Its official. No denying it. As if the deep voice, height and shaving didn’t tell the story, the birthday did. My baby is thirteen. Officially a teenager. How did that happen?!?! I swear I blinked my eyes and it was here.
There is something different when your youngest “baby” hits an age milestone. You knew all along it was coming. But now with Aidan, him being an actual baby is a distant memory. There are no traces of baby fat, no sign of needing help putting his shoes on. He has moved on. He is now cool. Interestingly with Aidan he is my one child that looks very different from how he did as a toddler/preschooler. Then he was a chubby toe head blonde. Now he is thin angular faced brown haired young man. If it wasn’t for the easy smile, I may not know they are the same person.
Now I get to watch Aidan transition into manhood. Find himself and his place in the world. As I will now transition myself into a mother with no more babies. Happy 13th birthday Aidan!
To all you new parents out there the birth of a child brings excitement for the future and all of the milestones they will hit. Milestones are not always what you have been told. Yes, there is the first time your infant rolls over, their first tooth, their first steps, they are the ones you read about in all the books. Those are the ones you are supposed to write down in the baby book (which you say you will get to next week and before you know it they are eighteen).
Here are some true milestones that are really important:
The first time your baby sleeps more than a six hour stretch in a night. This can take months to happen, and even then it can be sporadic. The thing is, once it does it is like heaven. These past few months (or more) you have been in a constant “not enough sleep hangover.” Gone are the days of your youth that you would have to drink alcohol to feel like this, you feel hungover every day. After one night of close to six hours of sleep you will wake up panicked and disoriented. You will quickly check on your child to make sure all is okay and once you see it is, a feeling of exhilaration will come over you. Check-milestone #1
When your toddler can start to “help”. Now its not a “change the world” help, but nevertheless something. Your toddler is usually so happy to please (unlike the future teenager that they will one day be). They will pick up some of their toys and put them away. Perhaps not in the correct spot, but its a start. You can now give them simple chores that will keep them busy sometime up to a whole minute! “Put the paper in the trash, ‘close the closet door” and the favorite, “bring Daddy his drink”. Check-milestone #2
Now your child is fast approaching preschool age and they are moving on to the next milestone. Chances are you have had your run in with dreaded stomach virus. Ugh! And the hours of laundry and floor cleaning that ensued after each bout with it. The next very important milestone is when you lovely bundle of joy can use the puke bucket. Yes, I said it, the puke bucket. You can now rest easy that you will be tossing out a plastic garbage bag and deodorizing the bucket instead of the hours of cleaning that used to happen. Can I get an AMEN?!?! Check-milestone #3
This next milestone will give you hours at the park to sit leisurely on the bench with the other moms and save on back aches. It is the swing leg pump. You will not be the mom getting your arm workout by trying to push your child to the moon. They have now mastered the back and forth leg motion which will give you a few minute break before you have to hear “I’m hungry”. Check-milestone #4
There are more milestones to come down the road, but lets face it, these are the early ones that matter!
As the song goes Times are a changin’. Yet another year of many milestones. Last August I sent my oldest off to college. This August, I send another child. While my “baby” heads into middle school and my baby girl becomes a Sophomore in High School. I have spent the past few weeks looking through baby books and thousands upon thousands of photos. Getting them out for various milestones that are happening in my family’s lives. I am so happy that I have kept a visual documentation of the past. It triggers memories, good, bad and some real funny ones. I am reminded of moments sitting reading a book to a little one, seeing the first hit in baseball and snuggles with a departed grandparent. All these visual memories would do me no good if never printed.
I am reminded while looking through these photos, that times do change. Good or bad, it all adds to experience. Preparation for my children to conquer a new step in life. And seeing these photos reminds me that there is a lot of good. And we can face new challenges. And we grow. And we survive. Life is good. So bring it on!