March 2, 2008

How History is Made

When I was three years old, my mother started keeping a journal for me. At night, she'd come into my room with a book and a pen and ask me what I did that day and write down my response verbatim. That journal she kept for me is one of my most precious mementos of childhood. I told stories about playing with my siblings, snuggling with my dad and other sweet moments.

With hopes of continuing this tradition with my own three year old, last week I started a journal for Pixie. It hasn't gone as smoothly as I'd hoped. First of all, almost everything she tells me to write down are blatant lies. In all her daily recaps, somehow going to the park with Dad and eating pancakes at McDonald's are worked in, regardless of what we really did. On the one hand I wish she'd be a little more true to the real story but on the other hand, when she looks back at these journals as an adult, she might really think that she spent everyday at the park Dad rather than the reality of spending half the day in Time Out.

This is tonight's entry:
I went to preschool. I love Cher. I want to write "spagetti" in my journal. I want to write "poop" in my journal. Did you write "poop" in my journal? Good! Now "pee" in my journal. I went to the mirror. I went and took off my eyes so I couldn't see and I went to the park. That's all I did.
Somehow this isn't turning into the tender record keeping that I thought it would be, but I'm hoping she'll still get a good laugh out of it as an adult. It does make me wonder about the journal my mother wrote for me as a child. Ninety nine percent of what Pixie reports in her journal are lies. There's a pretty good chance that mine were as well. But at this stage, it doesn't matter. In my opinion, a child's perception of their life is far more important than the realities. I can't wait to see what you do tomorrow, Pixie!

26 comments:

Sue said...

Ha! Implanting false memories in the best possible way. I like it. I can hear it all now:

"Sarah, remember how I used to read to you, every night for hours, right after an hour of family scripture study, every single night for the last three years?"

"I don't remember that Mommy."

"Think hard."

Genius.

momof3crazykids said...

What a great idea. My kids are a little older but I think I might try this.

NG said...

Fantastic idea! I can't wait to see what my 4 year old says.

emma jo said...

I love the idea...I also love her good "imagination" (sometimes thats what we have to call lies in our house to avoid me thinking lowly of my own offspring.)
Perhaps you could put her "creative entries" in a different color.

chanel said...

oh my, this is too wonderful! I LOVE IT!!!! she wants to write poop, gotta love that! she took out her eyes, Hollywood, you got a CRAZY kid, and her maddness is sheer genius!!!!

Colleen said...

That really is a great idea!

amanda said...

my parents wrote in our journals for us every sunday night from the time we could talk until the time that we could write for ourselves. those journals are so precious to me too. but i distinctly remember that we were not allowed to use potty words when my mom was writing in our journals (or any other time around her, really). but one time my older brother was dictating, and he wrote down every potty word that i told him. ahhhhhh, brothers.

Lindsay said...

What a sweet idea! I just might have to try this myself.

My mom used to do something similar for us. We didn't have a camcorder, so she'd record us talking on cassette tapes. She'd tape us reciting our primary talks, singing songs we'd learned in preschool, talking about what sorts of things we liked to do, etc. The occasional tantrum would also get recorded for history. I have to say: it is SO FUN to listen to those tapes! They are hilarious. What memories!

sugar&spicecookies said...

I do this with my daughters as well. It's so fun to go back and read the entries from a couple of years ago. My oldest daughter used to end every entry with" In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." She gets such a kick out of that now!

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

You're good. I don't think I would have the patience for that. I keep a journal for each of my girls about what they are doing, but if I had to listen to my 3 year old dictate her day to me every night I would never get to sleep!

Susan M said...

I wish I would have done this. What a great idea.

I still have a book my oldest son made when he was small for his best friend Rachel. He *loved* that girl. She moved away.

AzĂșcar said...

This is such a great idea. I wonder if I am to lazy to make it happen.

Irishmama said...

Good idea!

Now lets hear some excerpts from the one your mom wrote for you.

Silly Marie said...

Like Amanda said, our mom wrote down what we said. However, I don't think she always wrote down exactly what we said because when my brother wrote for me it was always much funnier, more childish, and much more likely to have lies interspersed.

You can always write a little disclaimer at the end like, "For the record, we didn't actually go to McD's or park today."

bythelbs said...

You have to write down what she says, so you have proof when she's older and tries to deny she would ever do such a thing. Better yet, videotape one of your journal writing sessions, so she can't accuse you of making it up.

I think what you're doing is great. She'll be so grateful to you later. Priceless memories!

Jill Davis Doughtie said...

This is such a terrific idea! And I'm with irishmama -- I want to hear some of your early journal stories, too.

Davis Family said...

Isn't a little embelishment the spice of life? And I vaguely recall a post from you about how to create a great story out of the ordinary......like mother like daughter.

Jenny said...

So funny! Did we ever do that as kids?

Hollywood said...

You ask, I deliver. Here is an entry my Dad recorded for me when I was just barely four years old and we had just gotten the first snow of the year:

"I looked outside the window and saw whiteness all over and that was snow and it was wintertime. My Dad says "not bad." I decorated up my toy box and my Dad came in and said "not bad" again...Well, sometimes me and Dad go out on a date and no one else goes with us. And sometimes I make a popping noise with my tongue and the bottom of my mouth. When I stand on my head it makes me very hurty and I look like a capital "I." ..."

And on and on. Pretty silly stuff.

Lucy said...

How adorable. I wish I had thought of doing that with my kids.
However...one would have rattled on and I'd have been writing till midnight and the other one wouldn't have said a word. Oh well.

Nikki said...

Pixie sounds just like my Gabbers. I've been thinking about keeping a journal of the kids other than my Kiddie Kwips on my blog of random funny things they say. Good idea.

I can totally foresee similar entries from my "creative" girl. My oldest son would probably hve more realistic entries.

What About Mom? said...

just stalked you from MMW.

this is (obviously) a good idea. and i like that their perception of reality is even more telling of what their childhood is like than the reality. if they were lying about eating and stuff, you might wonder if they really were starving. or something.

we helped our 7 yr old start a blog (she uses a pseudonym and won't ever mention our location). the catch is she has to do the writing -- we won't transcribe, though we do spell things out, sometimes.

she gets practice writing, and journaling, and when grandma or auntie comments, it's awesome.

SuperCoolMom said...

That's a great idea - maybe you can write Mom's version after each of Pixie's entries. She'll really get a laugh out of her own creativity later when she can see what she actually did.

(I had to come over when Nikki mentioned this great post.)

Angie said...

Did you come to my house and ask my kids what they did today? They would have repeated the exact same nonsense. Too funny.
KEEP BELLIEVING

tishacalhoun said...

that is a hilarious! penny will love it when she grows up, lies and all! my bro-in-law and sis-in-law do a similar thing with their kids and have been encouraging us to do the same...thanks for another inspiration! sorry to hear of penny's lost blanket :( I hope she is handling it well..

Emma in Canada said...

What a great idea! Is it up for stealing?