clipped at various ages. Curiously, I have two “first haircut” envelopes dated two months apart.

All those envelopes contain hair clippings, from my first haircuts up to age 10.

Mom jotted down the ages at which I acquired the typical baby skills, and when my teeth grew in. I seemed prone to catching diseases (from older brother, Steve, mostly) around my birthday: measles at age one, chicken pox at age two. Yes, I recently got my shingles vaccine—dang, those shots hurt! Better than getting shingles, though.

My favorite word at age one was still “Da da,” much to Mom’s chagrin. She seemed relieved to note a couple months later that I was using “Mama” more often.

My first formal baby picture at one year old.

“At age 19 mos says lots more words (Kipkie) kitty, Doggy, ‘Hello’, All froo, All gone, Thankyou, What is it, Ball, truck, drink, “Au revoir” oui oui, pretty, book”

I’d say that covers all the stuff that’s still most important to me!

Thanks to the baby book, I know that a “red letter day” in my life was February 21, 1963, when I took my first steps. My first plane ride (across the Atlantic to France) occurred at 6 months. In 1964, I made my first cross-continent (U.S.) trip by car.

At age 15 months I enjoyed dancing to records, going around in circles and getting dizzy. At 14 months I got into some black shoe polish and made a huge mess. A few months later, it was diesel oil in the garage. Mom says I loved to dress up, but sure did get “so dirty.”

Some things never change.

41 thoughts on “From the Vault: Baby Book

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  1. I enjoyed these glimpes into your baby book. My mother had one for me, which including a narrative account of my life story. My life ended when my brother was brought home from the hospital. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful treasure! For one thing, that it’s all filled in and stuffed with goodies. And for another, that moire reminds me so much of my childhood. Do they even make fabric like that any more?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Must agree with Ally you were a cute goofball. We had plunket books which were filled out by the plunket nurse who would visit the Mums and weigh the babies. They are still in tact and I will have to go in search for them now that you’ve reminded me. Good post, Eilene.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All of my friends with children take pictures of their kids with a special stuffed animal or blanket with their age marked on it. They post the images on Facebook with a list of favorites and milestones. It’s nice but I suspect they don’t keep baby books and this makes me incredibly sad. Where’s the fun in discovery? What happens when Facebook folds?

    These are great memories you have! I love the design of the pages too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s kind of like all those letters and notes I exchanged with friends as a kid. I could look back on them many years later. Today’s kids won’t have any of that. I also think that is sad.

      It is a cute book – very much of the times, I’d say.🙂

      Like

  5. OMG—I have the exact same baby book!! Only my mother was not as reliable a reporter. She started out well, but soon lost interest. But at least I have a baby book—my younger sibs do not.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Joni. I’m glad to hear you had a book, even if it didn’t get well used. Mom had a bit of a break between we and my older brother, but not so much between me and younger brother. I think he ended up getting cheated out of the details.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a fun book Eilene. I wonder when the first hairclipping really was – maybe one at home, one at a “shop”? I have a small, pink beaded necklace that says “Schaub” on it. I don’t know if it was around my neck while at the hospital (which seems odd, as it could be a potential choking hazard). It had to be for me as it’s too big to be a bracelet for my mom. I once got into my mom’s foundation. My mom rarely wore makeup but I was watching her put her foundation on, then I went back into the cosmetic bag later and tried it on myself (and spilled it all over the sink and counter-top). I got a spanking for doing that and never tried that trick again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The necklace does sound odd. Probably just intended as a keepsake, not to be worn. I can’t recall if I got spanked for any of my messes, but spanking was definitely one of my parents’ favorite discipline tools!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That could be – my mom is no longer here so I can’t ask her. I’ve taken a photo of it and thought of sending it to the Toronto General Hospital, but I highly doubt any of the staff would be there 66 years later! That’s why turned out so well – our parents did not abide by the “spare the rod and spoil the child rule.”

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I am the youngest of four, so as far as I know, there is exactly one baby picture of just me, with no other siblings in it, and to this day I wonder if it was taken because our brand new TV could be seen behind me, hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Loved seeing your baby book! My mom still has mine tucked away somewhere, though I don’t remember it being quite as detailed as yours (even though I was the first born). Definitely don’t recall any envelopes or photos, though my mother does still have all my baby teeth in a box or something. She asked if I wanted them the last time I was home, and I said yes, I’d make a creepy necklace out of them, which clearly wasn’t an acceptable answer since she never handed them over. I got chicken pox when I was only eight months old from my mom, so I obviously don’t remember it, but I did get stuck taking care of my brother when he picked it up during his last week of kindergarten.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Just basic stuff like my first word, date I first walked, etc. I haven’t looked at it in years, but I seem to remember the little book the pediatrician gave her to track my height/weight/vaccinations being more detailed than my actual baby book!

        Liked by 1 person

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