The Childhood Milestone No One Tells You About

child's first dictionary
Her first dictionary

They tell you about the first steps. They tell you about the first day of kindergarten.  But the parenting books don’t tell you about the other moments that will slay you, make you want to grab hold of your child, wrap them in your arms and never let go.

They’re the little things.

The first time they call you “Mom” instead of “Mommy.” The first time they say “I do it myself.” The time you stand in front of their expansive bookshelf and you’re forced to clean out all the picture books because your child has moved on to chapter books.

See what I mean? You won’t find that in any baby book.

And yet, it took me hours of tearful review. Here is her copy of Goodnight Moon, which technically was my copy of Goodnight Moon. She searched for the same mouse that I had searched for two and a half decades before. That was definitely staying.

But what about that book that started the panda obsession, that sent us on vacation to the Atlanta Zoo specifically because they have real, live pandas? Is it a classic? Well, only in this house. That went in the “to keep” pile too.

It was a pile that had to be split again and again.

Could I give up the first book about mommies that she ever wanted to read back to me? Could I say goodbye to that one about the hamster we used to read every night?

It may be my personal obsession with the written word that made this thing so hard, but I can’t be the only one. The day they start painting the pictures in their own mind as they read white pages filled with black words is their entrance into a whole new world of imagination. It may not have the photography potential of their first steps, but it’s a leap in its own right, the steps onto a new adventure path.

It’s one of those moments as a parent when you’re lost. You’re supposed to be proud of your little reader, boasting to the other parents that YOUR kid is reading WAY above grade level.

Instead you sit in their bedroom, a huge hand-me-down box beside you waiting to be filled, weeping over an aged copy of Goodnight Moon.

So you take your comforts where you can. She’ll still let me hug her when I get like this … as long as I don’t squeeze too hard.

What milestones have just laid you out? 

Have you “liked” Inside Out Motherhood on Facebook yet?  

Speak Your Mind