As parents, we celebrate all the milestones that bring our children acclaim: first crawl, first words, first steps, but we often forget to celebrate some of the lesser-known milestones. Although these milestones seem almost uninteresting at first, when mulled over, they, too, represent a great accomplishment in our child’s lives. These milestones also can even bring excitement to our lives as parents.
As parents, our hopes and dreams bloom with our children, but celebrating these milestones raises a toast to us as parents as well. These accomplishments not only reflect an important step in our child’s development but also an important stage in the fine art of parenting them.
As you reach one of these all-important milestones, as I have, it is cause for much celebration. Whoop it up, oh great fathers and mothers, you are doing a great job.
- Your kids can play together long enough for you to take a shower. This milestone is not really appreciated until you exit from the shower and hear peace and quiet. Peeking outside the bathroom door, you see your children quietly working on a puzzle, but within seconds, they are arguing about whose turn it is. Before you step in and referee, you realize you are already showered. Soak, it in parents, your children have just let you take a shower.
- Half of your children are potty-trained. You may ask, why celebrate a milestone when only half of your children are potty-trained? I say glass half-full. Consider it a halftime celebration in the World Championships of Potty Training. You have had a successful first half, now you have only one more child. It may not be as easy as repeating the steps that you did with your first child, but at least you have the hang of it and a live-action role model to help child #2.
- The ability to repeat everything you say. This milestone sadly can have both positive and negative effects. Repeating the lyrics of song while you sing: positive. Repeating the fact that you do not like your wife’s lasagna: negative. Repeating affectionate greetings to your wife when she gets home: positive. Repeating a curse word after you slam your finger in a door: negative. The repeating milestone is a blessing and a curse, use it wisely.
- They can get out every toy they have. This milestone goes hand-in-hand with a realization that you did not know that your child really had this many toys. To their credit, they have the ability to scour every drawer, closet and cabinet in which their toys are kept and pull each one out with great dexterity and acumen. You may be grumbling at the task at hand of now getting these children to put all of their toys away, but reflect in the satisfaction at their memory development at remembering the exact closet you put out-grown baby toys slated for your next garage sale.
- Learning the word “Why”. This milestone resembles the blessing and curse nature of #3 listed above. I was in awe the first time my toddler daughter asked why bananas were yellow. But when my answer only elicited another “why” did I realize what a Pandora’s box I had just opened. In my celebration of each of her more curious questions also came more and more calls to the research librarian when each level ended in a “I know Daddy, but why?”. Try with patience, dear parents, to not answer, “because it just is” although after a while it may be your last resort. Celebrate their curiosity with a brush-up on much needed researching skills.
In the end, we frown as our children quickly become adults and as our time spent parenting becomes less and less. Celebrate these milestones with a small party, which you can now attend cleaner, with fewer diapers with the knowledge of why a banana is really yellow.