I am often told by moms with older or grown children to savor each moment, that my children are only young once, and to enjoy this time because it goes so fast. It can be hard to take it all in while you are chasing a baby crawling away from you during a diaper change, your preschooler crying because you made her sandwich wrong when you put peanut butter on top instead of Nutella (really, I would LOVE to eat this!), and car rides where your kids are trying to see which one can scream loudest.
I have found some easy ways to turn chaotic moments around and save your treasured memories.
Keep a Happy Jar
I keep an old spaghetti sauce jar with a mini notebook and a pen on the mantle. Whenever something happy, exciting, or funny happens, my husband, Madi, Ali, or I can jot down a short note on the paper and tear it off to put in the jar. It started with many cute phrases 2 year old Madi would say but has evolved into detailed memory. I always say that I will remember those special moments but I won’t if I don’t write it down. I save all these moments until New Year’s Eve. Then our family takes turns reading them. We laugh about all the fun we had the previous year. It helps us remember all those little moments that might have been forgotten.
The Three Questions at Dinner
I ask the same three questions every night at dinner and we take turns answering.
- What is something that made you laugh today?
- What is something that made you sad today?
- What is something you did that made you proud of yourself?
I was skeptical to ask the sad question because I didn’t want to focus on something that upset Madi and perhaps cause a tantrum. But if I’ve learned anything from Inside Out, it’s that sadness is part of life and must be embraced. I love hearing the moments that stuck with our family throughout the day and it makes me concentrate on these moments from my day so I can share those as well. We started this ritual before Ali could talk and she saw the family repetitively do the same questions nightly and babbled along. Now she shares her day along with us full of emotion.
Draw Your Feelings
Going along with how it’s important to embrace your less-than-happy emotions, my husband and I encourage Ali to draw how she feels when she’s upset. This takes her focus off of throwing toys and screaming, and channels her feelings into creating a picture. After she’s done, she explains what her picture means. I write her words on the back of the picture and date it. Sometimes she draws what had just made her mad, but other times she will draw something funny or happy. This is a moment preserved and will be remembered.
These easy ideas are some of my favorite ways to capture the moments of my children growing up. By implementing these into my day, they have become routine. What are some of your own ideas to collect your family’s experiences?