There are some very strange little “firsts” that occur when you have a small child. Not the first steps, or the first time trying solid food, or anything obvious like that. Instead they are tiny calamities, the ones that occur with every single child at some point, and are rarely celebrated. You expect them, but you do not write in your baby book about them, often because you are too exasperated.
We have had a couple such moments this week. I knew they were coming eventually, so instead of stressing out, I merely chuckled, rolled my eyes, and shrugged my shoulders.
First, there was the “first object dropped into the toilet” moment. As I have mentioned previously, Simon has decided he is ready for potty training. As anyone who has had the pleasure of doing this knows, sometimes you are waiting in that bathroom for ages, waiting for your tiny person to do their business. So it was with hope of a good distraction to keep my little guy from growing impatient, that I said yes to bringing his toy car with him for the wait. Well, the poor car took a tumble downward, and thank goodness Simon was unsuccessful that time around, because we were able to retrieve and sanitize it. Jeramy and I did exchange a look of momentary panic, that turned into bemusement. As all the picture books illustrate, the child will explore the combination of gravity and the potty at some point.
Second, tonight, we had the “first scribbling on a surface that isn’t appropriate” moment. Honestly, I don’t know why we haven’t had that one before. I think we got quite far before hitting it. But tonight while I was making dinner and Jeramy was washing dishes, I lost all common sense and allowed Simon the use of his dry erase crayons with distracted parental supervision. Really, I was being quite naive, expecting him to write only on the whiteboard. So I laughed when I discovered the brightly colored scrawls all over part of the kitchen floor. Jeramy grabbed the camera to document this milestone, and I thought to myself what a good job Simon had done with his coloring, despite the unfortunate placement.
I propose that we parents, or friends and relatives of children, not overlook moments like these. They are a right of passage, not only for the child, but the caretaker as well. It is like a child rearing battle scar. Or perhaps a box on the things-that-will-happen-if-you-have-a-kid checklist. It gives you a sense of community when you know that the other parents out there are also scrubbing crayon off the walls, or fishing pennies out of their toddlers mouths.
So someday, probably soon, when Simon picks up a box or bag of something totally not child safe by the wrong end, spilling the contents all over the floor for us to find bits of for the next year, I will shake my head and laugh, knowing that it is something to check off that strange little milestone list.