Along Came Enzo (and our Baby Memory Book)

Posted by Leonardo Cortes on 2019 Jul 20th

Little did we know when we decided it was time to expand our product line beyond the already traditional made-to-order wall decals and art prints to include a baby memory book, that we were actually designing a piece that would hold the memories of our very own family.

Admittedly, when the task at hand is to capture the first year in a child’s life, there is no shortage of options to tackle it with, so the following question begs an outstanding answer: why bring yet another baby journal to an already saturated market? Perspective is the right answer. To our eyes, the plethora of baby journals out there is nothing but different versions of the same concept: strictly thematic, heavily illustrated and traditionally structured journals to be filled up systematically and quickly by automata parents as just another task that needs to be checked off of an ever growing list which all conscientious parents must abide by these days.

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This is not how we believe things should be. First and foremost, the child should be the star of the book, the main focus, the purpose of it all. Not the colorful illustrations, not the compulsory fill-in-the-blanks, not the prevailing wicked witticisms. A baby memory book is meant to be cherished beyond parents’ nostalgia, being proudly carried by the adult that the featured child will become as a precious record of one of the most beautiful moments in life which, unfortunately, our brains insist in robbing us of any sound recollection. So, what if lilac and lime green are not that fancy in 20+ years? What if the photos’ color composition does not blend well with the bright, vivid colors of today’s books or if they have a different size and aspect ratio than the frames heavily drawn for that purpose? What if the illustrations are trying way too hard and end up unintentionally competing for the attention meant to the actual photos and notes? What if the stylistic choices of today become the mullet and goatee of tomorrow?

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With these concerns in mind, my wife and I set out to design a baby memory book which would transcend time and fashion with a clean, classic look; with illustrations lightly scattered throughout to adorn (not compete with) the delightful photos-to-come, which could be of varying sizes and shapes; with prompts and suggestions of baby’s milestones and firsts but with plenty of room for adaptation and improvisation, just as the baby’s life unfolds; with a flexible layout to allow for a lot of writing, some writing or none at all! That was when we said those magical words: Let’s create a baby journal we would have loved to fill up ourselves, if we had a baby. Why magical? That’s the “little did we know” bit…

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After 20 years of a successful marriage and being very much in love still, my wife and I had decided over time that we would not have kids. Not that we never considered or never wanted to, just that, after thorough consideration, the scale always tipped towards “no”… until a bright Monday morning when I looked at her in the eyes and told her, with a smile on my face, something I had never said before: You are pregnant! And then the following conversation ensued:
- No, I’m not. Why would you say that?
- Because you are.
- Don’t say that, stop being silly.
- Okay, but you are pregnant.

As destiny would have it, she turned to me all worried five weeks later to say that her period was late. Then came the off-the-shelf tests, the doctor’s appointment and the final “congratulations, you are pregnant!”. To this day, I do not know what made me say those words to her the morning after our son, Enzo, was conceived. Maybe I felt his vibe, maybe deep down I truly wanted to be a father, maybe it was just a coincidence. The fact of the matter is that almost 8 months ago, at the ripe age of 49, I became the father of a healthy and vibrant little being, brought into this world by his lovely 41-year-old mommy. So, as you can see, this is the beginning of a unique story, just as unique as every other baby’s, and I think I know exactly where I will write it down…

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