For the record, if you didn’t know how very, very anal-retentive I am BEFORE you read this post, you will most definitely by the end.

Meet my friend Notebook:

Notebook has sat on Ali’s bookshelf for the entire 2.25 years of her life. It has been my constant companion of note taking, recordkeeping, and memory-helping.

But it is time to retire Notebook.

I didn’t just decide to do it all of a sudden and all at once, of course. It has been a process. Slowly but surely, I have weaned myself off of his friendly help. And it’s just about the right time, too, as Notebook was about to run out of nice, clean pages to write on.

What have I kept in Notebook?

Well, it started when we brought Ali home from the hospital. I started in Section 1 tracking all of her feedings, including times, lengths, and notes.

The notes ranged from her moods, where we were, what was going on, and if the feeding was interrupted by a blowout poo (you remember how those newborn poos sound, don’t you? They are so bombastically explosive that you jump up, knowing that you and the wall behind you have just been completely coated with splatter-poo, only to discover that there were no pyrotechnics, but that it just sounded like there were).

Here was that first week of motherhood, when I TOTALLY knew NOTHING about what I was doing, but knew that if I tracked it, when things went wrong, at least I would have some kind of record to go back and figure out where I messed up:

I even tracked her feeding habits once she started eating baby food and “human” food:

But I didn’t just track feedings.

No, that would have been too simple.

I used Section 2 to track diapers:

That’s right. w = wet, d = dirty, and wd = wet n’ dirty.

Convinced of my craziness yet?

Then Section 3 was reserved for sleeping times and nap times. It started out with a LOT of notes as I was trying to figure out how to help my baby sleep the best:

Then became more of a number crunchin’ chart as she got a bit older,

And then the last full page ever written in Notebook tracked just numbers, with sparing notes.

I TOTALLY would have preferred to track all of this on a fun fancy Excel spreadsheet, but Ali didn’t have that sort of technological capabilities in her bedroom. And what new Mom can remember that kind of information until she gets downstairs to the computer?

To be honest, my family was much more shocked that I wasn’t tracking it in Excel than they were that I was tracking all of that crazy information to begin with.

Did I use this information?

Absolutely. During

those first challenging months of parenting, I looked and relooked at the information, trying to figure out how to make my very unhappy baby happy. I suspected long before the doctors that she wasn’t getting enough to eat. They were still trying all of the acid reflux medicines, thinking that was her problem.

So how have I weaned myself off of my friend Notebook?

I quit tracking the diapers first, which I’m sure you’re relieved to know. I got tired of writing down her voluminous numbers of diapers and their product right before her first birthday.

I kept tracking her meals until she was about 15 months old, then I decided that I didn’t need that info anymore either.

But her sleep, I’ve held onto that one. It wasn’t too hard to track (just writing down numbers twice a day doesn’t constitute “crazy person” like it does when you’re writing down every dirty diaper with the dirty details), and it was nice to be able to see patterns and routines in her naps. What worked and what didn’t.

But over the past couple of weeks, I’ve lost my passion for my recordkeeping.

So I quit.

That’s right, cold turkey. No Notebook patch or gum required. Not even a ten step program.

But I will keep my dear friend Notebook. I’m sure he will be handy when I have another baby. I can look back and see ALL of my mistakes with Ali.

And all of her poos.

What more could you ask for?

Plus, who knows when a Home Economics PhD Student will happen along my path and ask me if I have any large amounts of data that they could use in their thesis on the relation between infant feedings, poos, and sleeping habits?

21 thoughts on “The End of a (Very OCD) Era

  1. First of all, WOW! That is the best word for all of that. I did do all of that for Woodstock for his first six months. The doctors told us to start as soon as he was born. It was sooooo helpful because he had all kinds of reflux and grumpy/colic issues. It was the only way to keep up for everything for the doctors. In a way I understand but after like 12 months….I don’t know how you did it. You might be the definition of OCD :)

  2. Wow! I can’t imagine keeping track of all that stuff for over 2 years. Of course I am anything but type A and numbers aren’t my thing. And although I might say it is a little looney, if it made you happy and helped you through that tough time then it was worth it and who cares what others think.

