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January 4, 2012

The Notebook

The girls had their three-year checkup on Monday. As I was getting my bag ready…making sure I had our insurance cards and wipes and a couple of books to entertain the girls, I also had to make sure I had The Notebook.

The Notebook was born out of the girls’ time in the NICU, when every last detail was logged. I automatically continued to document their every move when they came home…

…what time they woke up, how much they ate, their wet and dirty diapers, any significant spit-ups…

And then I expanded it to note such details as when we bathed the girls. And then we bought an infant scale, and I was able to record their weights, to the half-ounce (much to the chagrin of our pediatrician, I might add).

Having this record was actually really handy, particularly when the girls were infants. In my sleep-deprived state, it kept me straight on what we’d done and when…and, if I’m honest, it helped me put one foot in front of the other during some trying times.

It was very useful in keeping track of dirty diapers. Since early on, our girls have pretty different habits, and I was always afraid I’d miss someone being constipated since I’d changed so many dirty diapers from the other baby in the course of a day.

Once the girls started eating baby food, I made notes at each meal. At first it was to help me identify any potential allergic reactions, but then it was more to make sure they were getting a variety of fruits and veggies.

Once the girls got a little older, I knew I didn’t have to keep up my journal…but I couldn’t stop!

I loved seeing our days in black and white…and – the little voice in the back of my head said – what if there were an issue? At least I’d be armed with information!

I finally made a deal with myself: I’d continue my journal through the girls’ first birthday, and then I’d retire my pen.

I actually recorded notes through the girls’ one-year checkup, a few days after their birthday…just in case.

I still use my trusty notebook, though -- thank goodness it’s nice and thick! I jot down any questions I have for our pediatrician and what his answers are. I make a note of the girls’ illnesses and medications. And I have a running tally of their weights and heights from every doctor visit.

And it’s fun to take a little trip down memory lane from time to time.

Hmmm…how many dirty diapers did I change on May 17, 2009?

Why, I’ve just been waiting for someone to ask!


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Wiley said...

We used a site called Trixie Tracker with Chiron after he got discharged from the NICU. It was very useful several times that I had details about his eating, diapers, sleep, etc. with different diapers. We finally faded out of using it in September!

A plus is I can export all the data to Excel and play with it.

championm2000 said...

Oh, your notebook certainly takes me back to those early days...

You are so much more detailed and diligent than I was. I gave it up after Emily's jaundice cleared up. Now I just save the growth charts from each well check.

The girls' big birthday is coming up! Can't wait to hear about the plans!

Marcia (123 blog) said...

LOL now why did you never mention on my notebook posts that you also obsessively kept one?

Kept? or Keep? lol

At 2.5 I am STILL keeping the notebook - it's so useful to see who did what and invaluable around illness times!

Brad Jenkins said...

I'm a little shocked...that you haven't yet created an Excel file and input all your data.

That sure would make it easier to sort the data to find patterns in their growth and/or waste production!

I give you less than a month before you begin this new project. ;-)

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

yup! I got one of those too! Super helpful for meds and poops and when they are much fluid/food intake. I'm addicted and I get teased all the time but now that I know I have fellow NOTEBOOK's all good!!


Anonymous said...

haha. i know we've talked about the notebook before. for the first year of life i recorded things on spreadsheets that got put in a 3 ring binder AND also on a calendar for each kid. actually, i did this until 15 months. for the entire calendar year of 2011 i kept a journal entry with something each day: what we did, any new foods, who visited, etc. i'm thinking that i'm going to continue to do it this year, but all of my notes are electronic right now. just haven't found my next vessel :)

3 year check-ups!! how much did they weigh??

Mandy said...

I feel like the only one that gleefully ditched my note taking. It reminded me too much of everything they weren't; the charts they weren't on, the weight they hadn't gained, the food they barely ate. I felt so free, and normal, without the strict notes. I quickly grew to despise the labels and problems generally associated with preemies and the book was just another link to that.

I'm glad it brings you order, and calm, but I was never one for it!

reanbean said...

This sounds about right to me! :o)

We also kept meticulous notes throughout the first 13 months or so. We recorded who nursed on what side and when, all the dirty diapers, spit ups, fevers, meds given, first foods, etc. Just over the weekend, T found all my notes in a file and asked if we could *gasp* recycle them. I know I don't need them for anything, but it doesn't feel right to get rid of them. Not yet, anyway.

Have a great day tomorrow!