Record Milestone Firsts
Will you remember when your baby reached a milestone? You might — if you only look for a few of milestones, like crawling and walking. But there are many others milestones–even in the early months. Do you think you’ll remember? Experience and research shows that, as time passes, memories fade. While you’re raising your baby, events are vivid and consuming. You can’t imagine that you will forget them. But you will. Record milestone firsts if you want to remember.
Keeping a record of milestone firsts will be valuable, not only as a memory aid, but for other good reasons. It’s evidence of your baby’s progress and your hard work. It will become a reminder of many forgotten moments. It makes a great gift to your grown child. Lastly, a record of milestone firsts can be a valuable part of your child’s health record.
Convinced of need for a milestone firsts record? Good. You will need a to method to record them. Below I describe a simple, reliable approach.
The checklist+age approach
Start with a list of baby milestones, such as the Illustrated List. For each milestone, ask yourself this question: Have I seen my baby do this or not? A yes is a check mark, and you have the beginnings of a milestone checklist.
Checklists are deceptively simple, but incredibly useful. Doubtful? Read Atul Gawande’s gripping descriptions of checklist use in medicine, aviation, skyscraper construction, and elsewhere. For example, the pilots who safely landed a jet on New York City’s Hudson River used checklists in their few minutes to prepare.
You will miss some milestones, particularly the subtle ones. Don’t worry. Simply check off the ones on the list that you think you saw.
When a new milestone appears, record the date. Dating milestone firsts allows you to calculate your baby’s age for each achievement. Age is the road along which your baby travels. The age of milestone attainment is a marker of progress on that journey.
2 methods to record milestone firsts
Basic. Download and print a copy of the Illustrated List. Keep it handy. When your baby shows one of the milestones, record the date beside the drawing. Then calculate baby’s age manually, with a spreadsheet, or with an online calculator. Beside the milestone drawing, record baby’s age in weeks or months (your choice).
Designed. I’ve also created a purpose-built form that you may want to use. Below is a screenshot from one of its pages. Each named milestone is illustrated, and there are fields for entering the date and age at the milestone’s first appearance.