How many times in the first year of your parenting tenure were you asked or told by a stranger in the Target checkout line, “Does she sleep through the night?” or, “I bet he loves his solid foods,” and, “Oh look at those chunky thighs, he’ll lose those when he starts walking.” Those early years are the epitome for discussions on childhood milestones from teething to sitting to all those conversations about potty training.
Now that our girls are three and five, there is not much chatter about these momentous child development occasions. We still get the occasional, “Can they ride a bike,” or “What soccer team is your child on?” “Have you done the drop off play date yet? and “Can she read and write?” But not as many ill-informed strangers critique our parenting choices while we peacefully peruse for toiletries and books.
However, I am here to sing the praises of some milestones that no one seems to talk about. These are glorious milestones that my family has recently reached that no one ever cared to mention to my husband or me. Well, I am breaking the silence. I want you all to know that they are some amazing BIG KID milestones to look forward to:
Showering while your kids are awake.
I don’t mean to rub salt in the wound here because I know many of you reading this can’t even remember the last time you showered. I hear you, sister, but your days of rocking dry shampoo will soon come to an end. The other day the girls and I came home from an exceptionally sweaty workout class, and I needed to shower ASAP because we had an afternoon play date at a classmate’s house. Notice how I said classmate and not a friend because you can totally show up to your Mommy friend’s play date in any condition, and she will welcome you with open arms.
But I digress, I am sweaty betty with little time here, so I tell the girls to play in the loft, and I hop into the shower. And that was IT, they played, and I bathed. Like actually bathed. I washed my hair, and I might have even shaved my legs. And the kicker, the girls were not in the bathroom with me. They are old enough now to play by themselves—no more showers ONLY at nights and naps. I can now shower whenever I want!
Assistance with household chores.
We started having the girls do chores awhile ago. Things like clearing their plate after dinner, picking up toys, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, and so on. But I will be honest, often their assistance in these minimal household tasks has meant MORE work for my husband and me. Clearing their plate at dinner would inevitably lead to our three-old spilling half her uneaten dinner on the floor. And while they claimed they were cleaning up toys in their room, often it was more put one toy away and take TWO more out. Don’t even get me started on bed making. Yet, one day I noticed that these chores were actually being completed with little to NO adult assistance. We often joke that our five-year-old can clean up the playroom faster than my husband.
The Booster Seat.
Why, why oh why did NObody tell us about the gloriousness that is the booster seat! People, this big kid milestone is a game-changer. Here is the thing with the magnificent booster seat, they can get in and OUT of it by themselves. So now, when I am in the ever so crowded Trader Joe’s parking lot, I only must go to and open one car door, and viola, both of my children are out of the car. Can I tell you the difference this makes at school drop off? I am not saying I am lazy (well, I am), but not getting out of the car to undo buckles is a major bonus.
Every parent has “a look” in their arsenal of child discipline. My father’s look was legendary, and I still shudder just thinking about those medusa eyes. The other day we were out to eat, and my daughter started to throw a piece of spaghetti in the air to be silly. So, I gave her “the look,” and she actually STOPPED what she was doing. I broke the fourth wall and golden rule of parenting and exclaimed in admiration, “Did you just stop because of how I looked at you.” Thankfully, my husband quickly remedied the situation by kicking me under the table so that I could regain proper stoic parenting form. Now I can silently discipline my children with “the look!” I feel like Harry Potter when he learned how to do nonverbal spells. Sidenote: when I give our three-year-old the “the look,” she laughs, it is progress, not perfection!
I know that sitting up, talking, and walking are great milestones and all, but these big kid milestones are totally the jam!