Realistic Milestones… the first year!

On the tenth of each month I receive an email from an app that I signed up for when Ted was born. Each one begins with the phrase ‘Congratulations! Ted is now 22 months old’ and then outlines a number of the milestones he should have hit for his age. For example, ‘Ted is now 3 months old… he should be beginning to hold his own head up, be juggling small objects and know up to 10 words in Mandarin, Japanese and Latin!’

These emails generally irritate me or serve as a guide on all the things you are failing at as a parent! So I’ve generated a more realistic set of milestones that you and your child stand a chance of actually achieving…

Congratulations! Your child is 1 month old! You have now survived one twelfth of a year on less sleep than you ever thought humanly possible! As you lay awake at night, you will notice that your baby has already learnt the hilarious prank of holding their breath in their sleep to trick you into thinking they have stopped breathing; This is nature’s entertaining way of preparing you for the lifetime of worry and anxiety that lay ahead of you now you are a parent! On a personal note, towards the end of the month you may finally have managed to brush your hair AND teeth in the same day!!

2 months…

You may notice that your child is beginning to sleep for longer periods of time… but only if laid upright on your chest! The second you lay them flat in a cot they will scream blue murder!! Your child has also developed and mastered their ‘mummy or daddy are about to eat something’ radar and will kick off at alarming volumes the second you pick up a fork!!

Congratulations! You have successfully kept another human alive for 3 months! By this point you should have experienced your first ‘poo in the bath’ situation and, if raising a boy child, a nappy change is likely to have led to taking a direct urine hit to the eye! By now, you are probably so tired that you have accidentally sprayed Mr Muscle bathroom cleaner under your arms instead of deodorant!

4 months…

You’ll be pleased to know that your baby is likely to be sleeping in much more settled patterns and for longer periods of time… until now! Hello 4 month sleep regression- goodbye sanity!! And if that wasn’t enough to push you over the edge, you will also notice that the thick and glossy hair that you admired longingly during your pregnancy is dropping out at such an alarming rate, it’s probably prompting you to consider whether you can pull off the same look as Sinead O’Connor in the ‘nothing compares to you’ video!

5 months…

You may be starting to feel like you’ve finally got the hang of things… don’t worry, that’s all about to change as your baby is probably about to start rolling and moving around in various forms! Your house no longer exists under the height of 2 foot as you begin the process of ‘baby proofing’. Having previously believed that you lived in a safe and happy home, you will now see every edge and surface as a mortal peril and wonder what you were thinking of bringing a baby into such a terrifyingly dangerous hell pit of hazards!!

6 months…

You have now been a parent for half a year! Yay you! At around this time, your child is likely to start the teething process… it starts now and carries on for the next eleventy trillion billion years!! Some babies may cut their first teeth with very little fuss; look out for these babies and studiously avoid being friends with their parents- it is likely these babies sleep all night, ‘self soothe’ and actually can play the flute, viola and harp at 5 months. More likely symptoms of teething include dribbling, a temperature, snotty nose and generally turning your adorable and loving child in to the possessed spawn of Satan who is permanently velcroed to your hip! Godspeed!!

7 months…

Your child will probably have started the weaning process and you will now spend approximately half your waking life cleaning sweet potato mush off every surface of your home, your child and your hair! From this point forward, you will never leave the house clean again. The more advanced baby will learn that the best and most effective way of spreading and distributing the various forms of orange mush is the ‘fill up the mouth and blow a prolonged raspberry’ technique which they will deploy at will, probably when you’re in a rush and need to leave the house.

8 months…

Congratulations! You now have a thrower! Your child can now launch things with the accuracy and power of an Olympic shot putter on steroids! They will start with small items but will gradually work up to larger things and will be particularly proud of lobbing anything ‘containing’ stuff which can cause excessive mess. Bowls containing bright orange mush, fingers of cheese spread sandwiches and soup are generally considered excellent throwing material. As are expensive items which cause mummy and daddy to shout ‘arggghhhhh’ as they make that pleasant plinky plonky shattering sound!!

9 Months…

Your child will now be developing an intense curiosity and be starting to explore the world. You will probably be spending huge amounts of your income on baby toys which develop their little minds in a variety of different ways… don’t bother! They will find their own fun in the form of eating broken glass, licking plug sockets and getting crap in and out of your kitchen cupboards! It is around this time when they are likely to accrue their first injury, probably from pulling a pile of pans down on their head during some of their ‘curious exploring’. Rest assured that they will recover from the said injury faster than you can say ‘calpol’ but you will notice the tiny bruise/cut/graze for the duration of its existence, seeing it as a beacon of your neglect and bad parenting and constantly be looking over your shoulder to see if Social Services are onto you yet!

10 months…

At around this time, your baby may begin to crawl. This process starts as what can only be described at ‘dry humping’ the carpet, rocking backwards and forwards on all fours! If this is your first child, you are likely to be placing enticing objects just out of their reach to encourage their crawling endeavours! If this is your second or third born, you are more likely to be super gluing rubber patches to their knees to create more friction and make the whole crawling business as tricky and preventable as possible.

11 months…

Your baby is now starting to understand simple instructions, such as ‘no’. However, just because they understand the instruction does not mean they will follow it! ‘No’ is generally interpreted as ‘put MORE toilet rolls down the toilet’, ‘CONTINUE drawing on the dog!’ and ‘please throw more yoghurt at me!’

12 months…

Wooo hooo!! You have survived the first year of parenting!! You may have come close to murdering the delivery man from amazon when he rang the doorbell five minutes after you’d finally got them to sleep! You may have inadvertently put E45 on your toothbrush and your car keys in the fridge due to sleep deprivation and residual baby brain! You are probably looking round your house and wondering how you missed the stealth invasion of your home by brightly coloured plastic! But you have made an actual human being AND prevented them from killing themselves, despite their best intentions, and that deserves a bloody large glass of wine!!!

Now buckle your seatbelts- now they can move, talk and have opinions- the next year is going to be a hell of a ride!!

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