Childrearing

Father Documents New Son’s Life Six Words At A Time

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Parents who keep meticulous scrapbooks of baby’s first steps and first foods have a new bar to clear. Larry Smith, creator of the Six-Word Memoir project, has chosen a very unique method to capturing his new baby son’s firsts. Smith pens a six-word memoir to capture each milestone he and his son Lukas reach together.

Smith recently wrote a piece at Isis laying out some of his favorites, beginning with the day of his son’s birth during a snowstorm in January (“Hitchhiked to delivery room—blizzard boy!”). He offered some of his favorites with an explanation as to how they came about:

“Pregnancy is Poetry. Parenting is Prose.”

This six-worder is a play on former New York Governor Mario Cuomo’s famous line, “You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose.” When I posted this memoir to the site it was one of the ones that people most responded to, in part, I think, because the words both explain themselves and because you can create your own interpretation. For me, I have always put pregnant women (and especially my wife) on a pedestal: they just look so beautiful as they go through so many major mind and body changes. However dreamy that vision may be, once the baby arrived, I felt like it was all business.

“Parenting: Idiot. Expert. Idiot. Expert. Idiot.”

It’s amazing how some part of your baby’s life consumes you. Like a lot of new parents, our baby had bad gas. For two weeks our whole life was about gas—we read the books and the blogs; consulted doctors and friends; my little sister, mother of two small boys, would text over advice about techniques and gripe water. At some point we mastered gas, or maybe it just moved on, and I felt like I was Parent of the Year. Until…the next mystifying thing happens. And I’m an idiot all over again. One suspects this patterns repeats it self for the next twenty or so years.

Smith’s little parenting gems not only provide a moving storyline to his own experience as a parent, but also distill his son’s life into poetry. Considerably more creative than saving ratty baby blankets and jars full of baby teeth like my mom did.

(photo: nytimes.com)