We’re all aware of the major milestones parents can’t wait for their kids to accomplish: first smile, first step, first word. However, there are events that are lost in the shuffle of everyday life that parents should be excited about. Here are the top five:
The End of Naptimes
If you’re in the trenches with a newborn and your only chance to sleep is when they sleep, then this advice is going to sound like sacrilege to you. Yes, at that point in life your baby needs naps. However, there will come a day when they are toddlers, and they will start flirting with the idea of dropping naps.
It’s awful in the beginning. You will drive them around in cars, read them fifteen stories, and rock them just to try to get them to shut their eyes so they don’t spend the rest of the day running around like drunk, angry bandits with a grudge.
Then you’ll just stop. You’ll stop and they will be ready. This will free up your whole life. No more planning everything around naps. No more demanding your older kids remain silent so they don’t wake up the napping child. Best of all? Earlier bedtimes!
Independent Butt Wiping
The end-of-diapers phase gets all the hype. It’s a great time, especially when you can keep the money you’ve been spending on diapers and spend it on chocolate. However, no diapers does not ensure you freedom from potty time participation.
You need to have your eye on the day your child can wipe their own behind. Until then, you will continue to be a slave to every poopy in the house. Warning: this stage usually doesn’t come until about two years after the last diaper.
Kids Staying Up Past Bedtime
I love bedtime. When the clock strikes 8’o clock, I tell every child in my house that it is in their best interest to sleep, pretend they are asleep, or just otherwise be very quiet. No child wants to see me in their room at 8:01.
But, like most rules, there are exceptions. Sometimes there will be firework shows or parties at friends’ houses that run late. We’ll go on vacation or arrive home late after a day out as a family. During these times, it’s great to have kids who are old enough to miss bedtime and not lose their complete and total minds. Bonus points if they are old enough to sleep in and recoup those hours the next morning.
Breaking Into the Next Pant Size
Look, if you got your pre-baby body back two weeks after you gave birth, much love to you. My twins stretched my hips to different hemispheres and gave me stretch marks that my older kids affectionately call “the old lady belly wrinkles.” While I do try to eat well and workout for my health, the day I decided not to do it to fit into a pair of pants was freeing.
At some point, I packed up those favorite prebaby jeans and the size nothing pencil skirt that wouldn’t move past my thighs. I stopped laying down on the bed, holding my breath, and praying for a miracle.
Those clothes went to a battered women’s center, and I went to the store and slid into pants that were comfortable, forgiving, and larger than any I’d ever worn. Then I ate a brownie.
No Longer Craving a Newborn
While I was in the middle of breastfeeding, cuddling, and baby wearing, infants were my drug. Sure, they were also the reason I never slept, but being near an infant was an addiction, so much so that my husband and I had four kids in four and a half years. The minute our youngest became a toddler, we just got me pregnant with another baby or two!
But there is a beauty when that phase ends. The day I held an infant and didn’t feel the rush of mommy hormones flood my body was monumental. I played with the baby, I handed it back, then I went home to my kids who sleep through the night and wipe their own butts (okay, half of them do). For the first time, I didn’t feel like anything was missing. That, in itself, is a milestone.