A few weeks ago, my boys found photo albums from their baby years – along with a few somewhat questionable photos taken during a pre-kids trip to Ireland with some good friends, I might add. I say that they “found” the photo books even though they weren’t hidden or lost (they sit on a shelf in our dining room in plain sight) because the photo books have become like white noise in the ambience of our house. Overlooked. Ignored. Forgotten.
When my oldest son was born, I was obsessed with milestones and preserving every single memory. His first smile, first laugh, and first tooth were all recorded and celebrated like no other baby in the history of babies had ever smiled or laughed before. Milestones like rolling over, sitting unassisted, and crawling were photographed and emailed out to family and friends who couldn’t have cared less about the fact that my baby was now eating smashed bananas.
The parenting books all told me that these were the things I should keep track of, that these were the things that I would want to remember. But you know what? Looking back, the traditional milestones aren’t the things that I remember. I can’t remember what my sons’ first words were and I can only vaguely tell you when they met any number of the typical milestones. And honestly, I don’t even really care all that much about remembering these things.
A few weeks ago Jessica Dimas wrote a really touching article about the moments she will remember from the baby years, even though her child won’t remember them. Her article got you right in the mommy soft spot and highlighted the fact that it is the personal milestones that we will remember. Tickle fests and soft kisses and holding little feet, perhaps. And while I don’t remember any tickle fests with my sons, and the infant months were filled with more tears than soft kisses, I certainly have my own I-Will-Remember’s – things like dancing and long stroller walks and more dancing.
But along with all of those sugary sweet moments that I remember, there are a whole lot of parenting moments I can’t forget no matter how hard I try…
For instance, I will never forget the first time my kid pooped in the bathtub, the first time he vomited in public, or first time he vomited on me.
I will never forget the diaper blowout that covered my entire lap in shit and required scissors to cut off his onesie.
I will never forget the first time he peed on me (the first day home from the hospital).
I will never forget the first time he bit another kid – or the first time another kid bit him.
I will never forget the first shower that I took while we were home alone and he was awake, playing, in the other room. (It was the fastest and guiltiest shower of my life.)
I will never forget the first call home from his teacher to inform me that he had been using “potty words” at preschool.
I will never forget the first time I caught him fondling himself. (And thinking to myself: This is normal, right? Someone please tell me this is normal.)
I will never forget all those other times when he did something that I was pretty sure was not normal until I talked to another parent and realized that, yes, it was normal in that kids-do-stupid-stuff kind of way.
I will never forget the first time he said “fuck.” (And how I had to try so hard not to laugh.)
And I will never forget…wait a minute, what am I saying? Of course, I will forget. We all know that motherhood totally messes up our brains.
But at least when I forget, I’ll have this list to remind me.
Related post: Why Developmental Milestones Are Bullshit