While Isobel was still quite young we decided to create a Friends of Isobel book. Something that had photos of all of our friends so we could show her the names and faces and she could be familiar with everybody, including our good friends who live really far away. This worked out so well I immediately started work on a Family of Isobel book. That’s taking a little longer, though, because I want to be sure to involve family we rarely see who live far away. It’s been a struggle to track down all their photos but I’m almost done.
Isobel has really loved her Friends of Isobel book. From a young age she’s been absolutely fascinated by photographs and much prefers photographs to any cartoon image. We point to the faces in the book and say their names and she watches attentively.
We used Shutterfly to create our book. We went with softback because it was cheaper and money’s tight, but I sometimes think we should have gone with hardback because a toddler dishes out some heavy wear and tear. All of the pages are wrinkled on yesterday she even managed to rip one page out. The cover is bent and worn with love.
This kind of loving abuse would have happened to a hardcover book as well. Really the only way to have prevented it would have been the careful monitoring of her every time she was around it. That really went against the spirit of what we were trying to accomplish but I certainly understand any parent’s decision to do so. We’ve had so many wonderful moments of catching her with the book when she didn’t know we were looking, flipping through it, pointing to our friends’ faces, and talking to them. I’ve seen her sit in front of the book and say, over and over in her pitch-perfect baby voice, “Hi. Hi. Hi.”
Sometimes she just babbles softly to the pages of the book and sometimes she’ll talk to them excitedly. For us it has been worth the abuse this book has suffered to see her make her own memories with the photos of her and our friends.
The small softcover book that we purchased was about twenty bucks I think but this could easily be done for less. In fact, a book is not necessary at all. You could easily just get a small photo album and fill it with photos of people, animals, or places to familiarize your baby with. We added a small amount of text next to each photo that includes our friend’s name and a sentence about them. This way we could read the book to her at bedtime. A photo album with pictures could work just as well as you could tell whatever stories pop into your mind. And it would be cheap enough and easy enough to change the photos around if you got bored. The possibilities are endless and really the point is to share photos of people you love with your kid in a way that entertains and educates them.
Currently this book is pretty ratty and worn-looking but it reminds me of the story of the Velveteen Rabbit: this is what one looks like when one is loved.