Posted by: laughs4dads | November 17, 2010

The First Step -or- “Honey, Have You Seen Casey?”

Parents are not very smart people.  This should be obvious, since, if they had even the smallest capacity for rational thought, they wouldn’t be parents in the first place.

One of the stupid things parents do is to sit around waiting anxiously for each stage in the baby’s development.  I remember watching Casey slither around the living room like a humanoid worm. I’d say, “When is she going to start crawling?  Shouldn’t she have started already?” 

No parent wants to miss these earth-shattering developments.  After all, there will never be another first word or first step.  It would have been an absolute disaster if I had not been there to witness that first tentative placement of one foot in front of the other and the subsequent collapse.

The big problem is that the thrill of each milestone is rapidly diminished by the mastery of said development.  What parent, a few months after the first step, has not found him or herself longing for the good old days when baby would stay right where you left her?

Sure, it was boring watching a being that was, essentially, like a turtle on its back.  But you had all the reliability of an inanimate object; once you put it down, you knew it would still be there later.

But was that good enough for you?  No.  You couldn’t wait for the kid to start crawling.  So, now, when you put the kid down, she was headed for the staircase as soon as you turned your back.  Remember?  You had to put one of those gates up in front of the stairs and you pulled a hamstring muscle trying to step over it.

And you still weren’t satisfied.  Even as you were nailing shut all the closet doors, you were keeping an eye out for the moment when she grabbed onto something and struggled to her feet.  Then you had to move everything in your house so that it was a minimum of five feet off the ground. 

And you wanted even more punishment.  While you were busy suspending your fireplace tools from the ceiling, you found yourself aching for the day when your child would take her first unaided step.  Soon she was walking and running and falling all over the place, and you were chasing her, and even as you tried to catch your breath, you were thinking, “Gee, she’s gonna start talking any day now.”

And she did.  “Mommy,” she said.  And “daddy.”  And each word was soooooo cute.  People would come to visit, and you’d have her perform.  “Say ‘please’,” you’d order, and one out of ten times she might actually do it on cue, instead of ten hours later when your guest had gone home.

Boy, did her vocabulary increase.  And even as your head was exploding from “MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE!” you couldn’t wait until she starting forming sentences and you could have a conversation with her.

And that wasn’t far away.  Except they were very one-sided conversations that usually started, “Daddy, I want…”

After that there will be the first day of school, the first of many awful school plays, the first ear-shattering band recital, the first date, the first trip away from home, the first drug arrest, the first job, the first wedding, the first grandchild, the first divorce, the first…

Anyway, whatever stage your child is in, don’t be in such a hurry for the next one. Because when it happens, you’ll find yourself thinking things like “I can’t even remember what life was like before she started talking.  Where does the time go?”

Like I said, parents are not very smart people.

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