January 4, 2014 9:10 AM   Subscribe

How do you keep track of your friend's babies/children? I'm looking for some kind of system to remind me of names, ages, and birthdates for the small humans that my large human friends have brought into the world.

I'm not the best with names, even with adults. And I'm of an age where most of the adults in my age group have, or are having kids.

I don't tend to interact with the kids very often, but when I do, it's super awkward when I don't remember their names. For some of the kids, I'd also like to keep a better track of when their birthdays are (because one of the (many) joys of childfreedom is being able to spoil your friend's kids). I'd also like to be able to engage the parents in conversations about how their kids are doing, because I really do care, I just struggle with telling them all apart.

These small humans, that I have no interest in contacting directly, and who don't for the most part have email addresses or facebooks or phone numbers, don't warrant (in my mind) entries in Google Contacts which is where I keep track of my adult friends. And anyways, that wouldn't show me their relationships to the parents. I could start a spreadsheet, but that wouldn't give me neat reminder features.

I feel like Google Glass will be able to do all of this for me some day, but until I can afford it/don't have to worry about physical assault for wearing them in public... really, what I want is a CRM (Customer Child Relationship Management) system for the little wee-ones. Ideally something that I can access from my phone so that I can quickly look up the family details when I am preparing to see someone I know. Does anything like that exist?

the joke from the title
posted by sparklemotion to Technology (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could use the notes section of your contact directory in your phone.

But mostly, I don't think people will care. "What's his name again?" is not only a reasonable question, but unless the kid is an only child, the parents will get the name wrong 50% of the time anyway.
posted by colin_l at 9:13 AM on January 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

File a note under the parents' name whatever your Rolodex is: outlook contacts, google, iphone contacts whatever.

So the entry says something like:

Spouse's name:
Children's names and birthdates:
posted by slateyness at 9:15 AM on January 4, 2014

Thirding the recommendation to just add the kids' names and birthdays in the notes section of your contacts app. That's what I have been doing for years, and it works fine.

I don't give birthday gifts to my friends' kids (most of whom are young adults now), but if I did, I would add their birthdays to Google Calendar.
posted by merejane at 9:23 AM on January 4, 2014

For their birthdays, you could add a yearly recurring event to your Google calendar. Include the kid's original date of birth in the details (include the year), and set a reminder to email you and text you in advance to give you a little notice. That'll tell you their birthday and how old they are forever!
posted by springbound at 9:24 AM on January 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

For kids whose birthdays I want to send a card or gift for, I put their birthday in Google calendar as an "open" appointment, with a reminder a suitable number of days before. (I created a separate "birthdays" category for these appointments, so they're readily distinguishable from the "you must go to this" appointments in my calendar). I put their birth year in the notes section.

For friends whose kids I want to keep track of more generally, I use the notes field in my contacts manager.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:29 AM on January 4, 2014

I am also childfree and in the process of being inundated with a barrage of friends' new kids, having just entered The Baby Years, so I definitely hear you!

Here's what I do:
* When the kid is born, their birthday gets added as an eternally-reoccurring appointment in Google Calendar with a reminder set to go off a week before and the day of. Birth year and parents' names go in the notes section right away, and as the kid gets older, I add their various interests, likes, and dislikes as notes as well.
* Kid's name and birthday are added as a note under mom and/or dad's contact information, so when we have plans to chat or hang out, I can a) quickly remind myself what the kid's name is and b) when I find out what the kid is totally into these days, I can quickly open up their birthday appointment and add the information.
* I get the automatic reminder a week in advance, quickly scan through the notes to see what I should be making or ordering gift-wise, and mail it out.
* Day of, another automatic reminder arrives and I text or call mom and/or dad to wish kid a happy birthday.
posted by divined by radio at 11:01 AM on January 4, 2014 [10 favorites]

I feel like it is less awkward to ask the name of a kid than it is to ask the name of an adult. Kids seem to navigate situations all the time when adults need to know their names and might not know them already, etc. Just ask! That is, when you come into direct contact with them.
posted by fancyoats at 11:16 AM on January 4, 2014

My idea here is to put in a birth YEAR, not the kid's age or just "April 24" or whatever for birthday. I always forget how old the kids are from year to year, so a birth year will help with that.

I don't have a method of this myself, but it's a good idea. I especially have trouble with this with people whose kids I don't know IRL.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:19 PM on January 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I use a calendar for this and note the child's birth year.
posted by quince at 2:53 PM on January 4, 2014

In the Mac Contacts app, go to the parent's contact and enter the new baby under the "child" category.

Then, add a separate contact for the child that includes only the birthday. The app will allow you to set up a reminder if you'd like, say, one day before the event.

Then, if you're going to call or meet your friend Jane Doe, pull up her contact. All of her children will be listed. Pull up each child's contact info to find the birthday (plus any other salient points you'd like to record, such as nicknames, gifts you've given, etc).
posted by dinger at 3:40 PM on January 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I made a calendar in Google Calendar called "family birthdays". Each entry is a name and year of birth. I have this calendar linked in the calendar app on my phone.
posted by Anne Neville at 6:19 PM on January 4, 2014

I think most parents would be happy to tell you their kid's name and basic stats and what they're up to these days, even if it's for the Nth time in the past X years. If they're anywhere close to normal, they won't expect you to be totally invested in their children's lives and to know all the details.

But yeah, like many others, I just add the kids' names as a note in the parent's contact info.

For birthdays, I've been using Birthday Reminder for decades, and it has never failed me. It's for PC (Java-based, so you can use it on any OS), but I'm sure there are similar apps for smart phones. Alternatively, set up a recurring calendar entry with a reminder some time before the date (allow yourself enough time for shipping gifts purchased from online retailer of your choice).
posted by gakiko at 5:55 AM on January 5, 2014

My mother is the QUEEN of remembering people's Special Days and sending cards/gifts/whatever, and her trick for my entire life has been updating a paper calendar each January with the names and anniversaries/birthdays (with year)/etc of everyone she knows. I would adapt this to be a Google calendar and set yourself some reminders, but the same principle holds. And that way you'll know that March 3 is the 2nd birthday of Princess Sparklebutt, youngest daughter of Frank and Joe Sparklebutt, and you can even include their address and a reminder to mail a card/picture book a week in advance. Make each calendar item recurring, and it'll be useful FOREVER.

Also, don't feel bad about not being able to tell them apart. I'm pretty sure that's normal, barring perhaps your own nieces/nephews. It's fine to ask people questions about their kids.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 5:48 AM on January 6, 2014

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