Friday, January 1, 2016

It's the Little Things...

Parenthood brings about many causes for celebration. We rejoice at wonderful new milestones that our children reach. Having a child with the superpower of Down syndrome has shown us even more clearly the progression toward these accomplishments and the fun in acknowledging these breakthroughs. Yet, not all breakthroughs are even. There are a handful of regularly celebrated and noted milestones, that aren't 100% wins for the parents... 
Baby rolled over! Note to self: stop leaving baby on sofa. 
Baby pulls self up to standing! Realize how many sharp and flammable and heavy and fragile items are left near the edge of tables. 
Baby's first word! Good bye sane-permitting silence. 
Baby's first taste of food! Hello spoon feeding chore. 
Baby's first step! No longer know where baby is ever...

The list continues. I'm not saying we shouldn't celebrate these cool new necessary-for-survival skills. I'd just like to point out that there are some awesome milestones that parents truly rejoice over, yet never seem to have their spot in the baby books (not that any third or later born child even has a baby book...)

Here are some noteworthy (possibly ice cream worthy) milestones I believe should get some acknowledgement:

Pushing Limbs Through Sleeves
Humans are born without this ability. Some babies, more so than others. Parents of a somewhat floppy infant are going to dance a jig when that little one first uses some muscle tone to actually push their arm through their sleeve! The days of reverse toothpaste tube fishing for a wrist stuck up behind a bent elbow in a sleeve made for a tiny person are nearing an end!

Spoon Feeding Self 
The day when you can set a plate of food and the proper eating utensils before your offspring and they consume more of the food than is dropped or thrown should be celebrated! Sure, the home video won't be that thrilling... But recognized it should be, nonetheless. 

Buckling Self Into and Out of Seat
This is next level stuff here. Life with a self buckler can't even be imagined by the parent lugging around an infant carrier. (Side note: get a sling or wrap or back pack and leave that stinking heavy carrier in the car... Those seats are killer on your poor back!) But this day does come! A day when the human child opens a car door, moves themselves into their seat and clips their OWN buckles!!! No more games of Twister while all the weather hits your rear end that's sticking out of the back of your vehicle!!! Rejoice!

Socks and Shoes Selfie
Maybe having multiple sets of baby feet (one set requiring braces) at a time has made me more sensitive to the chore of actually getting all the offspring out the door. Even so, the day when a parent can simply announce "It's time to go. Put on your shoes." is a good day! I know from parenting grade schoolers this doesn't mean getting out the door (especially for school in the mornings) is without drama... It just means less steps for the parent. We'll worry about getting them on the right feet later... Today we celebrate!

Retrieving Skills
I vote that there should be a place in all baby memory books where we proud parents can record "On this day___ in the year ___ my child retrieved something I needed but couldn't reach. (Age:__)" The first time the older toddler can go get you wipes when the new baby's diaper has exploded and you didn't know the container was empty until you started the clean up process is magical! Stuck in the bathroom without toilet paper? Send the child for it! They most likely already followed you in there, anyways! Let's put this awesome skill to use!

Ability To Get Fingers Into Glove Slots
This is like the sleeve thing revisited. Only with gloves, you're already exhausted from putting the rest of the snow gear on them and these tiny digits have NO clue where they are supposed to go! Reaching this milestone should be marked with something beyond the expected hot cocoa!

Safely Swallowing a Pill
Your budget will rejoice when a single ibuprofen pill replaces two syringes full or 3 quick dissolve tablets of expensive children's medicine. The stickiness level of medicine distribution decreases dramatically! No more crushing, hiding, mixing nasty tasting medicine! A whole new world of vitamins opens up! Woo hoo!

Pumping Legs on Swing
You've arrived at the "go outside and play" stage!!! Without the ability to actually make the swings go, outside play time had to be a parent lead activity. When they figure out pumping their legs... That's a fun freedom! (*Disclaimer: I'm not advocating for unsupervised playground play! But more loosely supervised as they grow.)

Wiping Well
Yay for potty training! Yay for the day when the Elmo potty goes away for good (no more dumping!!!)! But come on now!!! The day when you no longer hear "Mom! I pooped!" yelled from behind closed bathroom doors is a milestone if ever there was! 

Solo Playtime 
I'm a firm believer in the importance of the statement "go play." As a parent, I reject the title of "entertainer." I strive to be present, engaged, playful and active with my kids without turning them into dictators of my every moment. There's this whole world that I can only be in one tiny spot of... So let's notice and celebrate and encourage those first interests, explorations, and dare we say, alone-play moments!!!

Nose Blowing Skills
Two words: bulb syringe. My infant's snot constantly dripping down his face might not bother him, but it is a major problem to me! I'll use that sucker on them until they can properly expel the snot out of their sinus cavities without wiping it up into their hairline. Seriously! A good, clean, tissue caught nose blow is a big deal! Let's go ahead and post videos on Facebook celebrating our young kids blowing their noses like Hulk would!! (Superheroes seem to work for us...)

Reading a Clock
Does your child know their numbers? If so, they may be ready for their own digital clock in their bedroom! May I suggest making a sign that shows what 7:00 looks like on the clock (or just 7 and cover up the minutes with the sign) and make this wake up time! It's not a guaranteed win out of the gates, but when the littles stay quiet and contained until a acceptable wake up time it's totally worth the effort!!! 

It's ok to celebrate the ordinary! It's ok to usher out phases with cheers and tears. It's important to recognize the amazement of growth that is life! It's a strange dichotomy of emotions. We don't have to wish it away nor wish it to stay forever... but let's strive to treasure up these things in our hearts that we may grow rich in parenting. 

What are some other phases that parents should celebrate that aren't always noted?