The Myth of Firsts- Friday March 22th

I had a lot of anxiety about missing all of Hazel’s “firsts” while I was at work.  It’s one of the many parenting misconceptions I got from watch TV and movies, and I was shocked to realize I had again been misled.

At first when I would see Hazel start to learn something new, I would become consumed with figuring out how to orchestrate it so I was there when she made her achievements. But while I was obsessing, I noticed that what I thought would be gigantic developmental milestones actually unfurled slowly.  A whole long process was made out of the art of crawling.  She spent days perfecting rocking back and forth on all fours.  I think it was two weeks before she was really motoring around the house, chasing the dog and laughing hysterically.

When Hazel first stood up on her own and looked around the room proudly, I thought I would faint with pride and love and fear.  My little hot potato was going to walk, and I was going to miss it.  After her first birthday party, I enlisted my Dad to stand two steps away and catch Hazel when I stood her up and launched her towards him.  ”She took a step!” I screamed and made a mental note of the date and time and that I was there, not at my desk in my office.

But the real walking happened in bits and pieces.  She would progress, then regress.  She would be reckless then cautious.  She wanted to hold our hand a lot to keep her balance so she could move faster.  Tom and I watched and applauded and took pictures and slapped each other on the back and in the midst of it all our baby because a little girl.  Just like that.

Obviously, this shattered myth makes me wonder about so many things I’ve avoided.  Swimming after eating, crossing my eyes while getting hit on the back of the head, riding my bike while I have my period, drinking alcohol while taking medication.

I think the one thing I’ve learned about being a parent is to have no expectations- not of yourself or your child or your spouse.  My family is our own little entity, and we are learning to function in our own way.  TV is great for so many things, but failed at predicting what it would be like to watch new people experience life (no offense TV, you know we’re cool right?).


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