If you’re a parent, then you are probably very familiar with the term “developmental milestones.” They are key points in your baby and child’s life that mark how your child is progressing. You are probably vaguely aware of when you can expect your baby to smile for the first time, take their first steps, and utter their first words. For some parents, milestones are a handy guide to help identify if all is not as it should be, whilst for the more competitive parent, they reinforce the idea that their particular way of parenting clearly yields results.
Once you move out of the baby phase and into toddlerhood and beyond, those milestones continue. Completing potty training, writing their name, starting school, winning an award, etc. etc. These all provide excellent material for that red baby book that you receive from the NHS, but as your child grows and encounters new experiences, there are plenty of developmental firsts and milestones that you will probably be less keen to record, and you certainly won’t read about them in any parenting guide book.
Along with their first tooth and the first time they sleep through the night, there are a few markers in your baby’s development that are equally memorable, just not necessarily for the same reasons.
The First Time You Drop Your Baby
We have all done it. And if we haven’t, then we have definitely, accidentally, let them roll off the sofa or the bed. And if we haven’t done that, then we have almost certainly cut their finger when trimming their nails. Thankfully, babies are pretty resilient and somewhat bouncy.
The First Public Nappy Explosion
You might think that you have got nappy changing licked, but wait until you’re miles from a baby changing station and your baby does what is known in parenting circles as “poonami.” No nappy can contain such an incident, and that’s why you will find yourself in the middle of the park, stripping your baby from a poop covered vest and desperately hoping it doesn’t spread any further.
The First Time You Catch ALL of the Vomit
Anyone can mop up a little puke after the event, but it takes a true parenting professional to be able to predict the exact moment the vomit will appear and be ready to catch it with a tub. Bonus points to anyone who does this with their bare hands whilst sat in the front passenger seat of the car for an older child in the back seat.
The First Time You Rush Them to A&E for No Reason
Obviously you didn’t rush them to A&E just for a laugh. When you took the decision to leave the house at 3am your baby had a temperature of 40 and was breathing a bit strangely. Of course, as soon as the wait time is over and the consultant paediatrician calls you in, your baby is charming the pants off everyone around him with those big beaming smiles, and their temperature is back to a respectable 36. The doctor looks at you sympathetically, tilts their head to the side and says “Is this your first child? Do you have enough support at home?”
The First Time They Whack You in the Face with a Toy
If you are lucky, this will be with a lovely soft teddy. If you’re not lucky, this will be with a solid rattle and your baby’s aim with be true, giving you a lovely black eye.
Toddler & Pre-Schooler Milestones
Your toddler is a rambunctious ball of energy that amazes you daily with their ability to absorb information. During this time, you can expect your child to ditch the nappies, start to recognise letters and possibly read simple words, scribble on paper, and build towers with blocks. Just don’t mention the tantrums.
The First Time They Eat Something They Found on the Floor
You are at a public picnic area when you notice your child is happily munching on half a chocolate biscuit. You didn’t pack any chocolate biscuits.
The First Time You Lose Them
It’s a heart-stopping moment when you turn around in the supermarket and discover that your child is no longer behind you, beside you, or anywhere to be seen. You will race up and down the aisles with terrible thoughts whizzing through your mind. Eventually you’ll find them, probably in the bakery aisle prodding all the loose cakes with their snotty fingers.
The First Time They Swear
If you are a complete saint this will obviously never happen to you. However, many of the cleanest speakers slip up occasionally, usually in response to an unfolding disaster caused by a child. It’s amazing how well a child listens when you least want them to, especially when they appear inexplicably deaf when asked to put their shoes on. Just tell anyone who hears your child’s potty mouth that it’s a tragic mispronunciation. Which leads us on to…
The First Time They Have an Unfortunate Mispronunciation
”Look Mummy! I’ve got the biggest dick in the world.”
”That’s a lovely stick darling! Stick! Can you say Stick?”
The First Time They Post A Toy Somewhere Inconvenient
We have so many toys for children that encourage the action of “posting”, i.e. pushing an object into a hole. Is it really surprising then when they post a jigsaw piece into the DVD player?
The First Time They Discover Their Penis
”Look Mummy, it’s grown! And it tickles!”
Bonus milestone points if this happens whilst your elderly relatives are visiting. Unfortunately, this new found interest is a lifelong affair.
The First Time You Have to Evacuate A Screaming Child Out of the Shop
You always said that you would never be the shouty parent that you see in supermarkets. Then you became an actual parent and it turns out that it isn’t that simple. Even the most well-behaved children have epic tantrums at times, and supermarkets are the perfect breeding ground for such behaviours, being a sensory overload of bright lights, crowds, smells, and sounds. So, it is almost inevitable that you will one day have to take a wriggling child under one arm and march them out of the shop, kicking and screaming.
The First Time They Are Rude to A Stranger
Children have an alarming lack of filter, and there comes a point in every parent’s lifetime when they will wish the ground could swallow them whole. “Sweetie, we don’t talk about how other people look, that’s rude. No, you can’t ask them why they have such a big belly.”
The First Time They Put Something Up Their Nose
Raisin, pea, Rice Krispie, single Lego brick. Something will go up there.
The First Time They Embarrass You in the Public Toilets
Once your child is out of the pram you can’t simply leave them strapped in and just outside your cubicle door, you have to take them in the cubicle with you. Even when you are on your period. Which will inevitably lead to comments, such as “Mummy why do you have a hairy bottom?” or “Mummy why are you putting a nappy on?” All spoken at the highest possible volume, of course.
