My baby, your milestones are precious to me
Recently I noticed my son diligently putting a diaper on his favorite stuffed dog and kissing it good night. I am told that this is an important milestone in his 23-month-old life since it shows that he has the ability to be caring and nurturing.
For someone who never fully understood all the baby milestones hoopla, when it came time for my own son to reach them, I unabashedly turned into a bundle of emotions more clichéd than an aisle full of Hallmark cards. For it was not that he walked or talked or smiled for the first time, but because I saw these moments as the first glimpse into the person he would one day go on to become in the future.
So as he celebrates his second birthday, I decided to tell him in a letter just why his firsts were so special to mommy.
My dearest Mikail,
The day you smiled your first smile was a little gray and overcast. Raindrops tapped a gentle rhythm against the living room window and we waltzed around to one of Kishore Kumar’s classic love songs. As we circled for the umpteenth time, your little face suddenly lit up with a smile that was all gums and joy. I was elated that a such a small moment had touched you and you understood the joy of simple things like rained out afternoons and dancing in pajamas.
Your first bite of solid food was preceded by weeks of deciding between options like bananas, and cereals, and rice and it all led to that single moment when I held the spoon in front of your face. I laughed at your skepticism and the suspicion with which you touched the very tip of your mouth to the mashed up treat I was offering you before devouring it. I knew then that my little boy was curious but cautious and will make informed decisions in life.
The first time you walked on your own was actually quite expected. You had been giving every indication that you were ready for many weeks. What was unexpected was the expression on your face when you took your first steps with your tiny baby feet. Your innocent face lit up with the sheer joy of experiencing independence and letting go of the adult finger that has followed you this far. You no longer needed to look outside yourself to indulge in your favorite activity; walking. You were self-reliant and were loving it.
The first haircut made me more than a little nervous because you fidgeted every second of your waking hours and would grab any object that is being used to groom you. But you got through it after reluctantly accepting a Thomas The Tank toy, layered ever so lightly with baby hair, a fact that mama stoically ignored, as a distraction. You scowled and showed your disapproval throughout but the haircut was completed without a scratch or a tantrum. I was so proud that you knew how to rise to the occasion when it was needed.
How can I forget the first kiss, planted squarely on my elbow so gently and carefully. It came after a session of being disciplined for throwing heavy objects and a tearful time-out. Still upset and crying, you came to me and tried to cuddle but were met with a rare refusal. Then you brought out the ultimate weapon, the kiss you had been abundantly bestowing on the teddy but withholding from me, and it worked. Your first manipulation was so adorable that I forgave you instantly.
Finally, there is the ongoing saga of your transition from the milk bottle to the cup. I was so sure that if I refused to succumb to the tantrums, the tears, the puppy dog eyes, and all such arsenal that transforms the disciplinarian inside me to a blubbering obliging mess, you would give in. But it is with frustration, and honestly a degree of pride that I watch you reject the cup every day as if to tell me that if you cannot have your beloved bottle there will be no negotiations and no milk.
I could almost swear that you are aware of the yogurt and cheese being used as milk substitutes and that is why you have chosen to boycott them too. You are standing up for what you believe in at the age of 23 months and forcing me to frantically research and evaluate bottle use beyond the age of two.
I am aware that I may be projecting completely inaccurate personality traits onto you and you may turn out to be none or only some of these things. In which case I hope you will forgive my flights of fancy and take these as the over enthusiastic musings of a loving mother. But I hope you know that no matter what and who you become I will always cherish and love you as my own unique little guy.
Happy second birthday my son.
With unconditional love,
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.