What are you most prized possessions? Up until last week I would have said my engagement ring, wedding band, my phone and computer or perhaps my beautiful new car. These are all materialistic things, if I lost or damaged them I could go to the shop and buy replacements. With all my precious photos online or 'in the cloud' these days it's unlikely that I would be grabbing photo albums if there was a fire. In this digital age I would be grabbing all my gadgets and running. This was until recently when I came across some forgotten precious items that suddenly takes top priority.
A month ago I came across a small box that I was in the back shelf of my very messy study. As I opened the lid my heart skipped a beat and my tummy dropped all at the same time. Inside were all little bits and pieces from Oli's birth and first year. I had regularly been adding things to the collection but didn't notice how full it was actually getting. Inside were things like his first dummy, his hospital ID bands and photos from just after he was born. It was overflowing with cards of congratulations and beautiful messages from our nearest and dearest on the birth of our new baby. There were his first birthday cards, christmas cards and tiny keepsakes. Tears rolled down my face as I was taken right back to his birth and through his first year. It felt wrong keeping all of these precious memories overflowing in a forgotten box in my study.
A few days later I was out shopping with my sister. She had been over when I discovered the overflowing box of memories and suggested I buy a new place to keep all my bits & pieces. The old Peter Alexander pyjama box had served its purpose for awhile but as the lid no longer fit things had started spilling out. In Kikki K I found the perfect sized, beautifully made box. I bought it home and forgot about it until last week when I found some spare time. I dedicated my 20 free minutes when Ian took cranky, teething Oli to Bunnings to sort through everything and rehome these precious things.
When I put away Oli's first dummy Ian thought I was disgusting for keeping it. Oli had this dummy from his time in the NICU up until a month or so after he came home. It was in his mouth so often that it was like another limb! I almost didn't recognise him without it. I remember as the nurses were putting Oli into the plastic transfer cot after he was born and asking if he was allowed a dummy. I said yes immediately - how could I deny him that natural comfort? As he didn't eat for many days after each bowel operation the dummy was a life saver. Over his first year I couldn't have got through some days and nights without a dummy! It really ticks me off when people say 'Oh you don't need that!' or 'Take that silly thing out of your mouth!' I find it so trivial to debate whether or not a baby should have a dummy. I have heard it all, he will have it until he's five, his teeth will be ruined, it will ruin his sleep. It honestly doesn't bother me because in those moments of need - pop in the plug and I get atleast a few moments silent! Hehe
I kept Oli's anaesthetic mask because it smells like strawberries and reminds me of how far he has come. This was from his first bronchoscopy and CT scan. He was so horrible waking up from the general anaesthetic, he screamed for hours. In about a month Ol is going for another bronch and I'm nervous about it but I keep reminding myself that he is so much bigger & stronger now. Such a far cry from that teeny tiny baby last year.
I didn't expect to be spending Christmas of 2013 in hospital but there is where we found ourselves! Lucky for us Oli was discharged two days later so we were at the end of our stay. Theres something magical about being in a hospital over christmas, especially in the NICU. The nurses went above & beyond. This is a card handmade by a nurse who goes to all the babies and stamps their foot. I will always cherish this card, its just so cute and just what we needed at the time. The next day I saw Oli's foot and thought it was bruised! I got so worried until it finally clicked. It was also surreal to read 'To Mum and Dad' I often have to remind myself I'm someones MUM! Christmas was also the first time my family got to meet Oli. Theres a rule in the NICU that only grandparents can visit and must be one at a time with either mum or dad. On Christmas day extended family is allowed to visit. My brothers and sisters were so happy getting to see Oli for the first time after a month of him being around!
It was so nice to sit down and read all of these beautiful cards. At the time I quickly read each one but my mind was so preoccupied with Oli I forgot how generous and lovely everyone had been. Having a baby is such a joy, not just for the parents but for everyone. It's so nice to know that other people are happy for you. I'm such a card person, I love giving and receiving them. Unlike Ian who thinks cards are a silly waste of money!
These photos were the only thing I had when I left the hospital. I stuck them on my bedside table with blue tack and stared at them as I went off to sleep every night and as I pumped milk every few hours. The teeny tiny baby in these photos is a far cry from the one that is sprawled out snoring next to me now! I'm so proud of Oli for how far he has come, he's such a tough little cookie! How cute are the tiny ID tags, I cant believe his little wrist was that small! The note in the middle says "Sorry Mummy, but I peed all over my beautiful blanket! Olly xx" This note made me so happy, not only was I Ol's Mummy but he didn't have a catheter in and was doing 'normal' baby things like weeing all over everything! As a nurse I will never underestimate doing little things like this anymore and how much it can change a parents day.
My first and only baby balloon from two beautiful girls my sister works with. This may look like rubbish to some but it holds a lot of memories for me. It meant so much that people who I hadn't actually 'met' in real life cared so much about us to send us a card and balloon. I quickly learnt that people are kind and beautiful and just want to help.
How precious is this little note? It was given to my sister in law from one of my nieces friends. When Oli was born I was so focused on him that I didn't notice how much our family was affected by everything. Like I said above people are so kind and generous. It's not until you go through struggles that you notice how much others are willing to help. Ian & I cried when we saw this note, not only because it stated the fact Oli was sick but that a little girl could be so generous.
How cute is this photo of Oli and Ian's hand? I was trying to get a good shot when Oli arrived home and that idea was completely thrown out the window! I love that his chubby baby hand is pointing to my face. It just goes to show how much he has grown!
I glued all of Ol's first birthday cards into a blank photo album to keep them together. As you can see my photo's started to go downhill quickly as Oli wanted to play with everything!
I got so bagged out by my family for mentioning I might keep Ol's hair from his first haircut. They carried on so much that I dismissed the idea. When I got to the hairdressers they had the envelope all ready to go! Oli has had two haircuts so far and needs another one in the next week or so! I don't know what I feed him but it's amazing for hair growth!
I was so upset when I got to the bottom of the box. I couldn't find Oli's cot card anywhere. It wasn't until Ian got home and reminded me of the safe place I had put it that I finally relaxed! Like I said before, material possessions are easily replaced ie. phone, computer etc. This little card could never be replaced! At work I write on these cards without a second thought - it never really occurred to me before I had Oli that they could actually mean so much to a mum.
I would love to get a few of these boxes for each year as Oli grows. It's so nice to take a trip down memory lane and look through forgotten items. If theres one thing I have learnt over the past year or so it's that the saying is definitely true. They grow so quickly! I now have a cheeky toddler, I'm trying not to take any day for granted. I know that this stage won't last long and I have started to take a step back, put down my phone and just play with Oli. I know the days are numbered. It's so nice to be able to hold onto that newborn and baby stage through little items like this. My favourite thing to do when I was a little girl was to look through my baby photos. My Mum has an album for each of us and I love nothing more than to look at the pictures of myself and my family from when I was born. These are the things that can't be replaced, forget my phone or computer. This box is my number one priority in the unlikely event of a fire. Which given my history is more probably more likely than I would like to admit. I can't help it if I leave that candle burning all day or the paper towel accidentally rolls onto the bubbling pot on the stove as I walk out of the room. Oops! Lucky I'm prepared! And married to a fireman!
Where do you keep your precious baby things? Are they on display or lost in the back of a cupboard?