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October 7, 2015

Two years and counting: My favourite baby milestones so far

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So... I have been a parent for two and a half years already. It is absolutely unbelievable that the time has gone past so quickly and those moments I was warned about - cleaning dirty nappies, having half-digested milk thrown up on me, sleepless nights, and so on - have passed, and I am no worse for wear. I'm proud to say, neither is my daughter! :D

In the first three months of her birth I read a hilarious article by a comedienne whose similar experiences were a relief to me. 'Hey, I'm not the only one!'

Now, two years later, the baby milestones - such as their first bowel movements with speed and trajectory, the first time she falls to the ground despite flailing arms and hands desperately attempting to catch her, and the first time you realise, despite Googling like crazy, that you have absolutely no clue what you're doing - are completely overshadowed by the very real interaction and bonding that takes place once you have come to know your child.

I would suggest to parents to take some time out every day and document what their child has said and done at least once a week, because there are so many things they do that will warm your heart when you feel like going animalistic on them. (I keep intending to start a journal, but... procrastination is my middle name)

Every parent will have negative memories of their children's first years: the frustration of needing some time to yourself and they refuse to sleep; the heartbreak when they appear to love Granny more than they do you; the first time they bite to hurt; those moments when your heart falls into your stomach because they're lying and breathing so still they appear dead; the first time they choke on something; the first time you realise your television viewing is really inappropriate; or the time that you forgot to put away that sharp instrument only to find that she is quietly playing with it.

However, these scary and frustrating moments are exquisitely undone by the delicate embroidery of love and memories.

Here are some of my favourite moments thus far:

1. Greeting random strangers at the mall with her signature lightbulb wave from her carriage (at nine months);

2. The first time she reached out to hold my hand, and every time she still does it. Emma is a very independent little girl. I believe I was more upset leaving her at a sitter recently than she was at being left, proclaiming, 'Go Mommy!'

3. The smell of her hair in my face while I'm reading a book to her.

4. The moment her imagination had kicked in and the toy in each hand had its own accent.

5. When strangers are not interesting any more and merely make her cling to my leg (no more running into the arms of people I don't know for hugs! Phew!) Lately she simply ignores them, not even bothering to say 'Hello'. Is she already tired of street harassment?

6. Singing along with Norah Jones or Old McDonald, enjoying Round the Garden and Three Little Piggies and Pat-a-Cake way too much, making me do it over and over again.

7. Squashing her cheeks together to say the Chubby Baby Club rhyme.

8. Being proud of her artwork on my wall.

9. Every time she shares her meal or sweet or drink with me.

10. Sometimes being the only one who knows what she wants. :) This just makes me feel good.

11. The first time her shadow on the wall frightened her. She ran to me, of course.

12. Her expression when she knows she's just about to be praised, like when she's used the potty, or when she knows she's going to get her way. She has this adorable little skew smile and she juts out her chin with a nod.

13. Being (nearly) my only motivation to go to the gym: 'Wanna go to the gym, mommy!'

14. I know it sounds terrible, but the first time she was really ill. The little baby I had a few years ago had returned, eager for cuddles, lying on my chest, and just wanting mommy!

There are way too many though; I could go on forever. Every day is a new adventure with a child.

Do you have any moments you would like to share?

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