Kids

Then and now: four parents recreate childhood photos with their own kids

Recreating photos inspired by the first day of school, four parents share childhood memories, and how they plan to send their own kids off to class—jitters and all

In partnership with Carter’s OshKosh

Keeping up the “girl’s day out” tradition 

Then and now photo of Monique in her childhood, next to her son

Long-sleeve shirt, hoodie, jeans and sequin sneakers, CartersOshKosh.ca

Then and now photo of Monique in her childhood, next to her son

Denim dress, leggings and sneakers, CartersOshKosh.ca

My fondest memory of going back to school is definitely back-to-school shopping. I’d spend the day with my mom going from store to store, trying on clothes and shoes. I always loved getting a new set of pencil crayons—art was one of my favorite subjects (hence my love of DIYing), so getting a fresh set along with new binders, notebooks and, of course, a backpack was definitely an exciting time for me.

We’d treat it as a girl’s day out, ending the day by going out to eat and chatting about the new school year. I remember the excitement of coming home, running to my room and trying on my new clothes again to narrow down the official first-day-of-school outfit that I’d later show my dad and brother. I want to keep the girl’s day out tradition with my girls. Being able to create memories, like my mom did with me, as they prepare for a new school year is something I want them to remember! —Monique Taylor-Yee Shui, @bymeaux

Nervousness and excitement as a first-time mom 

Then and now photo of Kassandra in her childhood, next to her son

Overalls, button-up shirt and sneakers, CartersOshKosh.ca

I remember all too well those first-day-of-school jitters. My mother waking us up extra early, our new outfits perfectly laid out, lunches already prepared and her fussing over our hair as we begged her not to send us back. You could say I was less than thrilled to be trading in my summer freedom for books and homework, but there was something to be said about the traditions we undeniably looked forward to. Whether it was eagerly looking to see which of your friends were in your classroom or the teacher you were going to have, there was a certain kind of nervousness and excitement when the new school year rang in. 

Soon the roles will reverse, and in only a few short years from now, Knox will be getting ready for his big day while I fret over his hair and outfit. As a first-time mom, I too have that similar nervous feeling I experienced on my first day of school. Knowing just how big this first step is for Knox (and let’s face it—myself included), regardless of how many years have passed, all of us can remember the feeling of those mixed emotions. Yet, we know our children will enjoy the lessons and friendships they make along the way, and that is something to look forward to. —Kassandra Kondo, @kassandrakondo

“Knowing my twin boys have each other”

Then and now photo of Sunshine as a baby next to her twin boys

Hoodies and jeans, CartersOshKosh.ca

Of all the “first day of school memories”, the one that stands out decades later is getting ready for grade one. That year, our family moved into a brand new neighbourhood where I would be attending a brand new school—for the second time since senior kindergarten! Funny, that at the young age of six, I’d remember that first-day-of-school feeling, queasy in my stomach. 

For grade one, my boys are also headed to a brand new school—this one with a French immersion curriculum. It’s comforting for them that we’re in the same house and neighbourhood and comforting for me knowing that my boys will have each other. To help the whole family on the first day of school, my hubby and I will continue our tradition of taking the day off from work, so we can focus on them. As a parent to twin boys, I am hopeful that they are seen and valued for who they are as individuals. —Sunshine Punzalan, @shinelily

Catching up on the summer 

Then and now photo of Thanh in her childhood, next to her son

Denim jacket, dress, sequin sneakers and headband, CartersOshKosh.ca

Back then you didn’t have social media, and you weren’t able to see what everyone was doing. That’s why, in those first few days of school, you got to connect with your friends and learn how they spent their summer. The other fun part about going back to school was picking out what I was going to wear for the first day. We used to always get a new pair of jeans, a sweater and sneakers for the school year. 

Mía is starting her first year at “big kid school” and it’s so fun for me to relive those moments of excitement with her. Her school experience may be a lot different than mine, but the innate excitement a new school year brings is still the same. It’s going to be so bittersweet to watch her grow up over the years. —Thanh Phung, @loveandsundays