5 Soft Milestones of Childhood

After the baby and toddler years, it sure seems like milestones get fewer and farther between. I have to wonder if that’s just what the baby books with the pre-filled headings would have us think. “Baby’s First Tooth” and “Baby’s First Steps” are in every one of those things. What about the other good stuff? There are plenty of other big transitions in a child’s life to celebrate! Here are just five of those “soft milestones” I’m looking forward to:

  1. First Time Not Waking the Whole Blessed Household in the Morning. Your young child believes his body is a human alarm clock. If he’s awake, it must be time for everyone to get up! The most common methods for waking you include (a) mouth-breathing in your face, (b) jumping onto your full bladder, and (c) bombarding you with random, existential questions that have accumulated during the night. One day, he’ll just stop. You’ll wake up after your own sleep cycles end, finding him doing something you wish you’d been awake to thwart. But still.
  2. First Time Expending Energy to Forward Own Survival. Does your child still ask you to get her a drink or snack so as not to have to interrupt her own activities, such as watching television or lounging about in a cardboard box? Measure her arms. If they’re long and strong enough to reach behind to wipe her own butt, they’re long and strong enough to reach up to the water dispenser on the fridge and open the snack cabinet. And it will happen! This milestone can occur either naturally or with some angry admonishments gentle guidance from you.
  3. First Time Caring about Not Smelling Like an Old Fishbowl. Most young children are quite tolerant of their own stank and will gladly forgo wiping, bathing, and daily clothing changes if permitted. One day you’ll be making your daughter cross her heart when she says she really washed her private parts (and not with hair conditioner), and the next she’ll be hogging the shower and using Axe Anarchy for Her Body Spray.
  4. First Time Not Dressing Like an Indigent Schizo Clown. It’s fun when kids start dressing themselves, isn’t it? But sometimes it makes you look like a poopy parent. There’s just something about Crocs-with-socks, a shirt two sizes too small, tights worn as pants, and a homemade hair-bow made of tomato tape that screams Mommy drinks! But one day the tides will turn, and you will know it by the angst-filled morning screams of, “Nothing in this closet FITS me! Aggggh!!! I HATE my life!”
  5. First Time Understanding that the Cat/Dog Hates That Sh**. Does your family dog get that please just euthanize me now look when your young child approaches? Does your cat emit a low growl whenever your preschooler talks? Someday that kid is going to put two and two together and realize that the family pet does not like being cruddled (crushed+cuddled), being transported in the Heimlich hold, having the tail of a toy dragged repeatedly across its face well after playtime has worn out, “fetching” balls that have been thrown less than two feet from where it was standing, or in any other way being demoralized.

Crawling, cruising, first words, lost teeth—these hard milestones are exciting, but I don’t know that they’re any more important than the soft ones. Maybe they’re just the changes that happen more suddenly, so they look more drastic. If you look for the softer ones, though? You’ll see that they’re everywhere. There’s probably one happening under your roof this month. What soft milestones are you looking forward to?

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16 Responses to 5 Soft Milestones of Childhood

  1. Marcia A says:

    When your children can prepare and edible meal suitable for dinner…..Oh the pleasure that will bring you….You can see the “empty nester” light ahead….

  2. Lynn says:

    “There’s just something about Crocs-with-socks, a shirt two sizes too small, tights worn as pants, and a homemade hair-bow made of tomato tape that screams Mommy drinks!”
    HAHAHA! I love it. And cruddled? I am going to use that word from now on.
    I needed this today, you are awesome.

  3. lablover22 says:

    Makes own breakfast on the weekend. THAT was a blissful, lifechanging day. It was the day I made the house rule that Mommy gets up and makes breakfast Monday-Friday. So on Saturday she sleeps in til 8:30. You wanna eat before then, help yourself. I’d prefer that so I can maybe stay in bed til 9:00. Too lazy to make your own breakfast eventhough you know how? You wait ’til 8:30. And for every minute before 8:30 you bug me, I add 5 minutes to when I’ll get up!

    Still waiting for the day they care about how they look. They really are embarassing sometimes!

    • Isn’t it funny how we think of 8:30 as sleeping in after we have kids? I don’t know about you, but “sleeping in” for me used to mean something like 10:30 or more! I’ll take 8:30 happily now. :/

  4. lisapollard965 says:

    This list cracked me up because it’s so true! I can’t wait till my kid stops calling me because she needs me for stupid stuff. The other day it was to look at how big her poop was. *facepalm*

  5. Soft milestone: My nine year old learned how to make coffee this year. (For me, not for her. Thought I’d clarify that.) There is a strong possibility that she is now my favorite child. Don’t tell the others.

  6. LOL – love your list 🙂
    You know that creeping feeling of doom you get when you realize the house has been deathly quiet for a while … so the kids must be UP TO SOMETHING? One time (first and only time) I went searching for them when this happened, and found older brother quietly reading a picture book aloud for his two younger siblings, who were contentedly snuggled up on either side of him.

  7. MILF Runner says:

    “…indigent schizo clown” made me guffaw. Then I cried. I have a toddler. I have a looonnggggg way to go.

  8. lablover22 says:

    I can say I have no idea how many followers you have, but I consider it an honor to be considered one of them. I’ve given you a little award. Check it out. It’s like a Golden Globe without anything cool that comes with a Golden Globe;)

    • Vicky, I think I thanked you only on your blog comment section for choosing me for this award. (I hope I didn’t just DREAM that.) I promise I haven’t forgotten. I will give it the just attention it deserves in my actual blog next week! Yes, I’m a scheduler. 🙂

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