When your baby does anything new for the first time, it’s an exciting moment for parents. Moms and dads eagerly wait for the day when their little one reaches the next milestone, whether it’s sitting up, crawling, or walking. And yes, those are some pretty huge accomplishments for babies – ones that undoubtedly deserve a heaping round of applause.
But what about the other, lesser known breakthrough moments?
The ones that aren’t included on the typical developmental checklist in all of the baby books? I’m sure every parent has his or her own list of things that they can’t wait for their baby to do. For me (now on baby #3), it keeps coming back to these three seemingly insignificant benchmarks. Not a day goes by when I don’t desperately long for the day that my baby will…
1. stop spitting up.
All three of my kiddos were/are spitters. And I’m not talking about a little dribble after a feeding. I’m talking go-though-ten-bibs-per-day, laundry-load-of-just-burp-cloths kind of spitters. Everything reeks. Everything is stained. If baby #3 is like the first two, it will be a long nine months until the spitting gradually disappears. When that day finally comes, I will be celebrating in the following way: 1) Hosting a bib-burning party. Everyone on whom my kids have spit up is invited. That includes not just family and friends, but also our pediatrician (and 3-4 nurses), the UPS delivery man, that old lady in the grocery store who got just a little too close, and my boss. 2) Hiring professional carpet cleaners. While they’re at it, I’ll have them do every other upholstered piece of furniture in my house.
2. burp on his own.
I’ll never forget one day when I finished feeding my older daughter, sat her up, and out came a deep-belly burp. Whoa, that was easy, I remember thinking. And from then on, I never had to pat her back again. But up until that moment – around six months I’d say – burping was an event in and of itself. The feedings themselves? A breeze. Attempting to release a burp? Torture. Why my kids take 20 minutes to burp is beyond me. But it sure drags out those middle of the night feedings, especially when they need burped multiple times. (Why? See #1). If I do the math, once my baby can burp on his own, I’ll gain an average of two hours every day during which I can actually do something other than pound on the back of a small human. (Relax, I’m not actually pounding).
3. reach and insert his own binkie.
This, beyond all others, is probably the milestone I yearn for the most. Ask any parent of a binkie baby, and they will surely agree: the day your baby puts his own binkie in his mouth is literally one of the best days of your life. It’s as if the heavens part and angels are singing the Hallelujah Chorus. I’ve never wished for a thumb-sucker more than when I’m on my 17th trip into the nursery to replace that damn binkie in the middle of the night. “But you can’t take away a thumb!” people tell me. I don’t friggin care. The endless binkie runs are culprit #1 for sleep deprivation in my house. But, oh, once my boy can grab that thing on his own, it will be a joyous day.
So while all the other parents out there are eagerly anticipating their little ones’ first steps, I’ll be here in my milk-stained clothes, doing laundry in between trips to stick a rubber soother in my kid’s mouth while he squirms during his nap because he needs to burp.