My first child, Michael, has three baby books. Well, four if you include the pregnancy journal I filled out, complete with pictures that I printed out and glued to its pages. My two daughters both have picture books I threw together on Shutterfly for their first birthdays, but they aren’t actual baby books with milestones listed in them. And if I’m being honest, Chloe didn’t get hers until she was probably 14 months old. Logan, my third child, has a file on my computer with a few pictures I set aside and then never did anything with.
Even as I write this, I feel so much pressure to finish their “official” baby books! As the fifth out of six kids, who didn’t have her own baby book (or let’s be honest, even one solo picture from birth to age 3), my pre-pregnancy self swore up and down that I would make sure to document each and every thing about their early years. But then babies happened. And life got crazy. When is the official deadline to get these done? I mean, I’m aiming for their high school graduation parties at this point, and I think that’s a realistic goal!
Since becoming a professional “Mom,” I’ve realized that I’ve got a few problems with standard fill-in-the-blank baby books: the milestones they want me to remember aren’t really the ones that I think matter most. I can’t honestly tell you what gifts my babies got for their birthdays or baptisms. I don’t remember exactly what days we discovered each one of their teeth popping through their swollen gums. Four kids and a million memories later, I’ve assembled a list of my most celebrated milestones you won’t find in a baby book. And I’d like to share them with you.
First night in the “big kid bed” – I cried for a while after each of my kids hit this milestone. Suddenly, that bedtime routine you’ve worked so hard to perfect for the last couple years has changed. They look so small snuggled into their toddler or twin sized beds – write down the day and snap a picture of them.
First full sentence – I wish I had written down the adorable sentences my kids started off with. Most likely it was, “More snacks, Mommy!” or “I just went poop!”.
Puking into a garbage can – There comes a glorious time in your life when your child will have the ability to aim into a garbage can, bucket, or toilet when they have to hurl up their guts. Gone are the days when you dry heave while stripping the sheets off a puke-filled mattress or have to power-wash a car seat. Enjoy it, Mama, and indulge in a plastic bowl or some stolen hospital swag as your official Puke Bucket!
Blowing their own nose – From the bulb syringe to the Nose Frida, I am so sick of sucking boogers out of my kids’ heads. It is a glorious day when they blow their first baseball booger into your tissue-covered hand.
First unassisted escalator ride – I’m not sure how many times I’ve held a toddler’s hand and said, “Jump… NOW!” while hauling a newborn, a diaper bag, and even luggage onto an escalator. I actually teared up at the airport last month when my big kids walked ahead of me onto the escalator and dismounted it without any fuss.
First sarcastic comment or cuss word – I accidentally got my son’s first cuss word on video, and even though it was embarrassing at the time (he was only a year old), it is one of my favorite videos of him to this day. Write down their sassy quotes, and make sure you share this milestone with your parents. They can smugly remind you that your child is acting just like YOU did when you were their age.
Putting on shoes for the first time – I wish my front hallway had a counter, like they do under the McDonald’s signs, to say how many billions of times I’ve put my kids’ shoes on for them. Even if it takes them so long to get them on, don’t get frustrated. It is so satisfying when you can just call out in your Mary Poppins voice for your kids to get their shoes on. And then a few minutes later, in your Batman voice.
Making breakfast/lunch themselves – When my son made his lunch (a peanut butter sandwich and carrot sticks with ranch dressing), I knew he was destined to be on Top Chef. Or at least start to help me out in the kitchen more at mealtime. It was the first time a peanut butter sandwich made me cry (but let’s be honest – it’s probably not the last). I definitely want to remember this moment!
And finally, Independent Butt Wiping – I already mentioned boogers and barf, why not talk about butts too?! I dream of a day when the only tushie that I have to wipe will be my own. Until then- oh, sorry, be right back…the three-year-old is calling me from the bathroom now, and the baby has a suspicious sag in her diaper. I guess it’s poop o’clock once again!