Thursday, January 1, 2009

Secret milestones

Happy New Year!  This post is completely unrelated to New Year's Day.  I'm kind of bored with the whole New Year's topic.  And it's only 12:04 a.m.


Those of us who are parents of small children look forward to so many milestones.  We get excited with the first tooth (even though it may be painful), the first step (despite the challenges of a fully-mobile child), and the first word (trying to convince ourselves that the baby really knows what "dada" means.)

But if you're a parent you know there's also a whole set of secret milestones.  These are the ones mothers and fathers don't want to talk about.  When we do speak of them, it is with other parents, under the cover of night, in terrified whispers.  We know if we let the cat out of the bag, we might scare potential parents, and the world would end at this generation.

So it is with great trepidation that I prepare to reveal five secret milestones that parents wish their children would never reach.  If you dare, list your own in the comments.

1.  Learning to unscrew caps from jars, tubes, and bottles.  Depending on the interests of your child, this terrible milestone leads to toothpaste painting, salad dressing chugging, or hair washing with salsa shampoo.  Or maybe, in particularly horrifying cases, all three.

2.  Figuring out that when an item is dropped, someone picks it up.  Babies who have hit this milestone think it is great fun to drop the same item dozens of times in a row, and delight in watching Mommy or Daddy pick it up every time.  I am currently investigating allegations that this behavior is learned via subliminal messages, placed in PBS cartoons by hospitals for the criminally insane.  They are seeking new patients, and who better than a frazzled parent who has to pick up the teething ring one...more...tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime?!

3.  Learning that toilet paper, when pulled, unrolls from the tube.  Even repeated admonitions of, "You will have NO INHERITANCE if I keep having to buy more Charmin!" seem to have no effect on a child who is anxious to practice the toilet paper unrolling skill.  This is closely related to the milestone of figuring out that it's fun to dip sheets or entire rolls of toilet paper into the potty, in order to play with the wet, soggy paper.

4.  Food-flinging.  For some reason, as yet unexplained by scientists, every developing human brain reaches a point at which suddenly the only rational way to end a meal is to fling every bit of uneaten food onto nearby walls, floors, parents, and pets.  Particularly advanced children also manage to paint their skin, clothing, and hair with pureed food, all before parents can put the leftovers in the trash.  Some children hit this milestone and quickly get past it; others still find food-flinging to be a pleasant diversion well into toddlerhood.

5.  Backtalking.  Parents rejoice to watch their children develop language skills, but around the age of three, they are surprised to see their child suddenly using well-formed retorts.  For instance, a mother may say, "Sit on your bottom," and be shocked to hear her small child respond, "No, you sit on your bah-bahm!"  This leads parents to wonder why no one told them that the teens actually start ten years earlier than they'd expected.

I really do think, if we want future generations to procreate, we should keep these secret milestones to ourselves...don't you?


Call Me Cate said...

Wow, no, I'm pretty sure it IS illegal to post about anything but your resolutions. You need to be a sheeple like me.

No, seriously, those things terrify me as someone that might some day have some kids. Or a puppy.

Our Scoop said...

Hilarious!! I love those! You sound pretty experienced in all 5!! :) You are so funny!

And Happy New Year Friend. I am pretty over the whole new year thing too and it is only 11:22 in Arizona. But I already had my champagne toast. yum

Simplicity said...

1. When they discover that some doors are automatic! They will venture off in an attempt to find one that will open for them so that they may flee! The security of doors being too heavy to open vanishes!

2. When they learn how to turn on the bathtub water by themselves...and how to plug the tub and let it fill! Yipes! So scary to go to pick up a child from naptime only to find them splooshing in a few inches of water!

3. When they learn how to unlock the child gate OR climb over it and tumble down the other side!

4. When they learn how to use the remote control...including volume! Nothing like Barney at volume level 10 to shake you out of the morning doldrums!

5. When they become enthralled with flushing items down the toilet! There's only so many socks that sucker can take before coughing them back up!

