5 great unmilestones
What's an unmilestone, you might ask. You've heard of the various milestones that your child will achieve at one point or another while they are getting older and more capable (every day, it seems, like another one ... they grow up soo fast!). Unmilestones are those less-celebrated-but-no-less-unappreciated skills your child will achieve and you will notice. And greatly appreciate. Sure, when they pull up and start toddling, it's very cute. But these big 5? These are pretty great, too.
1. When everyone can wipe their own hind end. This is a GREAT day. You have been freed from your binds to the bathroom whenever a little person goes in and uses it. You can leave the door open, sure, to make certain there are no mishaps (small rear, large toilet, possible dunking, etc), but you no longer need to be there to entertain and clean. It’s a good day.
2. When your child realizes the difference between ‘loving someone’ and ‘liking someone’ and tells you that he loves you AND he likes you.
3. When your child realizes they love to read and can spend time reading on their own. Our eldest is a book fanatic, and his favorite place in school is the library (well, maybe the field and playground first, and then the library). He can sit and fall into a story for literally hours. We ask ourselves if we should check into the books he’s reading, maybe read one along with him, but he whips through them so fast, there isn’t time in the day to keep up (not and still accomplish all that a mom must, at any rate). Also an excellent boon for air travel because no longer am I on entertainment-duty when airborne. Give him a book -- the bigger, the better -- and he is happy. Thankfully, his two brothers are following his examples.
4. When you realize that your child is indeed safe in the water and you no longer have to be within arm’s length of their person while in the pool or at the beach. This is the point where you know that your time sitting on the damp sidelines during swimming lessons has paid off. Now your real playtime can begin. Horseplay and big-time splashfests? Bring ‘em on. Family water football? Oh, yes. Fun at the pool can officially commence. It’s hard to relax previous to this skill mastery because you always have to be on guard. Now, though, everyone can have fun, and no one within splash range is safe.
5. When your child comes up to you while preparing a meal and offers to help-- with no begging or grouching on your part. Of their own free will, they want to be with you in the kitchen because a) they are interested in what’s going on in the kitchen, and B) because they want to spend time with you. I know, wow, right? Note: If your child is too short, get a stool. Embrace this enthusiasm because the more they are involved in meal creation, the more open they will be to all sorts of veggies and 'weird' foods. Start with learning how to prepare simple meals, do small tasks and help with big ones … this is how we learn the basics of cooking, right? The more basics they learn, the better they will be at it. And when you get to spend some quality time together, that’s all the better. My boys love to help cook and bake. They love to have a say in what we’re adding to the dishes or cookies. In fact, the four of us just 'created' our own sugar cookie recipe that they were most impressed with (and it was whole grain, too!). They’ve realized that it’s so much fun to create something tasty in the kitchen, and this is a great way to get the kids who are a little leery of new foods to try things they might not otherwise. I got my kids to eat salsify, kale chips and various tofu dishes this way; trust me, it works.
These aren't small things. These unmilestones are monumentous, especially when you consider that each one gives you a little bit of freedom (in a good way), and gives your kids a little bit of independence.