Those first 18 months or so are full of new milestones- first tooth, learning to crawl, eating solids, first step, first words, and on and on. I wanted to remember them all but as a single mother with twin infants, I definitely did not have baby books to record that stuff, and even if I did, I certainly wouldn't have had the energy to remember to pull out the books and write things down before I forgot. I used a few quick ways to record the big milestones, like a little notebook where I jotted anything and everything that needed to be written down, and an app on my phone (where I mostly kept medical information).
But when the vocabulary explosion started happening, I needed to be able to write down words as soon as the girls said them. If I waited even an hour I usually forgot completely or couldn't remember the exact word or which kid had said what! Neither the phone app or the notebook strategies were cutting it because it was never there when I needed it and it took too long to write down the word, plus which kid said it.
Enter my word wall:
I already had a roll of black contact paper, which I had gotten to make labels for my pantry and other things around the house, so I cut out two speech bubbles and stuck them on the wall (I'm a renter so I try to use non-damaging stuff on the walls whenever I can!). I printed out a picture of each of their faces and stuck those on the wall with non-damaging command strips and voila! I kept a couple of pieces of chalk in a couple of places around the house. This wall is right outside the bathroom, pretty much right in the middle of our apartment but out of the main high-traffic areas. Any time I heard a new word, I just grabbed a piece of chalk from wherever I was and wrote it down in that child's speech bubble. So much easier!
It quickly became a nice conversation starter for family members and house guests who loved looking for new words that had appeared since their last check. And it was a fun way to have a mini-celebration with the girls each time they said a new word, because they could watch me write it on the wall next to their picture. Later, when I had time and some portion of my wits about me, I recorded the new words in one of my notebooks so I had it together with their other milestones.
I meant to take it down a long time ago, but I just never got around to it. Now that the girls are starting to sound out letters, they have a new-found interest in the words next to their names! They ask me to read their "baby words" to them all the time, and love hearing and seeing what they said when they were first learning to talk :)
How do you keep track of milestones? Leave a comment!