Archive for the ‘Keeping a diary for a child’ Category

Mini Books for Micro Journaling

January 19, 2013

Generally when I write I prefer the broad canvas of an 8 ½ by 11 inch unlined page. You can write, draw, or paste in photos or clippings. But I find the tiny, “mini journals” irresistibly attractive. While my regular journals are inclusive of all aspects of my life, these mini journals each represent a single microcosm.

The notebook with the marbled cover is a gratitude book. As a discipline, I tried to write one thing each day that I was grateful for or admired, one thing that brought joy into my life or that I thought was beautiful.

The red book with the ladybug on the cover has been the start of expressing one “haiku” thought on each page, an attempt to learn to say more with fewer words.

The gorgeous bejeweled book in the center is the book I chose to record the charming things said by my three year old granddaughter. I will do another book for the other granddaughter as she begins to talk.

These mini books are the purest joy to re-read because they filter out the negative. They sit on the table beside my bed. After a difficult day it is uplifting to remind myself of all that is good in my life.

I have started giving mini blank books as presents in the hope that others will be encouraged to use them for similar purposes. I do have other tiny notebooks I use to record things like houseplant and garden notes and the work I do in the bee yard. That notebook is covered in propolis (bee glue) and I must write with a pencil.

When purchasing these mini books, never buy one that has pages that are bound in with glue.   Look for books that are sewn in or all of your pages will fall out over time. That goes for regular journal books, too.

It is interesting that many of the antique diaries I have seen, including my great-grandmother’s and great-great-grandmother’s, were so small that the space for each entry could hardly contain one sentence. Just one sentence can still convey a lot. If you don’t believe me, read haiku poetry.


A Spider Story – On Keeping a Diary for Your Child

February 18, 2011

Back in 1976 I decided that a unique gift for my daughter’s first birthday would be a journal in which I would write down the happenings, the new experiences and the milestones of each day.   I petered out before I reached the goal of her third birthday.   We still have these two diaries and there are many treasured stories in them.  It is hard to say whether she will enjoy them as much as I have.

To the people who say “I couldn’t do that, I’m not a writer,”  I would reply: “You’re not a photographer either and yet you fill the baby books with photos.”

Here is a passage I will share with  you.  My daughter was two and a half:

“I was changing M’s diaper at bedtime when she looked up at the ceiling and noticed a spider walking about.  She was immediately worried that the spider would come down on top of her.  I laughed at this and said that it would not be coming down on her.  Seconds later, as M. jumped up in great fear and clutched me, (more fear than she has ever exhibited), I saw the spider descending gracefully on a silken string just inches from our heads.  We moved and I did the best I could under the circumstances to convince her the spider would not hurt her.  We watched the spider go all the way back up again and come down.  She was starting to overcome her fear with amusement and curiosity but I thought it would save some trouble if I just killed the spider.  (I have never liked spiders myself–I am a beekeeper who worries about being bitten by a spider!)  So, when she wasn’t so intense on the spider, I squashed it.  This caused her to wail in grief, and shout at me, with big crocodile tears in her eyes:  ‘You messed him up!!!’  I had to hold and  rock her beyond this new crisis.  It was quite a learning experience.”

A few footnotes here:  This illustrates the unexpected challenges and learning experiences of being a parent.  The entire story never ceases to intrigue me.  How wrong we can be sometimes, when we think we are doing right.

This was also the point of origin of one of those family expressions or insider jokes.   For years we used “you messed him up,” in our familial humor.

And a happy ending for the spiders of the world:  As a child I had a spider phobia.  Illogically, as an adult I have had no trouble putting my bare hands into a hive of 60,000 honeybees, most of which have a stinger they will use if you upset them.   I have finally overcome my huge fear of spiders, having lived several years in my basement bedroom, a spider mecca which no one  wanted to rent.   I still don’t like spiders…but now they get to live at least half the time, if I can transport them to the great outdoors.

I would recommend all parents  jot down some of their children’s  stories in a special book for them.  It will have more meaning than a photo.  Or you could combine a photo with a story.  When you are gone who will be there to tell the stories?

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