When you are preparing for parenthood there are lots of books to read and websites to check on so that you can get yourself ready. There are lists of things you need, lists of things you don't need, lists of questions to ask your doctor about, and lists of things to not panic over. Then you find the charts and the graphics all describing baby's first year. We tear up over thoughts about first steps, first words, and even first dates.
These, however, are not on any of those lists. These are the milestones no one tells you about!
- The first time you have to look twice to figure out if it's your underwear or your daughter's. You might get confused between your husband's and your son's. I like to joke that because of kid sizing, Frances wears a larger size than I do. She doesn't seem to think it's funny!
- The first time they ask you a word to spell and you're not sure of the answer (rebellion). I'm a pretty good speller. I'm even a pretty good oral speller. I was runner up in a spelling bee once! But Frances has now reached the point in her reading and writing that I can't always spell the word she needs without writing it down or even typing it out to see the spell check!
- As a corollary, we have also reached the end of my history knowledge, so when Frances has a clarifying question about a Civil War battle or a famous historical figure, she either has to ask Ken, or we have to look it up together.
- When your kid walks up the steps with alternating feet instead of two feet on each step. Benjamin does this most mornings on our daily trek up two flights of stairs to his preschool class. It took me a while to figure out what was different about his walk and then one day I noticed he wasn't doing the stutter-step as often.
- When they can read without talking and/or moving their lips. Frances and Henry both love to read. The difference is that I don't always know what Frances is reading about. She can read in her head. Henry still reads out loud and sounds out some of the words (which is totally normal because he's just finishing 1st grade!)
- When they stop announcing that they are going to the bathroom. Have you seen The Shawshank Redemption? It's one of my favorite movies. It's set in a high security prison and follows the friendship formed between two inmates in particular. One of them, played by Morgan Freeman, is released on parole after about 20 years behind bars. He gets a job as a bagger at a grocery store. In one scene near the end, he raises his hand and asks his supervisor for permission to go to the bathroom. The guy mentions that he doesn't need to ask, he can just go, but Freeman's character comments that after 20 years of asking permission to pee, he can't actually go unless someone says so. That's a long round-about way of pointing out that Frances has finally stopped asking permission to go to the bathroom at home. Henry usually doesn't ask, but Benjamin almost always does. In fact, he asks to go and then, if we're lucky, we get a play-by-play from the bathroom!!
And a shout out to my buddy Angela, who had this same idea a while ago. Great minds think alike, huh?!