You know how when you have a baby, every single thing it does is a miracle and you tell everyone about it? The baby looked at me! The baby blinked! The baby rolled over! The baby sat up! The baby crawled! The baby said a noise that might possibly be a word in another language!
Every single milestone was recorded on phones, written in books (but only for baby #1) and of course texted to various family members.
Years go by and finally, the last heavily celebrated milestone happens. The last one that everyone shares. Photos are taken and a very big deal is made. This one even makes it to social media. It’s the last hurrah of milestones and it is such a big event that the child is even paid money for it.
The first tooth is lost.
After that? Nothing. After a child loses that first tooth it all sort of drops off. Nobody is interested in children who lack teeth.
As it turns out though, good things continue to happen!
(This is a partial list. These are just the ones I’ve experienced so far with Crappy Boy. Those of you with kids who drive cars and have jobs are in a different dimension called the future. I can’t write about those things yet.)
1 – Ability to Make a Sandwich (AND Clean Up)
It’s a miracle when this happens. A miracle. The ability to make a sandwich (AND clean up) will impact your life way more than the ability to roll over ever did. Why are we not texting this to the grandmas?
When your child can make their own sandwich and clean up and put everything away (including the plate that the sandwich was on) you will suddenly experience a freedom like none other. You can sleep in. You can go to Tahiti. You have basically just finished Advanced Parenting: Level One. You should celebrate.
SEE ALSO: Cereal. The ability to pour cereal without spilling anything.
2 – Ability to Teach You Things
I don’t mean teach you patience or any of that stuff that babies do. I mean actually teach you about things. Like the reproductive system of snails. Or that time that Crappy Baby taught me a shortcut on the computer that I didn’t know. Or the multiple times they have tried to teach me the rules of football and I can’t seem (don’t want?) to retain it.
This one is really amazing. Perhaps my favorite.
3 – Ability to Remember Things BETTER than You Can
It takes bravery to admit that your child might already be more responsible than you are. So I won’t admit that.
4 – Ability to Sit in Any Car Without a Booster Seat
Ground-in cereal, chips and crackers have embedded themselves so firmly in the fabric over the years that I think his booster seat is actually made entirely out of food.
No more swapping it out between cars. No more lugging it onto an airplane or stressing over whether the rental car agency will have any available. This is yet another large kid gear item that I’m not at all sad to see burn.*
5 – Ability to Handle ALL Toilet Needs
Potty training is a big scam. It doesn’t end the moment a poop plops into the toilet, even though that is the moment that parents celebrate. If you remember from one of my old posts, your parenting life actually gets much worse after potty training.
Plus, there are months of accidents, improper wiping, checking their wiping, problems with buttons or ties on pants and all sorts of things that generally require you to still be involved in their bathroom visits.
But the moment that is all over? The moment they can handle ALL of it and manage to even plunge the toilet all by themselves? That is when potty training is finally done. (I have written about our low-flow, eco-friendly user-enemy, clog prone toilet before. This is why plunging is a life skill in our house.)
6 – Ability to Go to Bed
Let me clarify. This means the ability to go to bed by himself without any (okay, much) encouragement from me. No teeth brushing fights. No eight part routine involving lights and blankets and books and glasses of water. No fighting, no sneaking back out hundreds of times.
Truthfully, it still isn’t always entirely smooth. Nobody actually wants to go to bed. And sometimes he takes ages to brush his teeth because he can’t stop talking for long enough to put a toothbrush in his mouth. But still, the fights are over and a peaceful “goodnight” with a hug is usually how it shakes down.
7 – Ability to Share Shoes and Clothing
The realization that Crappy Boy and I wear the same size shoes made me suddenly look at his shoe needs in a whole new way. Doesn’t he desperately need Converse low tops in a rainbow of colors? Like seven pairs? He does. I’m pretty sure he does.
Do you realize that at this very brief moment in time, any shoes that he outgrows and hands down to Crappy Baby will then be handed down to ME?! To me! (Which brings me to the Converse in all the colors. It’s the one shoe that we agree on.)
8 – The Ability to Not Drown From Being Near Water
This is otherwise known as swimming. I titled it like that because this is exactly how it feels before your child can swim. Near water? Drowning is imminent.
Especially with Crappy Baby, who was always drawn to water, being anywhere near it was basically the worst thing ever.
Now that they can swim and splash, I can actually enjoy myself. (Our new house has a pool. This was not intentional. Meaning, we didn’t want a pool, but it just happened to be here along with the house. After living in Los Angeles for 16 years where it actually makes sense to have a pool (and never having one) it feels rather silly to now have one in Wisconsin. But we do.)
9 – The Ability to Carry Their Own Shit
Seriously, this one is a game changer. While I still carry a huge bag (because knitting) it is no longer full of their stuff.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still wind up carrying their things all the time. They don’t want to carry their stuff. They have the ability to do so, they just don’t use their ability.
10 – The Ability to Be Embarrassed by Their Parents
This one is fairly new for us and can I just say that this is one of my favorite parenting stages yet?
I don’t actually embarrass him. That would be disrespectful and mean and crappy and he’d never trust me again.
I only tease him about embarrassing him, which is super fun.
(Of course, we haven’t even hit the stage where he is embarrassed by basically anything I do, or embarrassed to be seen in public with me, but I’m counting on skipping those.)
Runner Up – Ability to Wash Their Own Hair
I wrote a post about What It’s Like to Wash a Kid’s Hair so this one is a good one. It really should have been in the top ten but then it would be 11 and this list doesn’t go to 11.
What other underrated parenting milestones should we celebrate?
Thank you SO MUCH for all your wonderful coloring book ideas on my last post! Many of them were incorporated last minute and it will be available in December.
Also, the newsletter is growing by leaps and bounds and I still haven’t even written about it. It’s been fun getting feedback from many of you via email. It feels like a super secret club.
*Of course we didn’t burn the booster seat. It’s made of food. We ate it.