The unexpected milestones.
I've been reflecting a lot on the milestones of my children that I hadn't anticipated. In a few short months, Elliott will turn 6 and Bennett will turn 3. I've been hit with the realization that though I still feel like such a novice, I don't even have babies anymore! It's both exhilarating and terrifying--moving into this new territory.
Along the way, there were certain milestones I looked forward to--like weaning, the completion of potty-training, and sleeping through the night. Honestly, we're still working on the whole sleeping through the night thing with Bennett, a milestone I'd assumed would happen a few months into her life, but (oops!) I was wrong. Luckily, the other milestones have come pretty easily.
But then there are the unexpected milestones--the ones I never really thought about--the ones that once they actually happen, you realize how awesome they are. Some are significant, others are not, but they're milestones nonetheless.
Buckling their own car seat. Who knew such a small and mundane task, when completed by my child, was cause for celebration? Since my kids are on the small (err, like seriously small for their ages) side, I know that we are going to have a longtime love affair with carseats. Not having to buckle both of those 5 point harnesses every time we load up? Priceless.
Sitting on a park bench. (Me, not the kids.) At almost three, Bennett is now venturing away from me on the playground. My friend Tabby and I often take our gals to the park and marvel at the fact that we now occasionally get to sit back and chat, guilt-free, while the kids occupy themselves. It's a far cry from that chaos that park trips consisted of a few years ago, right Tabby?
Skipping a nap without major repercussions. I'm not going to say that I a fan of skipping naps--they're still a high priority on my daily list. However, there's so much freedom in knowing that if we happen to have to shift or skip naptime, it won't be World War III.
Managing sickness. Without going into details, kids are gross. Elliott, at almost 6, can handle the majority of her bodily functions on her own, and this includes maintaining good aim when sick (which thankfully is RARE). Not having to change clothing and sheets when a bug hits is a bonus for everyone. I can't yet say the same for little sis, so for now, Stanley Steemer and I are pretty tight and I know easier days are in store.
No diaper bag. No diapers, no diaper bag. Niiiiiiicee.
Drinking from a straw. I think my girls each picked up the skill of drinking through a straw around the age of one. This was a game-changer for me because it meant that I no longer had to be in constant possession of a sippy cup. Don't even get me started on how much I hate the phrase "sippy cup", and even worse than that was washing the things and all those teeny holes and plastic valves. I'm grateful that we're in the regular ol' cup stage around the house, but I do remember when the babes learning to drink from a straw was a game-changer.
A few of these milestones recently joined up to equal our family's first camping trip. Like, a for real sleeping-in-the-tent-all-night-long camping trip. And shocker--it was SO enjoyable!
I've been told that other unanticipated milestones are coming. A very wise and seasoned Mom recently told me a neat milestone to look forward to is when the kids can bathe themselves. I hadn't even considered this rite of passage, and I realize I'm still years away, but man oh man, the ability to say "go take a shower" without having to be involved? That's going to be a good day.
I'd love to know some of your favorite unexpected milestones.