Parenthood is full of milestones. You can’t help but swell with pride for all of your child’s firsts–first bite of solid food (or not-so-solid, despite the terminology), first crawl, first steps, first words, first day of school, and everything before, between, and after. But there are some moments which shouldn’t be prideful, yet show a step in cognitive development none-the-less. For instance:
1.) First swears in context
Part of a child’s verbal development is learning to use words in context. It’s one thing to say, “Ball.” It’s another to say, “Throw the ball.” Just like it’s one thing to say, “Dammit.” And another to say, “Pass me my toy truck, dammit.”
I shouldn’t be proud. Especially because my children most likely learned this word from me and now I have to help them unlearn it. But some small part of me wants to high-five them for using the word properly in a sentence.
2.) First movie quotes
Yeah, my kids watch TV. Sometimes too much TV. Even if I wanted to deny it, I couldn’t. My four-year-old can quote too many movies, name too many characters, and sing too many theme songs. I get oddly proud when he can sing the Spider-Man theme song circa 1967 by heart. He’s so vintage.
3.) First observations of mommy’s habits
After parent-teacher conferences this past November, my son’s teacher sent me home with a development worksheet to fill out. It contained everything from spaces for him to practice pre-writing strokes to questions for him to answer about everyday things. For example–Question: What do I do if I am tired? Answer: Go to sleep.
So I asked him, “What do I do if I am thirsty?”
And he said, “Get some wine.”
I wasn’t sure whether to tell his teacher the truthful answer or not. (And that answer is no! I changed wine to water. The opposite of a miracle.) But I had to admit his answer was both 1.) Correct and 2.) Hilarious.
4.) First innovative use of dangerous kitchen utensils
In the age of ordering things on the internet, we receive a lot of packages at my house (or, is it really a ploy to get more cardboard boxes to make stuff with?). My kids have watched me, over and over again, get a knife from the knife block, slice open the packing tape, and open a box to get what’s inside.
This past weekend my kids were home with my husband while I was out having crazy times at the RT Booklover’s Convention (and I’m telling you that not to blame him, but so you know I was not an eye-witness. And also to brag about being at the RT Booklover’s Convention). He said he’d noticed my 2-year-old daughter had grown especially quiet, which as you know always means trouble. He found her in the kitchen with the step stool from the bathroom pulled up to the counter, and she was a second away from slicing into a box with a knife. What was in the box? Her chocolate bunny from Easter we haven’t let her eat yet.
First, we take a big, deep breath and thank our lucky stars nothing bad happened with the knife. Then we make some proud observations: 1.) She is obviously her mommy’s daughter if she goes to such great lengths for chocolate. 2.) She is obviously driven and willing to do things herself. 3.) She doesn’t take no for an answer. 4.) She is observant and resourceful. And also in a lot of trouble. 5.) We need to put the knife block even higher now.
And now that you all know what a wonderful parent I am, I’m off to undo all of the bad, yet sort of pride-inspiring things my children have learned.