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Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Meaningful Milestones

I have a baby book for each of my children. As is the case with most families, each book is only half filled-in. Some of the blanks are going to remain blank permanently, like records of immunizations (we don't vaccinate). Others are pretty much pointless ("sleeps through the night?" Try age seven...or nine...or sixteen!). But then there are the other categories...the ones that I feel I should record, but upon more reflection, can't figure out why.

For example, our baby cut his first molar two days ago. Interestingly, his baby book only has blanks for the first eight teeth. After that, I assume, the magic is pretty much over. I remember wracking my brain with his brother, trying to remember to scribble it down on the calendar so I could transfer it to the book at a later date (i.e., when I actually located the book). Oh darn...did that tooth pop through on Sunday? Or was it Saturday? I remember my husband was home so it must have been a weekend. Then again, we just noticed it may have come through a day or so earlier and I may have not noticed it until the weekend because (refrain, please!) I am a horrible mother!!

Wait a minute. In thirty years, who the hell is going to care on what day he cut his first upper left molar? Huh? I'm betting not even me!

Yes, some "firsts" are worth recording. Especially (and I hesitate to say this, but it's true) with your first. The whole growth-and-development thing is a daily wonder. But in the grand scheme of our lives, which firsts are really the ones you want to remember?

First word? Yes.
First pair of shoes? I don't really get this one, but okay, I'll grant a little romanticism.
First time he lifted his head? Hm. Pretty exciting that day...but unless he turns out to be developmentally delayed, I can't see when this information would be useful to refer back to.

For me, it's the emotional development that means more. Not what their bodies are becoming, but who they are becoming. Things like:

First time Mommy left him with Grandma and he didn't cry when Mommy left.
First picture he drew.
First time he was able to be trusted to play outside without constant watching.
First time he made up and told a joke.
First time he read to himself without prompting.
First time he prepared a surprise for a loved one.
First time he got his heart broken.

Teeth, schmeeth.

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