The First Time… – First firsts

standard September 23, 2008 6 responses

“She’s walking! She’s walking! She’s taking her first steps!” M calls to me from the kitchen the day before Little L’s 1st birthday. But I’m on the phone, and I barely bat an eye. Don’t judge me. I’m not a horrible mom. I promise. It’s just that over the last three years I’ve learned a thing or three about kids and their “firsts.”

On the fourth day C was at daycare she rolled over for the first time. I missed it because I was at work and it broke my heart when I heard the excited recounting of her big milestone. I felt like a terrible, no good, horrible mom for not being there to cheer her on. It was her first big “first” and I missed it. Except I didn’t. Not really. See? C didn’t roll over again for weeks. And I was there when she did it for the “first” time all over again.

In the last couple years I’ve witnessed and missed my fair share of “firsts,” “seconds,” and even “thirds.” My kids have both tried new skills and then left them alone for days or even weeks at a time. I’ve learned that missing a first isn’t the end of the world and that acquiring a new skill takes time and lots and lots of practice.

Even if I miss the very roll, or the very first clap, or even the very first step I know I’ll be there to see the next one, and with any luck I’ll have my camera in hand. Hey, come on! I told you I wasn’t a monster!

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6 responses

  • If it makes you a bad mom then I am too! Great perspective and oh so true. Glad to hear your little one is walking – I know it gets crazy when they start to walk but it really is fun!

  • Hi Jessica, this is Lisa, author of Writing Motherhood, we met in Burlingame, I believe, when I was on book tour. You raise such an interesting, philosophical question about what makes a first–when it happens or when we witness it. Either way, writing wakes us up to the moments that might otherwise go missed. Thanks for telling the truth.

  • So important to not get hyped up and filled with guilt. They take their own sweet time and trying to catch it all will drive you crazy!

  • Im right there with you! I loved it when they started to walk… the beinging of their independance, but yet still dependant!

  • Great post. And some firsts I miss, some I forget, which means they keep being firsts, right 🙂

  • Rebecca U.

    My mom ran an in-house daycare for years – the kids in her care never had their “first” at her house, even if they’d been walking etc for days at her house – she always waited for the parents to tell her the kid did whatever first. My mom is so cool!

    I suspect my mom pulled the same trick on me with my little one.

    Rebecca U.

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