When my husband and I met our daughter in the NICU when she was 3 days old, we were overjoyed. We were also nervous. We knew she looked perfect to us, but we were also told some scary things about the lack of prenatal care she had before she was born and some conditions they were worried about. So, honestly, it all sort of underlined my excitement, pride, and relief when my baby reached her 8 month milestone.
My daughter met her first few milestones around the "right" time: she rolled at about 4 months and started sitting around 6 months. However, none of those previous milestones felt as monumental as her 8 month milestone when she started scooting and crawling. She first started doing little push-ups and scooching backward, usually landing herself stuck under the couch. When she finally got going with a proper crawl, we were beside ourselves that she had figured it out all on her own. Watching her learn something new and complex — that gave her freedom and movement — was an exhilarating relief. It was an indication that she was going to be trucking around on her two feet and that we could relax and let her learn at her own pace.
Milestones are tricky because, while you know rationally that kids learn at different paces, as a parent you want your kid to at least tick the box so you can know they're developing as they should. It's hard to be patient, and even harder to be patient when there's the extra pressure of potential difficulties raised from the start. What a wonderful relief for these proud parents.
"I'm So Proud Of You!"
Well, duh! We were so proud, watching her scoot and crawl, exploring on her own for the very first time. It's such a weird, specific pride: that parental pride. Like you know you're a weirdo for thinking it's incredible that your child has done something all children do and have done for all of eternity. But nonetheless, you are proud as punch.
"I'm So Relieved"
When there are mentions of developmental worries, milestones (and especially ones that are reached right on time) are such a relief.
"You Are The Best Crawler The World Has Ever Seen"
I mean, really, though. Especially that mechanical first crawling that makes them look like a robot dog? Just the cutest thing anyone has ever seen. Period.
"Time To Baby-Proof!"
Her newfound freedom meant work was in order for us! Time to plug in those electrical socket thingies and make sure all the sharp corners are covered.
"I'm So Excited For What's To Come"
When my daughter started crawling, it was one of the first times I thought about what it would be like to have a little girl running around or walking beside me down the sidewalk, holding my hand. What a fun thing we had in store.
"Aw, She's Growing Up!"
Once she started moving on her own, she was officially not a "baby baby" anymore. How did that happen so quickly?!
"I'm About To Get Even More Tired"
A baby with the ability to get down and wiggle and move on her own is instantly more tiring than a baby who just wants to sit and hang out.
"Oh, The Messes You Will Make"
All my systems with baskets of toys seemed like a super idea until we had a crawler who could take everything out at high speed, but couldn't (or wouldn't) put anything back in again. Cue the bend, pick-up, repeat sequence. All day long.
"I Guess The Floor Wasn't So Clean After All"
Welcome to the days of dirty knees! Break out every single one of your probably over-priced cleaning product, and cross your fingers, because the hardest kind of dirt to get out is the kind that's ground in by crawling for hours.