There are some milestones in childhood that mothers look forward to with great anticipation, and others we look forward to with a fair amount of dread. There are the usual suspects, like sleeping through the night, the ability to feed themselves, first steps, first days of school. We usually mark these milestones with a little fanfare. Write it in the baby book! Take a photo! Share it with friends and family!
This post is not about any of those types of milestones.
This post is about the milestones that aren't recognized as the monumental achievements they really are. These are the milestones no one talks about -- but everyone would certainly notice if your child never reached one, or all, of them before leaving for college!
1. Ability to blow their own nose.
It doesn't sound like a big deal to those who don't have children, or maybe if you're like me and your children are teens and preteens, you may have forgotten (blocked it mentally some might say) the time when you had to follow your toddler around the house with a wad of tissue saying "Blow. Again. Again. Again!" until their little nose was snot free. Only to repeat the entire process 10 minutes later. The moment your child has the dexterity and coordination to blow their own nose, you have gained back several hours of your life, and the use of your second hand for your own purposes.
2. Enough maturity that you can leave home alone for five minutes.
Running to the corner store to grab a gallon of milk or a cup of coffee is no longer a simple or fast process once you have children. The moment your little one is mature enough to stay home alone while you run to grab that gallon of milk, your whole life just changed. You no longer have to dress yourself and another person, put your shoes on and another person's, put your coat on and another person's... just to go buy a gallon of milk (one that other person will consume in the blink of an eye).
3. No longer having to bring them in the bathroom.
Oh sure, they're likely to follow you in there anyway, but that's not the point. The point is that you have the possibility of going to the bathroom and taking care of business without first having to gather up your little person and something to entertain them, get them situated on a relatively clean place on the floor where they can't reach anything and then pee as fast as humanly possible. Also, being able to shower without someone pointing, poking, pulling or other slightly uncomfortable things is heavenly.
4. Ability to swallow a pill.
This one may sound weird if you still have little ones, but if you have older kids, trust me, there will come a time when you will be glad that you can give your child a regular tablet of Advil instead of measuring out multiple spoonfuls of the liquid, grape-flavored crap to make their fever break. I can't tell you how many preteen and teen children I have spoken to who have never mastered the ability to take a pill. They have a headache and can't do anything about it because mom doesn't carry chewables in her purse. Crazy!
5. Ability to pour their own drink without your assistance.
I'm not talking about them pouring their own glass of milk while you hover, ready to jump in at a moment's notice to divert a disaster. This is them pouring a glass of milk and you don't even have to think about mopping the kitchen floor, or replacing a brand new gallon of milk after it gets wasted all over the kitchen.
6. Ability to wipe their own butt!
This is the biggie, maybe the biggest of all of them! First day of kindergarten? Pschaw! Leaving for college? Who cares? First date? High school prom? None of these amount to much of anything if your child hasn't achieved this milestone! Plus, the amount of freedom and sheer ecstasy you can derive from being a mother and NOT hearing "Mom, can you come wipe me?" from the bathroom is bigger than anyone can really put into words!
What milestones would you like to add to the list? Leave your suggestions in the comments, I can't wait to hear them.