Great post!!

Scriptor Senex said...

I have a wonderful photo somewhere of a kitchen 'decorated' with flour when the bag opening milestone was passed!
The others have the advantage that they too are 'milestones' and therefore, as such, are passed and left behind though the backtalking has been lknown to last into the twenties.... (Just to terrorise you at your own game.)

Annelie said...

I'm with Cate on this one; terrifying for future prospective parents, although absolutely hilarious! :)

beckiwithani said...

Can you write a less-funny version of this so that I can give it to my 10th grade students as birth control?

Kristi said...

Funny stuff! #5 is definitely my favorite (least favorite?)!

How about...

1. When diaper tabs are no longer difficult to peel back, and well, you know the rest...Blech!!

2. When they learn to recognize those dang golden arches and every time you pass one they cry for a cheesegurger and fen fies!

There's just sooo many more, but right now I need to make sure one of the milestones Simplicity mentioned isn't being achieved. Both boys are out of my sight and I've heard the toilet flush one too many times for my comfort level!

Rick said...

Hello Beth. Please forgive my boldness, but I'm just doing some surfing and inviting people to come over to my blog and be a part of my annual giveaway. There are no gimmicks. It's just my way of celebrating two years of blogging. I'm giving away a free caricature drawn by me. I'd be honored if you came over and sign up.

Faith said...

Happy New year! I hope you don't mind my linking your post on my blog. :)

Jenners said...

Wow! Love the new header! So colorful and fun! Quite a different look!

Loved this post ... as always. I'm glad my son never did the food flinging thing!!!!

C. Beth said...

Call Me Cate--Ha! Puppies really are great practice for having kids!

Our Scoop--Thankfully SOME of this came out of my imagination. But most of it came out of my memory--much of it very recent!

Simplicity--EEEEEEK! We haven't hit some of those milestones yet! :)

Scriptor--And I bet that backtalking is even harder to deal with when they outgrow you, isn't it? I'm guessing both of my kids will outgrow me years before they leave the house. Sigh....

A.--But parenting is so rewarding too. Just hire a hypnotist to help you forget what you just read. :)

Becki--Ha! Maybe they just need to listen to audio from me pushing Zoodle out. I mean, it was a beautiful experience to me, afterward, on reflection. But to a 10th grader it might be terrifying!

Kristi--I am SO lucky that Chickie never did much of the diaper removal. But she does definitely recognize the Golden arches. :-O

Rick--Thanks for the info--I entered your contest, and you've got a great blog!

Faith--Oh, of course, link away!

Jenners--Oh, my, you are SO lucky. Chickie still likes to dump her bowl, throw it on the floor, and then play with whatever food is left over.

Anonymous said...

All "lovely" memories of times past (they become "lovely" AFTER you don't experience them any more). Loved the additions from your commenters too -- obviously a subject with lots of examples!

Beautiful new header, great new pictures! Boy, you're really getting a fresh start on the new year, Beth! May it be a wonderful one for you.


C. Beth said...

Sandra--Thank you! I hope, pray, ane expect that you'll have a wonderful year too.

IsDihara said...

I know I'm late to the party, but I wanted to chime in with tear-stained laughter (like so many before me) at your oh-so-entertaining post. I swear, you reach into the fuzzy recesses of my mommy brain and print my thoughts. So eloquently too!

Great job on your new blog banner. It looks fab!

How about:
when they graduate from a crib to a toddler bed.

Dealing with the "pitter-patter of little feet" once they learn they can get out of bed whenever they wake up and dance/race/tippy-toe down the hall to mommy and daddy's room to announce their arrival (or desire to watch cartoons) at the top of their lungs for the umpteenth time before sunrise. Oy vey!

(Many folks deal with this by putting a baby gate up in the toddler's bedroom doorway. This hasn't worked too well in our case. My darling little man just yells loudly and repeatedly from the gate until someone gets up to shoo him back into bed.)