What's one of the first things you do after your baby is born? I mean, after checking to see what sex it is. You look for the first smile, don't you? You hold the baby up to the mirror, and you point and coo and tweet, trying to get him to laugh. Of course, it takes some time, but soon it happens. The baby smiles! Life's first giggles. From then on, family life is filled with keeping a watch for these milestones.
But the older sibling in the family is growing, too. Why not write a simple book about it? What's the same? What's different? Your preschooler or primary-school child will gain a better sense of accomplishments and appreciate the baby steps we take as we learn and grow.
First, have a mini interview with the older sibling to talk about his skills. Can he count to 10? Does he sleep in a regular bed? Can he hop? Jot down what he has to say, then put on your "publishing hat."
On the top of a sheet of construction paper, use markers or print on your computer a line such as "MY BABY SISTER ..." Finish the sentence with a fact noted earlier by your older child, such as "My baby sister crawls." At the bottom of the page, print in large letters a corresponding fact about the older sibling: "I can jump and skip!"
"My baby sister has one tooth. I have lots of teeth."
"My baby sister eats rice cereal and mashed bananas. I eat hamburgers."
"My baby sister uses a bottle. I use a cup."
End on a page where you note something the two kids have in common, such as "My baby sister smiles. I smile too," or "My baby brother likes his blankie. I like my blankie too!"
Illustrate the cover and write a title, such as "BABY ASHTON AND ME." Decorate the cover and pages with photos and drawings or glue pictures from magazines. Punch two holes along the left side of each sheet and weave a ribbon through, finishing it off with a knot or bow.
Now you've added a new book to your family library! It makes for fine reading you can share time and again together.
Tip: For extra durability, laminate pages according to manufacturer's directions, or cover each page with clear, adhesive-backed paper.
Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna's Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."