There are certain events in your life that you want to remember forever. Having a baby is one of them. We wanted to do something special to mark the arrival of our first little one; a way to remember all the excitement of her first day in the world as well as the kind words of our friends and family. We also wanted something that Alexie could look back on when she got older. After some thought, I came up with an idea.
As a teacher, I know the benefit of books and reading to children, even as babies. I thought a storybook might be a clever way to keep those first memories. I spent some time at my local bookstore, looking for a book that I thought would be appropriate for a new baby. After much deliberation (there are so many great ones to choose from), I decided on Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. I loved the watercolour-type illustrations and the sweet simple poem, welcoming a new bundle of joy. And it’s such a perfect story of how all babies are special and unique but they all have “ten little fingers and ten little toes.”
I packed it up in my hospital bag along with some pens and waited for her arrival.
A few short (although they seemed long at the time) weeks later our little Alexie arrived. When people came to visit us at the hospital, we pulled out the book and gave it to them. They signed the blank pages that are found at the front and back of the picture book. Our friends and family wrote little messages to her, sharing their love and excitement at her arrival.
“You are so sweet and precious little Alexie! I am so very happy to meet you! Congratulations Amanda & Stéphane!” – Chantal
That night, we read her special story by the very dim light of a hospital lamp. Stéphane and I took turns reading the story as she lay quietly in my arms. It was a beautiful moment. About half way through, we suddenly looked at each other and asked, “Did you check that she has 10 finger and 10 toes?”
We then frantically began checking and counting. When we were sure all was accounted for, we went back to reading our story.
Even after we left the hospital, we kept the book on our dining room table with a pen. If anyone came to visit, we would get them to sign her book. My husband actually got really into it. He even brought it with us on our first road trip to visit family, so they could sign it too.
“A precious little blessing in all our lives. Welcome to the world Little Alexie Rose.” -Auntie Kasey xo
Now we read the story but also the little messages that our friends and family wrote to her. It’s such a great memory. When we have another baby, we will be doing the same, but with another book.
Well, we’ve had our second baby! We are thrilled and couldn’t be more excited to welcome little Zoé to our family.
I’m also happy to report that we did do a keepsake book for Zoé. After much searching, looking for that perfect book, I ended up choosing On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman. This beautifully illustrated book describes how excited we and the world were for our little one’s arrival. As the polar bears dance and the birds sing, it really describes how much excitement and celebration, surrounded her birth. We brought it to the hospital with us and had visitors sign it there. But we also plan to include it as a guest book when we host a little BBQ in a few weeks, introducing her to all our friends and family!
Also, we read Alexie’s book ALL THE TIME! She loves it and gets really excited when we read the comments that people wrote to her. She likes to repeat their names and giggles when she recognizes who wrote it! I’m so glad that we did this and I can only hope that Zoeé loves her book as much as Alexie does.