Everyone knows that a child’s first few years are made up of a never ending string of huge accomplishments. First they roll over, then they sit. They crawl, then they stand, eventually they walk. They say their first words. Endless pictures and videos are taken.
In my opinion now, most of these moments are overrated. Lets face it, unless afflicted by some horrible physical abnormality, which can certainly happen, every child eventually stands up. Chasing Alaina down Old Orchard Beach at 14 months, I found myself somewhat jealous of the other families I was hurdling. How were they keeping their kids on the blanket?
She was a very early speaker, and I’m proud of Alaina’s advanced vocabulary, but is the ability to mimic sound really such a celebrated accomplishment? Other than when she’s sleeping, Alaina hasn’t stopped talking for over two years. The novelty has worn off a little.
I think the proudest moments come from the challenges that children consciously decide to conquer.
For a long time, Alaina couldn’t be bothered with potty training. Why should she stop what she was doing to get up and go to the bathroom? It’s not like we weren’t going to change her. There was no motivation until she understood that she wouldn’t be allowed to attend school or play soccer in a pull-up. Seemingly overnight she was going on her own.
This was something I was very proud of. There was a goal-oriented effort on her part to modify behavior. I didn’t take a picture of that first floating dooty, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted.
Her first night sleeping in a bed without bars. Brushing her own teeth, walking in a grocery store instead of being pushed in a carriage. I find all these “firsts” to hold much more meaning.
Maybe this is just the natural progression of things. Will her number recognition be less impressive when she solves her first algebra equation? Her rudimentary attempts at reading and writing forgotten when she starts working on homework? Probably. All I know is that for today, I’m going to take a picture of this etch-a- sketch and enjoy her pride in what she did.
And I still kind of wish I’d photographed that poop.