Child milestones: the good, the bad, and the bothersome. Welcome to ParentalGrit, where we spent Monday musing over the finer things in life HERE, and today we’ll look into munchkin milestones and the bittersweet feelings they generate. If you’re new to ParentalGrit, please join us for new posts every single Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, where we both celebrate and commiserate the ups and downs of family life. Today’s post is brought to you by my oldest daughter Eliza’s new bed. It is Thursday night and we are 90 minutes into Eliza’s first night in a big girl bed. Tonight is either going to be one of the treasured moments in her maturation process…or…yet another night my wife and I receive no sleep due to middle-of-the-night shenanigans.
Eliza, two and a half, has been a crib for the better part of her life. While we had a co-sleeping crib we used for the first few months, she’s been in the same crib for over two years. Tonight’s transition into a big girl bed feels a little different from most milestones. When your kid first learns to speak, it’s nearly impossible to suppress elation as the adorable little blabbermouth begins a 3+ year journey into common sense communication. When your kid first learns to walk, it has all the feels of an epic transition from infant to toddler (good luck celebrating that switch for long). When the major milestones land, it’s time to brag, flood social media, and immediately compare your child to everyone else’s milestone timelines (or not J).
It is, however, the smaller milestones that result in a little less celebration and a bit more reflection. Seeing my first born take that first step, say Dada for the first time, or put the pee pee in the potty finally made me proud to be a parent and excited for her development. Seeing her climb into a slightly larger bed in a slightly larger room without so much as a whimper for her father? I’m having a little difficulty getting too excited. Somewhere in the last two years Eliza started growing up a hypersonic speed without my permission. Is it wrong that I wouldn’t mind another decade or two of her staying a toddler, even if it means I have to, you know, deal with all the other toddler baggage?
I only have girls so far, so I don’t know if this is perhaps a little princess syndrome I’m experiencing, but watching Eliza pounce from one small milestone to the next is a little disconcerting. I suppose this is exactly what I signed up for in parenthood, but things are really beginning to spiral quickly as I witness my little girl growing up much too quickly. These are the milestones that stick much closer to my memory: the sprawled out limbs of a sleeping toddler finally in a bed her size, her first walk to the mailbox without her daddy in hand, and the first week she didn’t my help with the ol’ Velcro shoes. Sigh.
There are some moments when I wish time would accelerate and my girls would progress more quickly (*ahem* potty-training), but most of the time I sit in a fit of turmoil hoping they stay young forever while also trying not to hold them back. I guess this is what my parenting future holds with two little girls under three. So my wife and I will move forward with the reluctant acceptance that the firsts are coming quick and steady for the next several year; we’ll enjoy the moments as best we can while privately consoling each other with the knowledge that our little girls are growing up.