I have personally always thought that souvenirs were very important. When we’re in the moment, we often think that we'll remember whatever is happening forever, but let's be realistic: new events occur and replace older memories, and from one baby to another, souvenirs can get mixed up! And so we take notes, buy big boxes and start collecting stuff.
I always wondered: how do you make an event or special day become a souvenir? What makes you remember the smells, the weather and the clothes you were wearing on a particular day? How do you keep happy souvenirs that you will be able to tell your child when he or she is older? Honestly, I still haven't found an answer, but I keep looking!
When I noticed that my memory wasn’t that reliable, that I could easily forget things I swore I would remember forever, I quickly realized that it would be a good idea to keep tangible memories of the passing time. My two children each have two bins full of various objects, bins that allow us to visit tender moments of our past. Once a year, I open them and tell my kids stories about their short lives, and they never get tired of hearing them.
Before baby's birth
Pregnancy journal: some very nice books are available in bookstores and gift shops. You can keep track of your pregnancy's evolution, add ultrasound images, round belly pictures, family comments, etc.
3D ultrasound: a unique and magical experience that allows you to see your child in your stomach! You will also leave with a CD immortalizing your visit and that you will be able to show your baby and family for years to come. Many companies, such as UC Baby, offer this unique experience for about $175.
The baby's birth is a very important souvenir to keep. After all, their birthdays will inevitably make you think of that special first day. How do you keep souvenirs of this memorable day?
Newspapers: keep a copy of one or more newspapers of the day of your baby's birth. In 20 years, your child will be able to know what it was like when they were born! Big titles, ads, typography, and pictures are all time markers that will represent the time period in which they were born. Magazines from their birth month will also tell a lot about what was "in" at that moment! If there are no huge events during that period – after all, we can't all be born when the world is in turmoil – add a sheet with the year's biggest events, the prime minister’s name, talked about stars, popular movies, important snow storms, etc.
Coins: the Royal Canadian Mint offers booklets containing coins of 1¢, 5¢,10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1 and $2 in sterling silver, as well as a memento medallion in a laminated box. They can be purchased from Post Canada offices or on the Royal Canadian Mint website for $35.
Wine: this option requires you to spend a good sum on a wine bottle that will age well! The SAQ will advise you on what bottles to choose from and on how to store the bottle you choose to give it to your child in 20 or 25 years!
Casting: by getting a casting kit, you will be able to keep a tangible memory of their little hands and feet! This inexpensive option can also make a great decoration! Only $25, or it can be a fun and even cheaper DIY!
Footprints and handprints: with some ink and a nice notebook, you can also regularly take their footprints and handprints. At their birth, 1st anniversary, 2nd anniversary, etc. When the family gets together, use this opportunity to add everyone's handprint. With a small comment and a picture of the event, of course!
After baby's birth
Baby book: after birth, a diary will help you take note of all the firsts! First smile, first tooth, first steps, first words... Along with the dates, don't forget to add comments and anecdotes that will fuel conversations with your child as they grow up. They will be glad to remember their life adventures with the souvenirs you have kept.
Photos: in this digital age, it’s simple, convenient and cheap to keep pictures of your child while they are growing up! You should invest in a good camera that allows you to print the date and create personalized pictures, and most of all, to get high-quality pictures. The software provided with the camera usually offers different options like slideshows, commentaries, image correction, etc.
Your photos should be kept on CD (one copy stored in a safe place) and on photopaper (you want to see the pictures!) to keep your memories for years to come! The photo must-haves: birth, family members, first room, house, Santa, Halloween, zoo outings, etc.
Baby of the year: every year, La Presse offers to print your baby's picture in a special edition dedicated to the babies that were born that year! Furthermore, pictures are posted and archived on Motherforlife.com, so it doubles the fun! It’s a beautiful souvenir to keep, and costs about $40. You can also buy a small ad with a picture published a few weeks after your child’s birth.
Tooth and hair: you can keep their first milk tooth and a strand of hair! Either in a small container you made – scrapbooking is popular after all – or by buying a kit in gift stores (add this to your wish list). Your child will be happy to look at these relics from their past.
Items to keep
- Hospital bracelet
- Umbilical cord (many people do it)
- Birth and christening announcements
- Favourite plush toy
- Blankie (even if all torn and patched!)
- Hospital pyjamas
- First shoes
- Christening gown
- First Halloween costume
- Letters to Santa
"As a souvenir for my 2 girls, I kept their first bank statement from when they opened their first account. I kept each of them in a different box so they could see how much they put in it over time." - Iza
Do you have good ideas on how to keep mementos? Did you keep something original? Let us know!