With every passing day, it seems the twins acquire some new skill. Each time, I celebrate it. I try to catch the big ones on video if I can, sharing them proudly with friends and family. Rolling over is a recent milestone, which means crawling is just around the corner. But the twins aren’t the only ones with new skills. My husband and I are learning too, and as each parenting milestone passes we become more parents and less…well, whatever we were before. I am struggling to find the word for, “people who slept in a lot.”
There’s quite a few examples of messy parenting milestones. Like the first time a baby pukes on you. The first time dealing with an explosive poop is memorable. My first time with this, a twin pooped while I was giving her a bath. My husband says I froze like I had just seen a ghost, not knowing what to do. It’s true. What do you do when the place you’d put your kid to clean them up is now filthy? Since then bathtime has been my husband’s territory.
The mess goes both ways though. One time, I slopped some poutine onto my baby’s onesie, leaving a large gravy stain. It won’t be the last time that happens, I’m sure, though I do try to put a napkin over the baby now while eating.
Then as reality sets-in, another variety of milestone emerges. These include things like not being able to go somewhere, or having to cancel plans on account of the kids. Eating bleary-eyed in the basement at ten o’clock at night because bedtime ended up taking four hours (and the thought of waking up the baby is too dramatic to risk eating anywhere near them). Realizing you haven’t showered since…what day is it?
A phase of acceptance is next. The milestones that make you truly come to terms with how much your life has changed. Realizing that a quiet weekend at home with the babies is actually pretty nice. Feeling like it’s been a long and productive day at 11 am. A simple trip out for lunch, without any crying becomes an achievement. Saying 6 pm is too late to meet up with friends because your babies will be cranky and tired by then.
Certain milestones begin to make all of the hard days worthwhile. The first time my husband made a baby laugh was one of the greatest days we’ve had so far. Her giggles crackled through the air like sparklers and the weight of a thousand midnight hours lifted. Finally getting time alone, followed by missing the babies and looking forward to coming home, was definitely a turning point for me.
With only a few months under our belts, we’ve still got a lot to learn and certainly some of the upcoming milestones will transform us even more. I’m dreading the first time I forget to restock the diapers in the travel bag. I’ll probably laugh to myself the first time I say “because I said so.” I’m not sure how I’ll feel the first time I’m referred to as “Dottie and Oli’s Mom” rather than by my name.
Though these parenting milestones are a mixed bag of joy and frustration, I’m hopeful I can find a way to celebrate each of them. I don’t think I’ll be capturing them on video, but perhaps I’ll find a way to honour them with the same enthusiasm I had for the twins’ first successful roll-overs.