Us gushy parents are quick to post status updates when we’re proud: If little Joanie takes her first steps or baby Bailey starts sleeping through the night like a champ, you can bet we’re right there posting the crap out of those moments. But in the interests of bringing some balance back to the brag-a-thon, I wanted to share a few of those baby milestones that every parent experiences, but rarely shares.
1. The first time you eat food off your child
Have you seen the Tina Fey movie, Baby Mama? You know that scene where her sister spies a smudge on her son’s arm and asks him, “Is that chocolate or poop?” before licking it to check? It’s totally gross. But as a parent, I can totally relate. I’d never lick to test when a baby wipe will do the trick, but I have to admit, when I’ve been in a jam, I have eaten banana and cake crumbs after picking them off my daughter’s flushed cheeks and grubby little fingers. It was either that, or let her run around a garden wedding party with sticky hands. I stand by my slightly icky choice.
Video credit: Movieclips Classic Trailers
2. The first time you drop your baby
Many of us have been here. In a sleep-deprived haze, we accidentally turn away from a change table or a sofa seat for just a split second and turn back just in time to see our precious pumpkin tumble to the floor. My husband and I created a “dropped baby pact” in which we swore we wouldn’t blame, yell or judge the other parent should such an incident occur. So he was very calm and non-judgy when I called him at work to confess I’d left our baby, then 4 months old, on the couch while I went to the toilet, and quickly discovered she’d learnt to roll (surprise!), and she’d rolled right off the couch and onto the floor (double surprise!). She was fine after a cuddle and a feed; it was more of a shock than anything else. And I stopped shaking about, oh, three or four weeks later.
3. The first time you encounter a number three
If number one is a wee, and a twosie is a poop, what’s a three? It’s the nappy situation you’re faced with when there is so much poo, the only way forward is to get the baby into a bath, stat. And, oh, my God, it’s all over her onesie as well. And how did it get on her neck? These situations are especially awesome when they happen somewhere outside the home.
What it’s really like giving your daughter a boy’s name >>
4. The first time you accidentally hurt them
Seeing your baby in pain is the absolute worst feeling in the world. The only thing that can possibly make it worse is when you’re the cause of their pain. I once popped my oldest daughter into her car seat at 6 weeks of age, and she promptly began screaming her lungs out; it was the middle of summer and I hadn’t realised her seat buckle was searing hot. It scalded her tender skin and left a mark that made me feel sufficiently guilty enough to check her car seat buckle every time. I still do it now, and she’s almost 4 years old.
5. The first incidence of nose slugs
If you don’t know what they are, hurrah for you! I wish I could un-know nose slugs. They’re not as horrific as they sound; they’re simply lines of green snot that erupt from each of your baby’s nostrils in a perfect slug-like formation. Hold on — they’re exactly as revolting as they sound.
Family balance: 6 Signs your family spends far too much time online >>
6. The first time a planned family event turns to crap
I love organising family events: When I’m planning them, I have all sorts of visions of the memories we’ll make and the fun we’ll have. But invariably, the actual event turns out to be an absolute hot mess. Like the time we paid over $100 for tickets to take our 3-year-old to see a Mickey Mouse concert, and she got so bored and restless, we spent most of the show in the foyer. Or when I decided an outing to the movies to see Frozen would be a great way to spend the morning. Instead, I spent 75 minutes chasing a newly-crawling 7-month-old around the cinema.
7. The first time you accidentally wake them up
There is nothing sweeter than watching your children sleep. But if you decide to check on your baby at any time during a nap or at night, you do so knowing that you’re one sneeze, floor creak, loud sniff or stubbed toe away from making noise and accidentally waking them up. Oh, the pain…
8. The first time they eat something awful
I mean, truly awful. We went camping when our baby was 8 months old and she had a ball, crawling and exploring and generally being a baby. I spent the whole time reefing foreign objects out of her mouth — grass, twigs, leaves… a used cigarette butt… awful! My cheeks are still flushed with shame.