Would you believe my favorite pages in my daughters’ baby books are where their milestones are documented? The First smile. Her First laugh. The First steps. Her First word. Yeah, I wouldn’t either. To be clear, these are entered into record months after I have gone back through my phone to figure out exactly when they happened. But, they are documented nonetheless. In speaking to other parents, I know about an entire set of milestones that aren’t captured in any books. These moments are decidedly not sentimental. They are sometimes disgusting, sometimes embarrassing and usually funny (in hindsight) moments. And almost a rite of passage for parents past, present and future. Most importantly when these milestones occur, it’s a testament that you are truly winning at parenting. These are not your mama’s milestones.
The first time you get pooped on. This is different than getting poop on you or even successfully changing an up-the-back blowout in the backseat of the car. I am talking about when you are mid-diaper change, and the Play Doh Fun Factory kicks into high gear, launching baby poop at you with no warning and no protection. When I brought my first daughter home from the hospital, the nurse said that we needed to go back to the doctor if she didn’t poop within 24 hours. Cue ‘First Time Mom Panic.’ Approximately 23 hours and 30 minutes later, I was checking her diaper when BAM! Poop. Poop. Everywhere. Poop. Poop. Including an unnecessary amount on my person. I threw everything away. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t also consider selling my baby to the gypsies.
The first midnight build on Christmas. I have heard legend of the time that my parents built a Barbie apartment building in the dark of night with no power tools, while four little girls slumbered just feet above them upstairs. I shared a similar experience this past Christmas when we got our youngest girls an outdoor playhouse from Santa. Too big to hide anywhere in a fully assembled state, we had no choice but to attempt to build it overnight, while four girls slumbered just feet above us. Cue the wine and the Philips head screwdriver. Several swear words later, we were in business. Some of the stickers aren’t exactly straight, but we made it without waking anyone up.
The first costume scramble. It could be the result of a kid who couldn’t decide on a Halloween costume until October 29. Maybe they told you, and you forgot to order it. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be Halloween-related. How many parents have found out about some school play or presentation that required costumery with the following: “Oh and I need to dress like George Washington when he crossed the Delaware for my President’s Day pageant tomorrow?” For all the moms and dads out there who have pulled off a costume miracle with nary but a glue gun and a prayer, I see you.
The first time you clean up puke while puking. I’ll be honest; this one isn’t mine. I know my limits, and I am not sure I would survive this feat of parenting. This milestone comes courtesy of my partner, Rob. His oldest was patient zero for rotavirus when she was little, and she took the whole house down with her. Rob’s description of what ensued is a literal nightmare to me, but suffice to say he cleaned up puke while puking and is thus a parent hero. (I did recently catch my youngest daughter’s barf in my bare hand while we were eating at a restaurant. I felt like a hero at the time, as is evidenced by my Facebook post immediately after.)
The first swear word. I swear like a sailor. And I didn’t think anyone was listening until my daughter dropped something, and her tiny little two-year old voice piped up with a “dammit.” Props to her for using it correctly, but not my finest parenting moment. I made the mistake of telling her that we don’t say that word. Of course, that led to her marching around the house saying it over and over while Rob laughed.
We experience so many milestones like these as parents, and we live to tell the tale, albeit sheepishly. They are veritable rites of passage as parents. Maybe it’s the first time the baby rolled off the bed or the first epic meltdown in the line at the grocery store. Whatever it was, you won at parenting that day. This one’s for you.
Not Your Mama’s Milestones