Friday, December 7, 2012

I’m Not Leaving Facebook in Charge

The other day, a friend posted a funny story on Facebook about a thing their kid had said, and I laughed and made a comment.  Another friend posted first photos of her newborn son, still in the maternity ward.  Within an hour, there were over twenty “oooh, so sweet, just look at that little nose” swoons. And then it hit me: is Facebook the new baby book?  Has it become the central repository for all the memories that families a generation ago carefully pressed and preserved in treasured bound albums?  What happens if Facebook goes the way of MySpace or the Palm Pilot or Beanie Babies?  And is anybody curating the giant daily brain dump that is Facebook?  I mean seriously, here’s what my posts typically look like:

STATUS UPDATE: does anybody know how to cook a chicken?
STATUS UPDATE: hey, look at this chicken in the oven!
STATUS UPDATE: hey, look at this chicken on our plate!
STATUS UPDATE: Sure was good chicken
STATUS UPDATE: My kid just lost her first tooth
STATUS UPDATE: who’s going to do all these dishes?
STATUS UPDATE: What’s the going rate for tooth fairy payouts?

See? The only part worth reading is buried. I’m thinking Facebook needs a really ruthless editor if it’s going to be the keeper of memories.  Right now it’s a hoarder’s overflowing scary attic. And I don’t trust it to be around forever anyway, so I’m not taking any chances.  I know what I’m grabbing in a fire, and it isn’t a laptop.  OK, I’d try to grab my laptop, but it wouldn’t be first.
Breakfast of birthday girls!

Amelia turned five this week, and if you know me at all you know I’m a sucker for rituals.  Mother’s Day pavers, first day of school photos, meatballs on New Years Eve, cake for breakfast on your birthday, and absolutely, positively, extensive documentation of every birthday, in many forms.  Concrete, non-virtual documentation. This year I picked Amelia up from school early just to get it all done.

First, there is the photo.  Amelia was born on December 5, and for her entire first year we photographed her on the 5th of every month with a calendar and a baby instruction book, to show the date and how she’d grown. EVERY MONTH.  At the end of the year I put them together in a frame and hung it up.  Now we take the photo only on her birthdays, still with the same props. And years of working with museums has taught me that if you’re going to put a date on something it had better be accurate – so this photo can ONLY be taken on her actual birthday. 
Which leads to the next birthday project. A photo book. I take a lot of pictures, whittle “a lot” down to the best 50 or so, add witty captions, and send them off on the 5th  of each month to family and friends. And yes, I even post the album on Facebook.  Every month. But like Facebook, I can’t trust a photo sharing site to be around forever, so each year on Amelia’s birthday I curate the year’s photos even further, into a hardbound photo book that Shutterfly so nicely produces for us. Digital photos, printed right onto real paper. It’s a wonder of technology.  Anyway, this book includes the annual calendar and baby book photo, so it can’t be created until Amelia’s birthday…and in a stroke of excellent timing, it makes a great holiday gift for the grandparents.
Every year we also make something together. We started with handprints on tiles when she was one and two, and then we moved on to drawing and writing on tiles, which hang as a backsplash in our kitchen, carefully signed and dated for posterity.

And this year we added a new ritual – a birthday interview. Many thanks to my friend Kristen over at Motherload Blog for turning me on to this one, and from whom I stole most of these questions.  And to her friend, from whom she stole them. See, the internet isn’t all bad!
Without further ado…Amelia’s Five Year Old Interview
Me: If a genie would grant you only one wish, what would it be?
Amelia: To be a happy family forever (awwww….)

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Amelia: A mommy (double awww….)

Me: Do you want to get married when you grow up?
Amelia: Yes, of course I will

Me: Do you want to have children?
Amelia: Yes

Me: Do you feel different now that you are five?
Amelia: No

Me: What is your favorite color and why?
Amelia: Rainbow, because it's my favorite color.

Me: Who is your best friend and why do you like them?
Amelia: Becca, Samantha and Nicole because they play funny games

Me: What do you think about world peace?
Amelia: Ummm, I don’t know about that

Me: What is your favorite TV show?
Amelia: Peppa Pig

Me: What do you like to do in free time?
Amelia: Go to the playground!

Me: What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Amelia: I get to be whatever I want and I always calm down

Me: What is your favorite song?
Amelia: Happy Birthday! And Ariel’s song

Me: If you could have any super power what would it be?
Amelia: To trap bad guys

Me: What is your very favorite thing to do?
Amelia: Projects with mommy all the time

Me: What is your favorite thing about me?
Amelia: We get to do projects together

Me: What is your favorite thing about Daddy?
Amelia: He does not do what girls do

What’s your favorite thing about Bubby?
Amelia: She’s listening  (Bubby is my mother, and she was indeed listening.)
I hope you enjoyed the interview in this potentially fleeting virtual format, but I’ll also be printing them in this year’s photo book.  You know, in case this conversation ever happens:

Jeff:  Hey, remember when people used to blog?
Me:  Yeah, didn’t I have one?
Jeff:  Yeah, you used to post those birthday interviews.  What was Amelia’s favorite color when she was five?
Me: I don’t remember.
Jeff: I don’t either. But I’m sure you had a blog.
I love birthdays.  Don’t trust them to Facebook.

Craving more crafty fun? Check out additional posts of A Crafty Mess over at Charlotte Parent. Or stop by my Etsy store, Made by Mommy.  Or better yet, leave a comment here...I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Oh god. The guilt I feel! My seven year old came home with homework that included her having to fill out a form about when she first sat up, got a new tooth, walked and I COULD NOT REMEMBER. Okay, I remembered the walking thing. I think I wrote that crap down somewhere, but WHERE IS THAT BOOK??? I mean I could look through my blog to try to find clues to when all that crap happened, and I did take a cursory jaunt through the night before this homework was due, but it was like looking for a baby shoe your kid kicked off in an airport. I didn't even know if I'd started at the right terminal, so eventually I just gave up and figured she could put question marks or make some crap up. Anyway, instead of saying what a lovely post this was I've gone on a rant about what a bad mother I am. I can't even write a nice comment today. Sheesh. Okay, well, maybe I could hire you to help document my children's lives?!? It's the next career calling for you, trust me.

  2. Kristen, most of us aspire to be the kind of mother you call crappy. Thanks for the comment, and thanks for reading! i'll be glad to generate an excessive amount of paper documentation for you, anytime. Send me a box of crap and i'll send you back two.

    Happy new year!