The Milestones that Aren’t in Baby Books

“When all three of them could buckle themselves in the car.”  She sighs wistfully.  “For so long, I had to wrestle them all into their seats, then go through and buckle each harness.  When you can just hop in the driver’s seat and go?! Those days come again.”

Before becoming a parent, I bought a baby book filled with all the little milestones.  The day he rolls over.  The day he sleeps through the night.  The first word, first steps, first baby food.

What I didn’t realize is how little I cared about those milestones.  Yeah, they were fun.  They still are fun.  But the day my son shoved his own arm through his long-sleeved onesie?  That was effing exciting.

My dear friend Carole one day told me about the seat-buckling thing.  She is raising three glorious and hilarious humans, and she knows what’s up and down on the mother train.  In my newbie mama brain, she’s the great sage of wisdom bestowing her nuggets of motherhood wisdom in my ear.  This post goes out to her (particularly since she wrote half of these herself).

Ladies and gentlemen: The Milestones That Aren’t in Baby Books (in semi-chronological order):

Their first public diaper blow-out. Where were you?

When he pushes his arms and legs through the sleeves of his clothes.  Yeah, shoving a limp newborn arm into a giant winter coat is a terrible game of hide and find.

The first day they don’t unload every bookshelf or dump out every sock drawer. (One day I will have neat, beautiful bookshelves again…)

The first time they put a puzzle together on their own after you’ve helped them 3 zillion times.

When you can safely leave the house without a Tupperware of Cheerios.  I turn into a woman on the edge when I find myself without Cheerios.  Don’t have a meltdown, Don’t have a meltdown…

When you don’t have to carry his banshee-screaming, wiggly butt to the car and he can walk by himself.

The first time you cuss and they understand its a bad word…

…The first time they cuss because they heard you use that word.

The first time they “read” a book they’ve memorized word for word because you’ve read it to them 6 bajillion times.

The first time they use a kleenex instead of handing you the booger.

And when they can make it to the toilet when they’re sick and you aren’t scrubbing puke out of the carpet at 3am.

When they start actually helping empty the dishwasher instead of making more work.  Finally!  Having children pays off!

When they develop a sense of humor and understand why the knock knock joke was funny. For a LONG time they will tell the joke, then laugh, but can’t tell you why it’s funny.

The first time they teach you something. Not in an existential way, but truly something you didn’t know before.

The first time you wake up and no little one is in bed with you. According to my mom sources, this one is happy at the time, but turns to heartbreaking.

When the older ones start driving and suddenly you can reassign all your dropping-off duty to your child.

When you realize your kids are “friends” without Mom and Dad forcing it.

The biggest milestones by far?

Every time they do something that makes them need you less. Like getting dressed alone, or potty trained, or learning how to use a spoon. It’s the little things that turn parenthood into a magic show.

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