We all look forward to those big milestones; learning to crawl, learning to walk and potty training.
They are some of the most magical moments of parenting and by all means go all out and take photos and phone Grandma to spread the good news.
But, here’s the thing – there are so many more milestones that will REALLY get you jumping for joy. Because they’re game changers. Total game changers.
Here are the 12 parenting milestones to really get excited about:
When they learn to wipe their own bums
Hallelujah! No more sitting on the loo and shouting ‘I’m FINIIIIIIIIISSSSHED’ as a cue for you to rush in and wipe pooey bottoms.
Oh the glamour. Celebrate when it’s no longer your job.
When they can put their own shoes on
Never mind if they plonk them on the wrong feet and struggle to shuffle down the hallway, while repeating ‘I can do it by my own’.
You save precious minutes that might make the difference between you making it to the school gates before the bell or not.
When they can do up their own car seat buckles
It saves so much hassle. You can finally stop contorting yourself into awkward positions, folding your body into the back of the car, sighing and tutting as you wrestle to do up the car seat buckles before you can finally drive off.
The first time you wash their hair without it sounding like a soundtrack from The Exorcist
Good grief. Washing hair is kind of a necessity but it’s such a nightmare.
You begin to worry that every time you do it the neighbours will phone social security because they make such a fuss and shriek so loudly that it sounds like you’re torturing them.
All hail the time when they finally relax when you wash their hair and stop making such a fuss. Even better the day when they can do it themselves. Now that’s a day to REALLY celebrate.
When you can chuck away the buggy
The day when you put your oatcake smeared and milk stained buggy on Freecycle is a day to be celebrated.
You’re free to walk down the streets without lugging a four wheeled contraption up and down kerbs. No longer do you have to wrestle with the ‘easy to put up and down’ mechanisms that always made you swear and hurt your shins.
You can go up and down steps. You can get on buses without a commotion.
This is what freedom feels like.
When they stop napping and you’re suddenly free from routine
OK so you miss out on that precious time to
do the chores drink tea while it’s still hot and scroll through your social media feed. But once your child stops napping the whole day opens up.
You no longer have to plan days out round her nap schedule. You can do what you want, when you want.
Except when your toddler doesn’t want to. Or is tired and grizzly… Actually, scrap that. Bring back the naps already.
When they can pour out their own cereal…
… and milk and munch it in front of CBeebies while you lie in. It’s a priceless milestone. Revel in it. For as long as you can. Under the duvet.
When they learn how to swing by themselves
Oh the hours you’ve spent pushing a swing back and forth, and back and forth and back and forth until you almost lost the will to live.
Oh the joy when they finally figure out how to swing their legs and do it themselves
When they get the hang of telling jokes
Before now they tell you jokes that make NO sense whatsoever and laugh hysterically as they deliver the punchline. Jokes like:
Kid: Knock knock?
You: Who’s there?
You: Potato who?
Kid: Poo poo dinosaur pant-head
That crushing disappointment when you fail to join in their mirth.
All hail the day when they finally can tell a joke that at least makes sense. Even if it’s cracker worthy and you have to fake the laughter.
When you don’t have to arrange playdates for them and they can just make their own plans
Especially when you have to phone school gate mums you don’t really get on with and have to awkwardly dodge suggestions that you both meet up for coffee too.
It’s SO much easier when your child is in charge of their social arrangements and all you have to do is be the unpaid taxi driver.
When they start to enjoy watching TV shows that you like too
No more having to sit through endless episodes of Peppa Pig and getting frustrated at wondering how Miss Rabbit can hold down so many jobs and why all the animals are the same size.
Do a happy dance when your kids finally love TV shows that you enjoy too.
It might start off small, and you develop a slightly worrying obsession with Tracy Beaker or Full House but eventually you’ll enjoy snuggling up together to watch TV shows you’re both hooked on and look forward to the next episode together.
When they can make YOU a cuppa
All those days and years of waiting on your little cherub hand on foot will finally be paid back when they are old enough to master the kettle and make YOU a cup of tea.
Ah! The bliss. It’s a day worth waiting for.
Each of these milestones will make you do a happy dance as you tick them off.
Enjoy each one as they come along, to make your life that little bit easier. You’ve earned it!