I don’t want to wish my little girls’ lives away, and heaven knows I regularly cry at the mere fact they’re not ickle babies anymore, but there are some parenting milestones that are totally awesome, and probably can’t be understood by people who don’t have kids. Here are 10 seemingly stupid milestones that genuinely made life a little better for me:
- Sleeping through the night. For some, this comes much later (major sympathies); for others, babies sleep through from Day 1 (I’d keep that to yourself if I were you). I managed to get my girls to sleep through 6/7 hours by six months by letting them cry it out a bit. It was very deliberate as I was going back to work and don’t function well on broken sleep. I found the night feeds much more difficult than I ever anticipated and I do NOT miss them.
- No more night feeds! I was unprepared for how long it takes a newborn to drink all of 3 ounces of milk (I formula fed); we’re talking half an hour per baby so for me, that meant half an hour with T1 and then another half an hour with T2. Each feed also meant a nappy change and ear-piercing screaming (from the babies, though I easily could have joined in) and they required feeding every 3 hours. So if T1 woke at 2am, I was feeding/changing her until around 2:30am and then T2 was finished around 3am. I would then take around 20 minutes to get back to sleep (regardless of how exhausted I felt) but then T1 would wake me up again at 5am. It felt like it would never end and I looked like the walking dead for much of that time.
- Moving to the next size nappy. I have no idea why this always excited me (probably because I’m a total saddo) but it was something to do with a break in the monotony and intrigue regarding which cute animal design would be on THIS one?!
- Moving to the next size of clothing; see above but with the added oooh-I’ve-got-such-cute-little-outfits-in-this-size! factor.
- Being able to give them their bottles without holding the bottles for them. As a mom of twins, this opened up a world of tandem-feeding that I had hitherto found impossible (those photos of twin moms being all Superwoman about it just annoy me). I had found several ingenious methods of propping the babies and their bottles against various items and furniture in the house but it was always a bit precarious so I could never actually get anything else done as I still needed to stay with them.
- The age where they started to pay attention to [insert generic children’s TV channel here]. I’m not saying my TV is a substitute parent but if it weren’t for TV, pretty much none of the housework would get done. (Remember, as a twin mama, I can’t simply vacuum with a child in my arms… Well, I can, but then the other child is watching the TV)
- The 12-month milestone: moving from formula milk to regular milk from the fridge. No more scooping, boiling, measuring and cooling! No more forgetting to make in advance and having to do all of that while two starving babies scream at the top of their lungs at 2am! Now it’s pour, nuke, shake and go – bish, bash, bosh. Seriously liberating.
- Finger food. We’re well out of 3-hourly milk bottles and beyond the all-consuming weaning phase: now is the time when you no longer need to take pre-prepared mushed up food everywhere you go because the chances are, you’ll be able to pick up something they can feed themselves, even if it isn’t organic and homemade with love (puke).
- When they figure out how to climb down from the sofa SAFELY (as opposed to simply continuing to walk off the edge as though they believe they can levitate). Gone are the days of fear! Now I can actually leave the room for a moment! (This euphoria lasts about as long as it takes a toddler to work out how to climb beyond the sofa onto the window ledge)
- The age where they start to get into cool toys. My definition of cool is about as uncool as you can get but I got so bored by rattles and the like, and loved it when the twins started getting into more interactive and imaginative play. I feel like I can get more involved in their playing now, as I can remember liking these kinds of toys when I was little. Kids’ toys are great!
So there you have it. My list of small but very important and life-changing parenting moments. Would you add any more?