The long and winding road that is parenting is littered with amazing signposts – moments that will make you weep, and ones that will make you smile. From tear-inducing firsts to significant events, these are the landmark moments of childhood that you have to look forward to as a parent.
It’s the day that so many dreams are realised. Their little lungs fill with air, the sound of their cries fill our hearts and nothing will ever be the same. You’re a mum. To one little being, you are the centre of the universe. It’s a brave new world, the beginning of the steepest learning curve of your life.
2. Milk-drunk smile
Keep a watchful eye when your newborn is on a post-milk high, and you’ll likely catch their first dreamy smile. These are like little nuggets of gold – fleeting, precious moments that give you the first glimpse into just how adorable your baby will be when they actually do start smiling at you!
3. First real smile
At around the six week mark, your baby will start smiling at you – be prepared for your heart to swell! While you’ve been drinking in the long gazes when your eyes are locked, usually during a feed, this will be the first time your bub actually connects with you on an emotional level. That gummy smile is like nothing else.
4. First giggle
If only someone could work out how to bottle a baby’s giggle – what a sweet elixir it would be! Usually a little tickle will be enough to induce a belly laugh, but you will find that babies have a pretty random sense of humour. Something completely mundane and everyday, like ripping up a piece of paper, can induce the most raucous laughter.
5. First word
Whether it’s ‘mum’ or ‘dad’, that first word will be like sugar-coated music to your ears. At first, you’ll probably think they fluked it, but eventually they will let you know they are quite aware of what they’re saying (you’ll find they just adore saying ‘mum’ repeatedly well into childhood!).
6. First tooth
While gummy grins are super cute, just wait until those first chompers arrive! Those snaggletoothed smiles are a childhood rite of passage – they’ll be saying ‘cheeeeese’ every time you pull out the camera.
7. First steps
Akin to man walking on the moon, never have a couple of wobbly steps been more highly anticipated! Those chunky little legs, gingerly loping forward as their little arms outstretch, anticipating a fall. Eventually you’ll struggle to remember a time when they weren’t literally running amok, so soak up these first precious pitter patters.
8. First night in a big bed
Once upon a time, your newborn was swamped by their cot. They looked so tiny in that big space. Now, they’re trying everything they can to escape, and along comes one of those childhood milestones that gives your heart a bit of a squeeze. There they are, all tucked up in a big bed – and again they seem so small. Soon they’ll discover the freedom that comes with a bed, and so will begin the night time back-to-bed boogie…
9. Grandparent sleepovers
These will probably be the first time you’re away from your little one, and whether they’re still a baby, a toddler or pre-schooler, it’s a momentous occasion. Even though they will be with their beloved nan and pop, it still feels like your heart is very much missing for the night. And of course, the grandparents will be making a whole new bunch of memories, and indulging in a few ‘firsts’ of their own!
10. First day of preschool
This is a big one. This is the day that your baby, your heart and soul, takes a step into the wild world. As they pose for that all-important first day photo, their little bellies will be a bundle of nerves.
You won’t know what they’re doing. You won’t be in control of how much they eat, of making sure that they share. You’ll question whether you’ve done enough to prepare them. It will feel like one of the longest days of your life. As the clock ticks down to pick-up time, your heart will leap a little – anticipating huge hugs and sloppy kisses. And then you have to do it all again tomorrow.
11. First day of school
If you think preschool was an emotional rollercoaster, be prepared for an even bigger ride – school. They’re about to enter the best years of their childhood – where they’ll make lifelong friends, accidentally call their teacher ‘mum’, whinge about homework and blossom into amazing little beings. All of this is rolled up into one powerful moment as you watch them head off into their classroom. There may be tears from both of you – and that’s ok. Your baby is no longer for a slab of the day, and it hurts. But it also means you’ve done an amazing job preparing them for what’s to come.
12. First award
Whether it be for school or sport, the first time you hear your child’s name called out to receive an award is quite the pat-on-the-back moment. They stand, proud as punch, with their certificate or medal proclaiming what an ace little human they are, and you can rest assured you’ve played a big part in that.
13. First lost tooth
It seems like just yesterday that they first got their tiny pearly whites, and now they’re falling out! The magical visit from the tooth fairy is a good distraction, as you wonder just how on earth you have a child who is getting adult teeth. In the blink of an eye, your helpless little newborn grew into a beautiful child.
With life being so busy, it’s easy to let these milestone moments pass us by. How many of us actually print out our attempts at newborn photography from our phones? There’s a really easy way to press pause on the moments that matter as your child grows – let the professionals do it for you. From the first sleepy, milky smiles to those gap-toothed grins, there’s nothing quite like a professional portrait.
(This is a sponsored post for Pitter Patter Portraits)