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kaygigi in 2_mommies

Baby Albums?

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.htm - 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?
Thanks :)



Our boys' godfather got us the Tessera memory book WITH the add on for 2 Mommies and the twin packet. We LOVE it. I originally discounted it because of the price, but we'd decided to get it anyway (until The Don gave it to us as a gift!). My justification was that I want our lifestyle to be just one in the sea of potential ways people live. Having a baby book so closely tailored to the boys was perfect for that. The Don went through and reordered the pages and took out all the 'daddy' pages. The book is wonderful. And totally worth the cost when you consider this is a keepsake they/we will have forever about their birth and youth.
Hmmm, very strong recommendation. Might reconsider... At least we could just add it to the registry and see if anyone buys it for us... Hmmm...
thanks for the links - they look nice!

my inclination is to get a blank album and diy the thing. that way i get exactly what i want :)
... oh yeah, and it annoys me that most of the ones you can get are american. we don't have 'mommies' in australia, we have 'mummies'!
My oldest has Todd Parr's "My Book About Me" (or something like that). It is now out of print and it is all families friendly.

My youngest has a book called "My Baby and Me" that was given to my oldest when the baby was born, by her preschool. It seems pretty inclusive, it is all about the baby from the big sibling's perspective and is freaking adorable.
Yeah, there seemed to be a couple of books from 5-10 years ago that would've worked, but now seem to be out of print! I found 4CoolGals in a comment on a lesbian parenting blog, but their site is now empty and I can't find any further info. The Parr book was also mentioned, but again, impossible to track down.

This is child #1, but the second rec we'll keep in mind for the next one :)
I think we'll probably DIY something. I am planning on using some of my LJ pregnancy journal entries for some of it. We're coparenting so I don't know how well anything pre-made would fit. I haven't really thought about this much yet! I probably should seeing as I don't have long to go!

I do have a book I had some people write messages to our baby in at the baby shower and there's some lovely messages in there too. :)
We managed to find one at a big bookstore (BOrders or Barnes and Noble) that was not mommy/daddy without special ordering...

We also took a regular photo album and had people write letters to the baby that we put in there.

You'd think they'd make more that weren't so specific. What about single mothers for instance?
We're going to hit a brick and mortar bookstore either this weekend or sometime next week after Z's summer internship ends, so hopefully we'll get lucky. The serious downfall of internet shopping of course is that you can't always see inside the books to make sure they work for you before you buy. But good to know they do exist in the mass market!

Between this and the lack of butch maternity clothes, I almost feel driven into starting a business for lesbian/queer parents!
My wife surprised me with a baby book last week, since we have the first u/s pics and can start filling it out. But the one she bought is a mommy/daddy book, and filling it out I started to get sad/angry/bothered...which is not how I want to feel during this activity! We bought some scrap-booking materials and used letters to do MAMA/MOMMY on every page. It's really not that bad, but in retrospect I think we'll probably fill this one out and then find one of the online publishers to print one out in the end, just to have something nice and well-put-together.

And it's not just the mommy/daddy thing either, the baby books available in stores assume every child has two sets of grandparents only - my wife's parents are remarried and on the family tree there's no place for them! It's a ridiculous layout considering families without divorce and with both parents involved are a rarity, really.

I think it's sad that it's extremely expensive to have a baby book that's reflects our family's form. The same goes for onesies or bibs or anything at all that you might want to say other than i <3 daddy/i <3 mommy. Yes, you can get merchandise that say i <3 my mommies or something of that nature, but a onesie ilke that is about $20! Why?!

Good post, this has been a real issue lately with buying things for Little Bean. Wife isn't so bothered by it because Mommy gear is abundant. But...what about ME?
Ugh, I hadn't considered the grandparents issue! The kid will have six: my spouse's parents, plus my mom and stepdad and my dad and stepmom. And since I'm actually closer to my stepdad's siblings than I am to my mom's siblings, I don't want to leave out those aunts, uncles and cousins, either!

And my spouse has remarked similarly about the abundance of "Mommy" labeled gear. So the kid gets to declare its love for me, but not Z? I have a friend who does screen printing as a hobby, and if I supply the blank onesies, she'll print stuff on them for very little (just covering her supplies, really). I think we'll end up getting custom stuff from her as a result, but yeah, so annoying that it is so expensive!

December 2011

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