16 Milestones Your Kid Will Hit That The Baby Books Just Don't Prepare You For

Ad failed to load

Most moms have probably heard the jokes about how unfortunate it is that kids don’t come with instruction manuals. Like, how much easier would motherhood be if the parenting books were kid-specific? I did the best I could, preparing for my son’s arrival, but there were still plenty of parenting and baby milestones that the books did not mention.

Honestly, maybe this is a good thing, because motherhood really and truly is just a little more fun when you're not entirely sure what you're in for (and yes, this is a lie I have told myself countless times, so just go with it). But I mean, when pajamas and snuggles are involved, things are great and the surprise only adds to that greatness. Still, it would have been nice for there to be a chapter on, “Why You Should Not Stay Up Late Googling Infant Health Issues, Dena,” because that’s a lesson I definitely didn't learn in time. Or, “Why You Never Want To Go To The Park When Your Phone Storage Is Full Because You Will See A Deer And Your Kid Will Be Awestruck And You Won’t Be Able To Capture It.” Sigh.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. Now that my son’s officially a toddler, I’ve been through a fair amount of milestones, and I know I have many more to look forward to. I’ve learned that some of the most impactful moments aren’t the ones listed on any growth charts. For example:

Ad failed to load

The First Time They Tell You They Love You


Life is amazing and everything is perfect, and if you try to remind me that there is darkness in the world, I will cut you. Please, just let me have this perfect moment of unabashed love. Sure, he’s just repeating syllables that I’m asking him to repeat, but he certainly has some grasp of the meaning, right?

The First Time They Tell You They Love you, Unprompted


I’m not crying, you’re crying. Stop peeling onions and hand me a tissue, please.

The First Time They Need The ER


Disclaimer: Actually, there’s no thoughts that go along with this one. There’s too much sheer panic buzzing through your mind, and all your focus simply goes toward breathing.

Ad failed to load

The First Time They Run Toward You For A Hug


I didn’t know it was possible for my heart to explode and for me to turn into a puddle at the same time, but it’s happening. I’m a mess that’s been sprayed all over the walls.

The First Time They’re Sweet Toward Your Family Pet


I knew there was a point to all the stuffed animals we continuously bought our kid. He’s learned how to be gentle and soft and kind; to gently pat animals and to not pull on their tails and to be "careful." Now, if we could just get him to leave the dog bowl alone, all would be swell.

The Moment They Make Their First Friend


I thought it was impossible for my kid to get cuter, but posing him next to someone his age who is almost his cuteness equal is pretty glorious. I suddenly feel like I need to take pictures and sell them to greeting card companies. Oh, and when they hug one another because now they're best "buddies?" Dead. I am dead and I'm dying and I'm dead.

Ad failed to load

Their First Belly Laugh


In my case, it was the result of some of his dad’s hiccups, leaving us both to wonder if there was any way to make hiccups last forever. OK, maybe not forever, but at least to hiccup on command in a way that doesn’t seem fake, because, seriously, baby belly laughs are life-changing.

The First Time They Repeat Something You Don’t Want Them To


Guys, I can’t even talk about it here because it’s still so raw and personal. Let's just say it involved a magazine cover from this summer's Olympics depicting a swimmer. That's all you need to know.

Their First Public Diaper Issue


Bless you, strangers who did not openly judge my partner and I as we both handled the diaper, um, trouble in the back of the car, in the snow, in a grocery store parking lot. Bless you.

Ad failed to load

The First Time They Seemingly Enjoy Gross Food Combinations


I mean, I like ketchup as much as the next person, but typically as an accoutrement to french fries. Not as a generous cheese topping.

The First Time They Ask For The Other Parent


Sorry, can’t talk right now. I'm busy picking up the pieces of my heart since it was ripped out of my chest and thrown through the ceiling fan moments ago.

The First Time They Reach For Your Hand


I hope his future romantic partners are cool with me hanging out off to the side, still holding a hand, because this is perfect and I could do it forever.

Ad failed to load

The First Time They Open A Closed Door


Oh, so that’s what people mean when they say it feels like the rug was pulled out from under them. Every semblance of safety and privacy I’ve maintained has now been destroyed because this two year old has the run of the house.

The First Time They Interrupt You While You're Trying To Work And Start Typing All Over Your Document


fk mmnmjno89ki. vkhjh ge75rwq24deyhujhjugfffydfyhikolm,;,vnm. nnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb bbbbbbnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn mv,bm

(It's the best, you guys.)

The First Time They Injure Themselves While You’re In Charge


I’m considering bringing letters to all my friends' baby showers with “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL THE FIRST BLEED” on the envelope. The inside consists of one page with, “you are not a bad mom” written on it over and over again.

Ad failed to load

The First Time You Can Actually Play Together


At two years old, my toddler is typically entertained by things that don’t exactly entertain me. Still, every so often, we can get into an awesome session of blocks, or puzzles, or we can enjoy some time in the sprinkler together, and I realize we have more in common than half our genes.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills