Diary of a Dad: Week 10 - Milestonesby Adam Riches
Milestones are strange things. You look forward to your baby doing something and once the box is ticked, you sort of jump onto the next thing. It isn’t intentional, but before you realise it, your baby has gone from a swaddled little cuddle monster to a fully-fledged Tasmanian Devil.
Parenting a newborn leaves you in a strange haze. I think something that I have really noticed is that you are sometimes wishing time away...that sounds flippant, let me explain. You’re not sleeping and you just say to yourself, “It’s just a regression, they’ll be sleeping in a few weeks,” and before you know it, it’s been a few months. When you have a baby, it feels like you blink and they change.
In the last few weeks, our little boy has started to really move. I’m not talking walking and crawling obviously (I’m not being that annoying parent who says how their baby is SO ADVANCED) I just mean wriggling about and rolling over. I’m trying so hard this time round to embrace these little changes and not to get too caught up in the what’s next attitude I feel I had with our first little boy.
Milestones are really personal and in a world where we are obsessed with “capturing every moment” through a lens, it can be easy to forget that experiencing a milestone with your baby is a pretty magical thing (not being soft) and actually engaging with what is happening instead of trying to get it for Instagram is so important.
It’s sad sometimes when you baby starts to do something new because you know they aren’t going back to how they were before. It always amazes me how short that really, really newborn stage is. The speed at which babies grow is mad, and already after 4 or 5 months, having a newborn seems like a distant memory. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to hold one all over again. What they say is true, it is like riding a bike, but still, it’s crazy how quickly you forget.
My favourite development so far has to be the smile. I’m a fan of movement obviously (who isn’t - it’s well exciting after they’ve just been feeding and shitting for months) but the smile is the big one for me. When I get home from work, or if I’ve been away from the baby and he hears my voice, his face breaks into a massive smile and he starts laughing. If I could bottle that, I’d live the rest of my life a happy man...but I know the reality is that it isn’t going to be forever.
One thing I haven’t missed so much is the milestone racers. One of the advantages to lockdown is that I haven’t had to be around annoying parents at groups who constantly compare their child’s physical and cognitive development to my little one’s. Honestly, the Karen’s who harp on about what their babies can do just have no idea. It shouldn’t, but it sometimes makes you question if your baby should be doing something that they aren’t. Although the baby has missed out on the groups, I haven’t missed out on having to roll my eyes at others, every cloud and all that.
Milestones are epic and with babies they just keep coming. Even with our toddler, he can do new things on a daily basis. It is one of the most rewarding things about being a parent; the privilege of watching their little minds and bodies grow. Priceless.