Your Bragging Squad

Let’s face it, if you aren’t complaining about your kids, you are bragging about them. It is important to locate your best audience when your child does something monumental like uses the potty for the first time. Friends without kids won’t necessarily understand the need for the choreographed celebratory dance you and your husband have worked out and your friends with kids might have a son who just keeps missing the mark, literally. But have no fear, here are some never-fail allies that when your child jumps they will ask how high.

Their pediatrician

I’m never shy about sharing mini and major developmental milestones during our visits and always ask if I too can get a gold star when they are handing out stickers after shots.

Any and all members of your family

Grandparents, aunts, second cousins twice removed are your target audience to start a triumphant impromptu flash mob when your child has finally given up on a 6 day vegetable hunger strike.

Their sibling

I have found that my children’s biggest fans are each other. On more than one occasion I have caught Charlotte patting her sister on the back while saying, “Good job, Sissie.” Now if that’s not the greatest argument for a second child, I’m not sure how to convince you.

They say in life it is important to surround yourself with cheerleaders; people that build you and your family up. While your bragging squad may not always match your mommy-level of excitement over the first poop after four days of baby constipation, they will always nod along accordingly whenever you mention just how gifted your special children are.  

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The Toddler Dance

If there is one thing I hate more than anything it is the just you wait and see smug-mom look. This typically comes from moms whose babies are older than yours. I remember the first time I saw it. I had just joined my Mom’s Group and I naively asked what I had to look forward to. One mother quickly chimed in, offering advice and wisdom, as her toddler carefully sorted through grass and dirt and decided that the grass looked much more delicious. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that if I could go back in time, I’d definitely be the one giving myself that look. These days I have to ask, what in God’s name was so difficult about taking care of a baby? Let’s put the sleep deprivation aside for a moment and pretend that doesn’t exist (which is exactly how second babies are conceived). Babies cannot really do anything and they nap for over half of the day! 

Fast forward to full blown toddler-ville, where I don’t have to worry about Charlotte eating grass since she is terrified of it, but she did get stuck in the doggie door today, and she napped for a grand total of one hour and fifteen minutes.

Now, I obviously do know what was so hard about being the mother of a young baby. It was the lack of sleep, the baby's overwhelming dependency on you and the drastic life-altering reality that is new motherhood. With each stage there is a dance and no matter what, you will always feel like you’ve both arrived a few weeks late to the disco. Once you actually get into a groove, you are so gosh-darn proud you may even pat yourself on the back, just in time to watch ‘em hit a new milestone and oh so quickly, paradise is lost. Every stage has its challenges and rewards. I tend to look back and think that one had to be the toughest, then suddenly the dance changes and sure enough, I’m right back in the fetal position on the playroom floor, while Charlotte prances around me as we listen to the Raffi station on Pandora (visualize Max from Where the Wild Things Are). For all our missteps, the way my heart feels when Charlotte shares her joy with me, be it through books, songs, kisses, or her pure adoration of our dogs, it is absolutely worth it. So I can smugly say, with zero percent confidence, to all you moms whose babies are younger than mine, that the toddler dance is by far the hardest and most exhausting.

Me and my dance partner

Me and my dance partner

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