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Forget Milestones, 2024 Parenting Is About Celebrating the Little Things

Latest Stories
Latest Stories

What is an inchstone, you ask? They are the sweet, mini baby moments that get woven into the fabric of your family but can be forgotten over time — until now, says Alexis Teasdale.

When I first read the term 'inchstones', the aptly named scaled-back version of a milestone, I totally got it. How perfectly coined, because any parent knows it's not just the bigger moments we treasure, like walking and first birthdays or starting school. Of course not. We clap and cheer when they say 'mama' for the first time. We high-five each other when they eat solid food. We look at each other in awe when they surprise us by singing along to a song in the car, and we hustle around in the dark on the night of that first lost tooth. Inchstones are a part of our everyday life, and while exciting in the moment, we often look back and won't remember the details. 'Was that you or your brother?' or 'I'm pretty sure you were one and a half', you'll say. Now, celebrating or marking the moments in some way isn't supposed to be hard or a chore. Please, we have plenty on our plates already. Nor does it have to be about rewards kids can easily get obsessed with. But more of a way to acknowledge the memories and be able to share them with your children later, too. It's the classic 'stop and smell the roses' cliche of the baby years. Ahead, some ideas to get you started.

Take pics… obviously

Captain Obvious, this one is. We all have smartphones, and luckily, we get to capture more moments than any generation before us. But what are we doing with them? Are you backing them up (hopefully!), and are they just sitting on a hard drive or in the Cloud somewhere? Probably. Instead, level up your photo game now before you lose your phone and all that goes with it. One easy way to sort those photos is to make regular, printed photo books. Many apps, like JourniApp and MixBook, make it ridiculously easy to select photos from your phone, and big-name chains like Big W and Harvey Norman have simple-to-use online systems, too. If you want to go old school, a scrapbook is a beautiful momento, and it's easy to quickly stick pieces straight in before they get lost, like that little lock of hair or certificate from a first haircut, a movie ticket to their first show and their daycare locker photo. If you have a nifty instant camera like the Fuji Instax, snapping a quick photo and jotting down the details and date of your inchstone, is easy and nostalgia packed.

Make memory boxes

If cutting and gluing isn't your style, but you like holding onto trinkets, buy chic boxes you can label and fill. Encourage your family and extended family to grab bits and bobs, too, especially if they spend a lot of time with your bub. I had a friend whose child accidentally swallowed their tooth at school (eep!), and the teacher wrote a special letter for the tooth fairy, explaining the situation so they could pop it under their pillow—straight into the memory box!

Start themed traditions

Monthly photos Taking a photo of your child each month is common, as are the cute cards you can buy to include in the pic! You can also get even more creative with it. I had so much fun taking photos of my little girl with slices of cake to represent the month. Typically, for me and baby number three, I did forget a couple of times, but at the end of all 12, the photos were so adorable together, and I'm glad I'd done it. I've also seen this done with slices of pizza, which was so fun, and hello - so easy with takeaway! Maybe the parents' tradition is pizza on the birthday night to save on dishes, and an easy photo opp.

Quick videos We are so lucky with our phones, so make the most of it by filming a monthly or yearly quick video to edit later on. Think, the same background and question each time, like asking your little 'What do you want to be when you grow up' or 'What is your favourite word'. We also all try to capture those first steps, but why not have them run toward you on video every few months, for years! All edited later it will look spectacular and it's a quick, 10 second exercise.

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  • First words - jot down the word on a piece of paper for a photo.
  • First smile - capture it on video, and ask them to smile a few times a year on film to edit it later on.
  • Rolling and crawling - I'm thinking there is some fun to have with camouflage print here!
  • Eating solids - we've created a cute certificate you can easily download and print for a photo.
  • Transitioning out of a swaddle or a cot to a big bed - stitching 'Big Kid Bed' onto a pillowcase to keep would make a sweet keepsake.
  • Potty training success - I'm envisioning a banner made out of toilet paper that they can run through. I can see older siblings getting right into this.
  • First drawing - a refillable frame for kids art means you can display it then tuck it away later.
  • First song or dance - Definitely a moment to capture on video, then ask them to dance to it again and again as they get older.
  • First haircut - If they're nervous about that first haircut, make them a special 'super cape' to wear with them, and keep for dress-ups later.
  • Saying goodbye to a dummy - The Dummy Fairy loves to whisk it away and leave behind sparkles and a note in it's wake. it's a classic for the reason
  • First tooth - Finding a special little bag to pop under their pillow will make the moment memorable, or perhaps a special new toothbrush will appear in the bathroom!
  • Writing their name - transform that first attempt into a t-shirt for parents or grandparents using a business like The Sweater Club.
  • Marking their height - there are some very cool height charts around, that are great for renters or those trying to spare the pantry door.

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