Saturday, October 30, 2010

Baby Book

If  not for the baby book,  I would never know that I was born at 5:45 on a Tuesday morning;  That I weight 6 pounds and 11 ounces; and that the favorite aunt was among the first people who greeted me hello.

The baby book lists all the gifts I received from family friends and relatives - gifts that have disappeared three decades later. It has my hands and feet ink marks, which, when placed next to mine today would snug the palm of my hands.

I can also trace my incurable insomnia because of the baby book. Mom diligently wrote my feeding and sleeping habits, including the activities I did to prove indeed I'm alive: 

"Third week to one month - sleeping mostly during the day, awake at night."

The baby book chronicles the events I have no memory of.  Memories, that could have been lost forever at the daybreak of my childhood.   It has records of my first walk, (November, 1982)  the first words my tiny lips had spoken, ("Mama," June 17, 1982)  the first toys I had, and a brief summary of my first birthday party - including the games they played and other niceties the Kodak camera missed to capture.

It was a primitive attempt at self-preservation and my mom, out of love for her first-born painstakingly scribbled the milestones,

hoping, he would remember to look back.   

The difference between 1 and 28

"Anong gift mo sa baby ko?"  My sister asked, several days before her baby shower.

"Iniisip ko pa."   I was in no mood to answer. The present I had in mind doesn't exist anymore.  I searched the malls the previous years and the sales attendants merely gave a blank stare when it was time for me to ask.

"Hanap ka na lang ng baby bottle. Wala yatang magreregalo sa akin nun."

"O sige."  

The baby shower was a success.  The couple received gifts that will be useful when the baby comes out. There were blankets and diapers. A cousin gave an electric breast pump, while an aunt brought an expensive sterilizer.  

I didn't bring any presents for the occasion.  Keen observers would even tell that I snubbed the event when they saw me avoiding the crowds.  The reason for the sell-out was laziness, I forgot to drop by the mall to buy the baby bottle assigned to me.  

But there was a deeper motive for keeping my present away from everyone.

Should I buy mine, and then later finds out that someone thought of giving the same gift, one is bound to be ditched for the other. For the one I had in mind was the present my mom received when she gave birth to me. 

My Baby Book

My mom's desire to preserve my earliest milestones paid off.  Not only did I grow up to become faithful in keeping journals, I took the first chance of passing the tradition over now that some histories are being played again.

These days, baby books are hard to find.  But it didn't stop me from searching.  Finding the last available stock at Babyland, its sun-kissed edges are giving away hints of prolonged shelf exposure.  Like wine, whose age only makes it more special, the baby book is as pricey as when it was put on display for the first time.  

I could have looked for a newer stock at Toy Kingdom, but it was already 7 pm and the store I found along Shaw Boulevard was about to close. There is no assurance that a baby book is sold at Megamall and with the utol about to give birth, I knew it was a race against time.

I do not know how love, or the desire of forever could drive my mom to put on record the epochs of the first five years of my life.  But I understand the feeling: the joy of knowing that someone thought of writing your first words, your list of toys, or keeping the receipt of the food you ordered at a snack house where you and your parents first dined out.  Your parents had decided to go out because they were too poor to throw a party on your third birthday.  

It's no wonder I've been keeping track of histories ever since.

I do not expect the utol to be as passionate as my mom was with me. But the moment I laid eyes on the baby book, I know, my nephew will always be grateful when he reads the things his mom will write about him when he opens his eyes for the first time and greets the world



jc said...

i'm absolutely at a loss for words. an "awww" isn't enough. your mom's the sweetest.

blagadag said...

no wonder (as in, no wanda)! kiss your mom for me. now na, ha.

Eternal Wanderer... said...

anakan mo ako.

Mac Callister said...

inggit ako sau may ginawang ganyan mom mo for you....

you should thank her big time for that!

sana sipagin din si sis mo to write everything for your pamangkin.

Ms. Chuniverse said...

wow, you are lucky to have those mementos. you're mom did a very good job. and i agree about giving the same gift to your sister. ;)

lol @ Ternie.

datu/the wilted prune said...

I had a baby book, but I menacingly destroyed it when I was 5. ^^'

Herbs D. said...

i couldnt be bothered to check what day it was when i came to this world, but i know what time it was- 5.56 am


dark_knight said...

wahh i dont have any when I was born.. haha

The only memento of my birth is me living here with them today.. ^_^

Anonymous said...

You should look at for your nephew, is a modern version of your moms baby book - except you generate it in seconds as those magical moments happen - I managed to catch video and photos of my son waving today for the first time - and in seconds it was in my babybook and newsletter - LOVE IT!

Anonymous said...


Ako din, in time, kapag nagka-asawa at anak, i'll make sure to check everything and put it in a baby book :)

Astig ka talaga.

Sana ur sis will appreciate it.

Ps: BTW Tinabla ako kagabi, bagsak daw ako sa screening. lol


marhk said...

wow as in wow talagang nakatago pa yan hehehe super like!

kiel estrella said...

mwahahaha @ eternal wanderer's 'anakan mo ako.'

ako, my brothers and i never had a baby book kasi its a bourgeois thing and we were poor. huhuhuh. my rich cousins have them and i always thought that it was unfair that even access to preservation of childhood memories was deetermined by class.

on the upside, i only remember what i want to remember.

Bloiggster said...

aint that the sweetest thing to do? its a very priceless book. imagine seeing what you did eons ago. galing your mom!

now i know kung kanino ka nagmana kaya ka magaling at masipag magsulat. :)

MaginoongBulakenyo said...

Galing naman!! ako walang baby book ):

Désolé Boy said...

great idea! pag nagkaanak ako dapat may ganun din.
walang baby book si mama. kaingget..hehe
ang sweet ng mom mo.

Alter said...

ang ganda ng entry mo. :)