Somehow in our name discussions today, we got into the idea of taking baby naming books out of the library or purchasing them from amazon, and that somehow led us to baby keepsake books or albums. And that led us into a conundrum probably common to the group, so I decided to share our frustrations with you all and hopefully get some recommendations or advice in return!
Our main frustration is that almost every. single. baby. album. has a page for "Mommy" and a page for "Daddy." Mommy gets her family tree, Daddy gets his. Mommy has her interests, Daddy has his. This probably constrains straight couples who don't use Mom and Dad, but it especially constrains our families! There were some exceptions, but none we found satisfying thus far, though admittedly we're only looking at the internet, basically, and I would really like personal feedback or to flip through some of the options in person before buying or adding to our registry.
Exception 1: And Then There Was Me
Pros: Totally lesbian friendly, totally co-parenting friendly, single parent friendly, has pages for sperm donors, egg donors, surrogates, birth moms, adoptive proceedings, etc.
Cons: Pricey for what amounts to a binder with some pre-printed pages. Reviews suggest the quality is off.
Exception 2: Baby Memory Book by Tessera Publishing
Pros: You can order "two moms" pages, as well as all sorts of adoption pages, donor pages, surrogacy pages, single mom pages, and multiples pages. You can also order specific religious pages, a bonus if you're like us and active in a religion that has a lot of baby-related ceremonies or special holidays (we're Jewish). You can add month by month, pregnancy, and extra keepsake pages, too.
Cons: Every single one of those page add-ons costs extra money, and with a base price of $60, a book that fits our family and our desires adds up to over $100. That is way more than we want to spend on something that is likely to be left half-blank and shoved in a corner of a closet. Seriously. We want something to periodically update, but we're both kind of awful at even updating our LJs, so we have low expectations. The only thing that kept my mom filling out my baby book is that as a toddler, I was OBSESSED with mine, causing her to fill it out fully, though years later. We don't want to drop, or have anyone drop for us, that kind of money.
Other: The site has other, similar, baby books, but at ever more higher prices. I don't get why they charge extra for the gay parents, when we're just going to have to take out the straight parent pages... can't I just do an exchange?
Exception 3: Our World Our Family (http://ourworldourfamily.com/babybook.h
tm - LJ wouldn't let me link directly for this one, I don't know why)
Pros: By lesbians, for lesbians.
Cons: Just not that impressed with the sample pages, and the use of "Mommies" instead of more neutral language (which may work for many of you, but doesn't work for us). They say their book is "in stock" but the page was last updated in 2006, which gives me obvious pause. I'm sure I could email them to ask if they are still making the book, but...
Of course, we always have the option of making one ourselves. We've made a bunch of photobooks on things like Mixbook and MyPublisher, and could easily just record the important things and later make it into a book. That way, all of the pictures would look nice and crisp, instead of printing then pasting them into a physical book. What we'd lose is the prompts that are in the books, the kind of fun activity of filling them out, and the ability to do it in real time - you can't print out a photo book page by page with those services. Another option would be to do just that, design a page, print it out at the local print shop or photo center, and then put it in a binder of our own design. My fear, however, is that the more steps it takes to do this, the less likely we are to do it.
So, fellow lesbian/queer moms, what did you all do for baby albums? Did you bother with an album at all? Did you find one that worked? Did you modify a hetero one? Did you DIY one?