What strikes me as unique about Jill Caryl Weiner’s new book When We Became Three – A Memory Book for the Modern Family is this baby journal is geared toward having dads participate as well as the moms most books like this are marketed toward.
Weiner, a journalist whose articles on parenthood have been published in New York Magazine and The New York Times among others, recognizes that modern dads are more involved in their children’s everyday lives than ever before and they want to track their family’s journey just as much as moms.
“All the other books were too precious or they weren’t funny or they didn’t involve (dad),” she said in an interview I conducted with her at the Brooklyn Baby and Family Expo in April. ”I wanted a book for the family and dads are so important.”
When We Became Three is easy to navigate and lots of fun for anyone interested in preserving their budding family’s journey with fondness and humor. Its format will be familiar to anyone who has ever played the word game Mad Libs: pre-written text with spaces for dad and mom to fill in the blanks with descriptive words, phrases and even full paragraphs. There are also multiple choice questions that encourage parents to reveal their feelings on certain memories or solutions to new baby and family challenges. Then the whole family can open this time capsule years later and reminisce about the first years of baby’s life.
When We Became Three got me thinking about how life changed for us as soon as our son Jake was born. I find it funny that before Jake was born, my wife and I never spoke as much about poop as we do now. And the “Diaper Drama” section got me thinking about how I always find unique goofy solutions to challenges that always pop up at the wrong time. I found myself smiling at the memories of the many times Jake soiled himself and I didn’t have enough diapers left. I was once forced to take him to a public bathroom, and gave him a “bird bath” in the sink. I then put his onesies back on and prayed that I got him home before he had another blowout.
This is the charm of When We Became Three. Every family that buys the book will come up with very different memories. It reminds us how challenging it is raising a child for the first time. Then you laugh at some of the crazy, funny solutions you came up with to solve a problem as traumatic as your baby’s first public diaper volcano.
Weiner says it can be really meaningful. “It’s about the memory and the moments and not just the days,” she said.