  3. I did the same thing! But not for 2 yrs, lol. I wish I had done it with Emily, just so I could have it, because I had to work when I had her & missed out on a lot. Knowing her routine would've been nice.

    Anyway, with Olivia, I charted when she slept, ate & when I changed a diaper. I didn't so much write notes, but I wrote numbers. It kept me sane. ;o)

  4. I don’t even know what to say. I am like Commenter Christie Jones who said she will need a minute to process all of this.

    If you are this organized with everything, will you come clean my house? And all my closets? And my van?

    And teach math to my kids….

  5. Everyone is surprised but me that you kept the records. What I am surprised at is that you quit cold turkey; that is a shocker. You could take your friend notebook now and put it on an Excell spreadsheet. LYB

  6. *ahem* wow. that. is. something….

    It makes me wonder what other notebooks you have lying around your house…oh, wait, you have Excel. So, it makes me wonder what spreadsheets you have tucked away in your computer and what other data you’ve been collecting….

    I never wrote things down like that, but I kept a mental log of Harris’ diapers, feedings, and the like. With David, I did it again in my head, which was easy since he never slept for more than 2 hours in the first 3 months of life. With Amy Beth, I have no idea what her schedule is. And hers is constantly changing because of everyone else’s schedules and needing to go places in the middle of her naps and such. It’s a good thing she is a laid back baby. Poor third-born kids….

    I just noticed I ended every paragraph with a “…..” That can’t be good. I think it means my brain is going numb….




    So, does “RB” and “LB” mean what I think it does? Wouldn’t it have been easier to name ’em Wynonna and Naomi or something? Not that my boobs have names, or anything. ‘Cause that would be weird.

    I’ll go away now.

  8. WOW.

    I dont know that I can say much more than that…I’ve known you for a long time, my friend, but I had no. idea. that you are that anal.

    BUT, that’s why we love you Rachel! And I’m happy that your record keeping helped you!

  9. I am very OCD about a lot of things and I have many such notebooks, but I never got it together to do that with my kids. And it would have been VERY helpful to have Abby’s to refer to when Grayson came along because I could remember NOTHING about when Abby was a baby. It was like starting all over again…

  10. Wow! I’m impressed! I definitely did all that for the first few months (how else is a sleep-deprived new mother supposed to remember anything?) but after a while I eased out of it. I’m impressed that you kept it up that long! I’m type A and love lists, charts, and notebooks! :)

  11. I don’t see how you kept up with all of that info. WOW!! Supermom for sure! I guess Congrats are in order for graduating away from the “Notebook”. :)

  12. thanks for the link! just now read this post today. :) And now that I know you’re a bit crazy, I’ll keep coming back! ha!

    also, I’m going to never EVER let my husband read this because he’s such a stats and records keeper, that he’d probably think you two would be a perfect match! :)
    Eden’s first 6 months or so, HE wrote down every feeding. Which means when he came home in the evening he’d ask me to recount ALL of the times that I fed her so he could write it down and make sure she was eating 8 times a day! It wasn’t about him making sure I was doing my job :) but just about him NEEDING to keep stats about his new baby girl. ha! what a weirdo.
    oh, I mean, uh… :)

  13. I thank the Lord for this post because it in some way validates that I am not the only obsessive, crazy momma. I did this for Abigail for 15 months, too (that’s when I stopped nursing her). And I’m doing it now w/ Lydia. I now have an Itzbeen also to time the duration of nursing and how long it’s been since last nursing, but I still write down the sides, start times, duration, how much I pump, how long she naps, what baby food she eats, and if she poops. Little embarrassed, but not feeling so abnormal now. Thanks!

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