How to Remember What Your Kids Were Like

In the first panel, a child asks, "Dad, what was I like as a baby?" The dad replies, "You were...smaller."

My children are currently 4 and almost-2, and I know from experience it’s difficult to remember what they were like at various points in the past. It’s tough to remember when certain milestones occurred. It’s tough to remember the funny little things they say. It’s tough to remember, well, almost everything!

If I can’t remember these little stories from just a few years ago, I can imagine 20 years from now I’ll have completely forgotten all about their childhoods. If I’m lucky, I’ll still remember their names. (Just kidding, kids.)

Jordan and I have stumbled onto a good way of remembering these stories. The big secret: we write the stories down. Whoa, you say, stop the presses! But hear me out.

The real challenge is not figuring out that you need to write things down. The real challenge is actually setting up a regular process to write these stories down. And we’ve found the secret to doing this successfully is to limit yourself to a small update every day. Find a diary that encourages you to write only a sentence or two each night.

We really like Shopsin’s 5 Year Diary. We received this as a gift from a friend of Jordan’s and have since grown to love it. There’s only enough room to write a bite-sized entry each day, which forces you to keep it brief. Each page is devoted to a single day of the year, so as you fill the diary up, you can easily read what was going on a year ago, two years ago, and so on.

Jordan and I keep one diary for Luc and one diary for Rowan. We keep them on our bedside tables and write in them at night. It’s a pretty simple process that only takes a few minutes at night. Eventually, we’ll have 5 years of stories to look back on.

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