When I took on the best job of being a new mom, I hadn’t realized I had also hired myself for another job: baby paparazzo. In a baby’s first year, there are so many developmental baby milestones and heart-melting moments to be captured; a camera should be glued to a new mom’s hand. These milestones and memories, both major and more personal, were some of my favorites:
Smiling: When my daughter was a newborn, there were fleeting moments of a smile, typically preceded by a rumbling bottom. It was about 10 days before her 2-month “birthday” that sitting on my lap, with a big smile on my face trying to encourage her to do the same -- she followed suit and smiled at me. Cue: heart explosion.
Laughing: I wish I could say my new baby’s first laugh was caused by my outstanding sense of humor, but it was her grandfather who takes the prize. After hearing the sound of his laughter, my daughter made some giggles of her own.
Discovering hands and feet: Around the 4-month mark, while lying down, my baby slowly started bringing her hands together and examining them in front of her face. Two weeks later, she found her feet, which led to constant sock removal. The discovery of both is a picture worth taking.
Sitting up/playing by herself: At about 5 months old, while holding my daughter up in a sitting position, I slowly let go. She stayed upright, hunched over in tripod position. A few days later, I wanted to see if she could use this new talent to play by herself, and she was successful. I put a musical piano in front of her, and she pushed the keys (still hunched over), showing one of her first signs of independence. I had to snap that!
Eating solids: My daughter tried her first taste of gourmet rice cereal at 5 months. While most of it ended up on her bib, there is little that is cuter than a tiny face full of mush.
Cruising and pulling up: Around the 8-month mark, my daughter showed the first sign of wanting to walk, when she held onto her toy chest and pulled herself up to a stand. A week later, with the help of her activity table, she began slowly moving her feet -- only walking to her left. Eventually, she learned to walk right, and before I knew it, she would be across the room in a second.
Crawling: My baby was cruising like a rock star before she showed any interest in crawling. She would mostly lie on her belly, kicking her legs and arms like a frog swimming, while we placed her favorite toys just a bit out-of-reach. It wasn’t until she turned 11 months -- and a mere 2 weeks before she learned to walk -- that she decided to become mobile and crawl.
Waving: Hearing the song, "Open Shut Them," in a music class helped my daughter practice opening and closing her hands. At 10 months, she used that skill to do the motion in response to “bye bye” and “hi,” communicating her ever-increasing friendliness.
Clapping: Around 8 months, my daughter’s claps consisted of fist-bumping herself. We clapped and celebrated seemingly everything she did, so she learned pretty quickly through imitation. She began clapping for everything she did, particularly in response to “yay” and “hooray.” There is nothing like patting yourself on the back.
Walking: My daughter cruised for months before taking her first steps, but once she got it on her own, she took off and hasn’t stopped since! It took the comfort of seeing her parents across from each other, knowing we would be there to catch her when she fell.