This calendar was great
because it made documenting stuff easier.
Of course it also made me a total spaz as I wondered
why my kid wasn’t doing many of them!
(Never mind the fact that he was only 4 weeks old.)
Childhood milestones are the highlight of early motherhood. For me, they were the proverbial pat on the back and congratulatory “You haven’t screwed him up too badly, yet.” I patiently waited for that first tooth to break the surface and wreak havoc on sleep patterns and turn my little cherubs into screaming droolers who looked more like zombies than the fruit of my loins. I invested hours in mumbling things like “mamamama” and “dadadada” until they finally burped the sound I was emphatic was my name. Then came the crawling and the walking and the climbing and anything else that made grocery shopping impossible. Why did I ever push them to leave the Bumbo? And don’t get me started on how many months I worked on teaching them to speak… What was I thinking?
Documenting childhood milestones is a marketing executive’s dream. Parents will video, photograph, chart, graph and tattoo anything they consider “new” or “amazing” without sparing a second thought to how much it costs.
“Sure, you can get the standard photo package that includes an 8X10, two 5X7’s and four wallets of Johnny sticking his finger in his mouth. But do you really want to deny any family member the memory of this developmental milestone? If you pay for the ‘I’m A Good Parent Package’ no one will be left out.”
When I was a first time mom I documented all that stuff. I had a calendar that came with Milestone Stickers such as “Baby Sits Up” and “Baby’s First Words” and so on. It was really convenient and even came with blank stickers that I filled with college scholarship-worthy events such as “rode in a shopping cart for the first time” and “didn’t poop in the bath tub.” And yes, I’m pretty sure I was even suckered into the “I’m A Good Parent” photo package a time or two.
Cute stickers, right?
But how do you know the first time he “Dances to Music?”
Every wobble looked like some kind of white man’s dance.
“Swipes at animals in gym”
It’s a good thing my children didn’t limit themselves to my expectations.
“Rode in stroller without car seat?”
“Learns to play with tongue”
Lucky for everyone who knew me, I returned to work soon after this “monumental” event.
As silly as they seem now, these events truly were note-worthy when I was a young mommy (who obviously needed to go back to work.) It’s easy for me to make jokes about it today because it’s been so long since anything has been Baby’s First Calendar material. As much as The Talk was monumental, I don’t know if I’d necessarily defile an innocent teddy bear sticker for it.
At this phase of parenting, I’ve entered into the “Probably Shouldn’t Be Recorded” milestones. These are the things that you aren’t prepared for, are a little too embarrassing to write down, but still cause you to pause and take note of how far you’ve come in the parenting journey.
10 Milestones That Don’t Make The Baby Book
1. The day you realize you can go pee in a public bathroom and your child can wait outside the stall or even outside the restroom itself, preventing the premature door opening that exposes all your nether regions to anyone washing their hands at the sink.
2. The first time you hear someone else “convince” their child to “just try and go to the bathroom” in order to prevent an accident on the playground; and you realize your child is finally old enough to manage his own pee and poop from beginning to end.
3. Your first trip to the Zoo sans stroller and you are suddenly aware of just how freaking heavy that lunch cooler is since you have no handles from which to hang it or under basket to store it and you finally understand why other mothers spend $86 buying lunch.
4. The moment your children break into raucous laughter when you ask them to clean up for dinner and that includes “putting their balls away.”
5. The sudden realization that all the sexual innuendos you and The Hubs typically make about meat and sucking and the importance of size no longer go over your son’s head.
6. The night your oldest son says to you, “I have pit hairs. I’m a man!” And you know it’s only a matter of days before he walks into your room naked to show any other hairs he has discovered.
7. The first time you drop one of them off for a sleep over and instead of giving him a hug and a kiss goodbye you know the best thing to do is the “chin nod” and a subtle wink because he’s already got his earbuds in place and you don’t want to interrupt or embarrass him.
8. The day your son is more mortified than you are when he barges in while you’re hunched over, shaving your legs in the shower.
9. Your affectionate hug and kiss with the Hubs is not interrupted by tiny arms wrapping around your leg and an equally tiny body trying to wedge its way between you because kissing is now gross and can lead to babies.
10. The first time your son notices boobs… and they are not yours. “Mom! Why is Katy Perry wearing that dress? Her boobs look enormous! They’re like melons. Not even the cantaloupe kind, but the watermelon kind!” Yet, he doesn’t stop staring until the show breaks away for a commercial.
Come on, Katy. Help a mom out would ya?
As my 95 year old grandma would say, “Put a sweater on!”
These are just a few of the parenting milestones that let you know you’ve come a long way, Mom and Dad. They may not be Teddy Bear Sticker and Calendar worthy’ and they may be the cause of some awkward conversations, but nothing says “You survived the nursing, diapers and first teeth” quite like the onset of puberty.
That’s just my normal.