When my first son was born, I became obsessed with milestones. First smile, first laugh, first tooth. When he could roll over, sit unassisted, crawl. The baby books all told me that these were the things I should keep track of, that I should remember. As my kids grew up, the milestones became more intellectual in nature -- when they could count to 10, recite their ABCs, read a few words. And I assume that as they get older, the milestones will continue to include all of the traditional childhood rites of passage -- first dance, first date, graduation.
But you know what? Looking back, the traditional milestones aren't the things that I remember. I can't remember what my sons' first words were and I can only vaguely tell you when they met any number of the typical milestones. And what's more, I don't even really care all that much about remembering these things. Because what I have come to realize is that the milestones that count -- whether they deal with children and parenting, a marriage, a career, or what-have-you -- are the ones that have personal significance, the ones that change you just a little bit.
The Parenting Milestones the Baby Books Don't Tell You About
- First time you're peed on.
- First time your kid poops in the bathtub.
- First diaper blowout that requires scissors and a shower to clean up.
- First time your child throws up in public.
- First time you child throws up on you.
- First time your kid bites another kid.
- First time you can shower uninterrupted -- while your kids are home and there are no other adults in the house.
- First time you see your child fondling himself.
- First trip to the emergency room.
- First time your kids wake up, make themselves breakfast and entertain themselves while you sleep. (Still waiting for this one to happen.)
- First time your child walks in on you and your partner having sex.
- First time your child says "I love you."
- First time your child says "I hate you."
- First call home from your kids' teacher.
- First time you cry at a parent-teacher conference.
- First time your kid drops the F-bomb -- in public.
What not-in-the-baby-book milestones will you never forget?
Christine Organ is the author of Open Boxes: the gifts of living a full and connected life. This post originally appeared on the author's website. You can also find Christine on Facebook and Twitter.