Since we’ve been talking about the “small milestones” I’ve found myself wondering whether different milestones qualify as big or small. It turns out there is not standard yardstick for measuring the important moments of development - and what might be a major breakthrough for one family might seem like small potatoes to another. I remember being surprised how gradual some of the “major” milestones ended up being with my first child. I guess I imagined his first steps would happen spontaneously and he’d just take off on two feet after months of crawling. Instead there was a period of pulling up, then cruising, then a tentative step or two between furniture supports, then steps while holding a hand. It seemed like the answer to “Is he walking yet?” was “kind of…” for months before he actually walked across a room on his own.
All these baby steps towards...well...baby steps, made learning to walk seem more like a journey than an event. Learning to walk is objectively a major milestone, but as we inched towards independent walking no one advancement felt like “the big moment.” On the other hand, the first time I realized that he could outrun me if I didn’t hustle, now THAT felt like a life changing moment. It clearly was, because I haven’t stopped hustling since.
I admit that some of the most major milestones for me wouldn’t be found in most baby books. Perhaps the ultimate milestone in my estimation was when I could finally bring the kids to the park and actually sit on the park bench while they played. Up until then, an outing to the playground was a very demanding endeavor. I was chasing them, pushing them on the swings, keeping them from stepping off high ledges, and catching them as came down the slide. Now, I can stop for a coffee on the way to the playground and actually sit and drink it. Of course I still play with them, push them on the swings and cheer them on - but it’s not a constant high-stress relay. Is that a big milestone or a small one? Is it theirs or mine? Does it matter? It was a moment when life felt new and different for our little family unit and that’s worth remembering. What big/small milestones have you experienced that weren’t outlined in the baby books?