Everyone gets excited about the official milestones in their child's life. You know: first smile, first step, first word. Such achievements are uploaded to social media by proud parents, gushed about by grandparents and recorded by maternal health nurses.
But what about some of the other things kids learn? Sure, smiles and steps are lovely, but the first time your child makes you a cup of coffee is SO GOOD. Here is a list of under-appreciated milestones that perhaps deserve more acknowledgement.
1) The nocturnal hold-on
Something weird happens to babies after a few months -- they seem to understand that there is a difference between day and night, and then they magically stop pooing between dusk and dawn. A wee-soaked nappy at 2 am is much easier to cope with than the other kind.
2) The head hold-up
Once those neck muscles get all strong you can finally start doing the hip-hold with your baby, which allows a hand free for cooking omelettes, texting and grabbing the toddler just before he hits his head on the coffee table.
3) The sleeve push
Oh, the torture of getting a tiny arm into a tiny sleeve when the arm is just not at all cooperative. It is enormously helpful when your newborn realises that they can do their own little arm-push during the dressing process.
4) The bath sit
Bathing babies is downright awkward, especially that bit where you have to hold the head, neck and arm simultaneously. It's a slippery nightmare. And then one day your little person learns to sit up all by itself! I know, you still have to closely supervise wash-time for a few more years, but at least you don't have to get so wet.
5) The pain explain
Playing 'Guess the Illness' is no fun. At least when your toddler can finally tell you they have a tummy ache or a hurty ear you can attempt to do something about it.
6) The outfit select
When your child starts getting interested in fashion as a form of personal expression, you will have more time to sit and read the newspaper/scroll through Instagram/brush your teeth. However, don't expect the outfits to be weather appropriate or even socially appropriate.
7) The seatbelt fasten
This mostly means no more leaning into the car trying to GET THAT BLOODY BUCKLE IN as the rain comes down, soaking your back half.
8) The phone pick-up
Two bonuses here: firstly, cold callers get confused at the tiny "Hello?" that trails off into silence and secondly, if it's your mother-in-law you don't have to speak to her.
9) The light switch reach
When your child finally grows tall enough to flick a switch it means no-one will yell "I'm really busting can you please turn the bathroom light on right now please!" at the exact moment that the Bachelor is giving away his last rose.
10) The sibling snoop
It can be handy to have a police officer/private detective at your disposal. "Did your brother wear his coat at school today?" you can ask, if the brother is not overly trustworthy or particularly sensible. "And did he squeeze a lot of toothpaste directly onto the floor this morning?"
11) The time read
As soon as the big hand and the little hand make sense you can say goodbye to "When will we be there?" or "How long is 35 minutes?" This can also be useful before school: "Is it 8:30 yet?" you can call from the bathroom, wondering if you have time to put mascara on the second eye or not.
12) The breakfast make
It could be toast and peanut butter, or Weetbix and milk, or even just a peeled banana and three chocolate biscuits -- the menu is irrelevant. Once things can happen in the kitchen without parental supervision, you can stay under your doona for longer every morning, which is almost as good as having an actual sleep-in.
13) The party plan
As long as the budget doesn't blow out, and the guest list remains short, there is nothing to lose by allowing your child to do all party preparations. Oh, but make sure you put a round-cake-with-sprinkles stipulation in place, otherwise you could find yourself making tiny fondant foxes and marshmallow piglets at 3 am.
14) The coffee make
The day you award your child a Boiling Water license is THE BEST. Sit back, politely order your hot drink of choice then wait for it to arrive. And make the most of it, because either the novelty will wear off or your kid will read some article about exploitation and start demanding wages.
So, by all means, be excited the day your baby walks across the room to you, but don't forget that more obscure milestones might be worth celebrating too.