by Jeanne Sager
If you are feeling down about your lot in life, find the parents of kids younger than yours and sit down for a chat about all the things your kid can do that they are still dreaming about. It's like an instant mood boost. You walk off grinning because, yes, your kid CAN be left in a room with a marble for five minutes and not send you screaming for a paramedic because the choking hazard stage is OVER y'all!
Forget walking and talking. You won't find those kind of milestones in the baby book, but these are the moments parents live for, the moments that should come with trumpets and fireworks because they are truly worth celebrating:
1. When They Wipe Their Own Butt. Listen, potty training is fabulous. No more diapers? It hardly gets better. Except it does! Because one day your kid stops calling you to come into the bathroom to wipe their behind. Picture the Hallmark card to celebrate THAT.
2. When They Can Make Their Own Sandwich. Oh sweet, Nellie, I can't begin to describe the ecstasy of being able to say, "So go make a sandwich" when your kid announces, "I'm hungry." I will only say this: imagine being able to sit on the couch for five whole minutes without having to jump up to get something for your child. Sweet, sweet ecstasy.
3. When They Learn to Use a Tissue. Instead of making that awful snort, snort, snort noise. Or wiping it on their sleeve. Or coming over to you with a tissue in hand and saying, "Here, hold this while I blow." Can you tell it's allergy season?
4. When They Can Lick Around the Ice Cream Cone. There's a certain skill to eating an ice cream cone before it melts all over your clothing that one eventually develops, but it seems kids aren't allowed to get there until having uttered the words "Mommmmmy, my ice cream fell off the cone" at least 679 times, give or take one.
5. When They Unroll Their Socks AND Put Them in the Hamper. This is a two-fer, so you may think you're asking a lot. Actually, you ARE asking a lot. But rumor has it that both can be accomplished, and by real, honest-to-goodness children! I'm still thinking it will take a horde of hygienic fairies to get it done in my house, but I'm holding out hope that we one day reach this stage of childhood development. Maybe she can then teach my husband.
6. When They Develop Taste in Music. I mean real taste, not "Mommy, can you play 'Call Me Maybe' for the zillionth time again?" One day you will be able to listen to the Stones together. Or maybe even the Ramones. (shivers).
7. When They Just Move the Carrots Off to the Side of the Plate Quietly. I think we're all picky about something, but at some point in life, you learn that it's better to just eat around the offending item and sneak it to the dog later. We're still in "But I haaaaate carrots" stage, but I refuse to give up hope.
8. When They Close the Cabinets After Rummaging Through Them. Yes, at some point your kids realize the "just been robbed" look isn't doing anything for your kitchen.
9. When They Buckle Their Own Seat Belts. My back sighed a long, long, long sigh of relief when it realized that it would no longer have to crawl into the backseat and struggle with the buckle.
10. When They Shower. Alone. Now go back and read that; I didn't say YOU can shower alone. That won't happen until they've gone off to college. But when they at least learn to wash their own parts, you've got a window of time to do important things such as make their lunch, unroll those furled up socks and throw them in the hamper, close the kitchen cabinets ... now if only they'd learn to close the shower curtain while they bathe ...
What are the milestones no one tells you about that you REALLY celebrated?