The First Time You Leave the House Without Half its Contents
You might not even notice this milestone, since it creeps up on you, but one day you will reach the point where your child is reliable enough on the toilet when you can leave the house without a change of clothes, nappies, wipes, etc. You will still need snacks though.
Primary School Children Milestones
Starting school is a momentous milestone in your child’s development, and with it a host of smaller, perhaps less welcome, milestones arrive.
The First Time They Get Nits or Threadworm
Schools are a cesspit with hundreds of children huddled together, not washing their hands properly and spreading snot around. Your child will bring home lots of new bugs during their first few school years, with threadworms and nits vying for the most vomit inducing. You will wonder if home-schooling is a possibility.
The First Time You Have to Do the School Gate Walk of Shame
You like to think that your little angel will never put a foot wrong at school. In fact, you start to feel a little smug when you see that some parents are regularly called in from the gate to talk to the teacher at pick up time. Then one day it happens. You realise that every other child has been released from the door except yours.
The teacher makes eye contact, beckons you over, and mouths “can I have a quick word?” You look around wildly hoping that she must be talking to another parent behind you, but alas, she’s definitely gesturing to you. You shuffle over to the door and hear the dreaded words, “There’s been a bit of an incident today…”
The First Time They Call You Mum Instead of Mummy
This one will really tug on your heart strings. It’s a sure sign that your child is growing up. However, to you, your child will always be your “baby”, even when they’re 33.
First Time They Go to A Drop Off Party / Play Date
Babies and toddlers don’t tend to play together, they play alongside each other instead, so any playdates you organise tend to be more about giving you a chance to talk to another adult, rather than encouraging any socialising. At parties you stay with them because it’s unreasonable to expect the host to be responsible for twenty 2 and 3 year olds.
Once they reach school, however, things start to change, and one day your child will be invited to a party or a playdate where you won’t be expected to stay. You then have to put your trust in another parent to keep them safe, which isn’t always easy to do, and it’s another sign that your child is becoming increasingly independent.
The First Time They Learn A Rude Song
The toddler and pre-school years are all about cute nursery rhymes (although many of those actually have pretty sinister origins and meanings) and it’s adorable to hear your child singing one such rhyme. Then your child starts school and one day they offer to sing a song for you they apparently learnt in school. You agree, delightedly, expecting a rendition of “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” or something similar, until:<.p>
”A B C D E F G, Gummy bears are chasing me. One is yellow, one is blue, one is peeing on my shoe. Now I’m running for my life, because the red one has a knife.”
The First Time They “Run Away”
We’re not talking about actual runaways here, which is obviously a horrific situation for any family to be in. Instead, we’re talking about the flouncy run away attempts that young primary school children seem to enjoy. When they were younger, they simply had a tantrum that involved lots of crying, but now they’ve grown out of that they look for new ways to make a fuss. So, one day you will tell your child that they have had enough screen time for the day and your child will declare you to be “The Worst Mummy In The World Ever” before picking up their teddy and attempting to go out the front door, telling you that they are going to run away.
Children who are more adept at flouncing may grab their school bag and pack their toothbrush in. If they can’t unlock the door then they will probably resort to just sitting in front of it, facing away from you. If they do manage to open the door then they will stand outside for approximately 10 seconds before deciding that the life of a runaway isn’t for them after all.
The First Time You Are Stumped by Their Homework
You like to think that you are a reasonably intelligent adult, and you did fairly well at school. In theory, therefore, your 6 year old’s homework should be a doddle for you to understand and you can’t work out why the school keeps inviting parents to watch videos on their website about how to solve maths problems. Then your child comes home with this:
”Tim has bought 27 melons from the shop. On the bus on the way home, he loses some. How many melons does he have left?”
Obviously, the correct answer is, “who cares how many he has left, why did he buy 27 melons in the first place and why on earth did he go on the bus when he could have ordered them online?”
The First Time They Stop Holding Your Hand
You probably still insist on holding their hand to cross the road, but unlike in the toddler years, when your child was permanently attached to you in some way, your older child is desperate for independence, and one day they will stop walking along the street holding your hand, preferring to walk by themselves. Your heart will weep, though your elbows and wrists will be grateful for the lack of pulling.
The First Time They Put Their Shoes on the First Time You Asked Them
Picture the headline: Mum Is SHOCKED After Child Puts SHOES On With Just One REQUEST.
A Mum has spoken of her SHOCK of discovering that her 8 year old son had put his shoes on ahead of the school run today after she only asked him to do so once. Speaking to reporters outside her home, Mum of two, Holly, explained: “I always have to ask at least three times. Sometimes it’s five. So, I’m really shocked this has happened. I didn’t even know it was possible. I’ve spoken to my friends who also have children and they don’t believe me because nothing like this has EVER happened to anyone I know before.”
The Mum’s neighbour, who didn’t wish to be named, told reporters “We often hear Holly shouting at the kids to get their bl%%dy shoes on but today it was eerily quiet. We thought something awful must have happened.” Parenting experts have advised that such phenomena was rare, and that other parents should not get their hopes up of the same event occurring within their own homes.
The Last Time You Pick Them Up
One day, you will pick your child up and it will be the last time you do so. Not because of any tragic reason. But because they are too bloody heavy to lift. The sad truth is, you probably won’t even realise it when it happens. But it will. Blub!