“Let us see the dinosaur app!”
I hear it every day. They crowd around, squeezing together to see my phone screen, and I pass it off to whoever seems to have the least-sticky hands.
The “dinosaur app” is Timehop. They call it that because the icon has the “mascot” of a blue dinosaur on it. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an app that you can connect to the photos on your camera as well as any social media, and it will pull up what pictures you’ve taken and what you’ve posted on the current date in past years.
I first downloaded the app for my own personal enjoyment. It was fun to take a few moments of each day to privately reminisce. But when I started show it to my kids, Timehop took on a whole new dimension.
Memory-keeping is not one of my strengths. I never print physical photos, and we only have a few photo books (so far, kids #3 and #4 don’t have any). But the history of my social media has become a scrapbook of milestones, daily life, and family adventures.
My oldest can read, and my kids are fascinated by my posts from pre-kid life. The random things I wrote spark memories and hilarious stories…
“You had a pet hamster?”
“Why did Daddy throw a dead bird on the roof?!?!”
Knowing how much they (and I) love to look through the pictures, I’ve started posting more of the little things to remind myself in 2023 or 2028 about what this season of life was like. A photo and one sentence on Instagram easily documents anything from the mundane to a milestone.
Because of Timehop, I’ve started to view social media as a sort of journal. Good memories bring warm fuzzies, but I don’t limit the entries to my highlight reel. Frizzy hair, burned carrots, and laundry piles are mixed with the cute outfits, new recipes, and baby snuggles.
Because of Timehop, I’m reminded of the longevity of my posts. It may be easy to rant about something in the moment, but the internet is foreverrrrrr. This is even more significant now that one of my kids is a reader. No shaming. I’m not going to vent the juicy details about one of my kid’s behavior issues or give the play-by-play of a meltdown. Someday those kids are going to see that photo or read that post, and if I’d cause embarrassment for them looking at it then, I probably shouldn’t be posting it now.
My exception to this is toddler meltdowns, because most of those are over the randomest, silliest things. Things that beg to be documented. Things that even they will laugh about someday.
These days they giggle at baby pictures of themselves and talk about life a long time ago in Texas. They remember the fantastic trip to Disney and get excited about pictures from Deanna Rose even though they’ve been there a million times.
And Timehop reminds me there is more than today. With littles, it’s so easy to get sucked into survival mode in the moment. When I look back on those days with babies and sleep deprivation and reflux and hard transitions, I’m reminded that it was just a phase, just like the joys and struggles I’m in now (and many more to come).
So my social media isn’t just about showing a new recipe I tried or sharing pictures with the grandparents, it’s about documenting milestones for myself. My future self will need reminders about the little things and perspective in whatever stage she’s in.
Thanks, Timehop, for being the lazy mom’s scrapbook.