Your child is born. Quick whats the apgar score!? And it begins. Is he/she normal? Quick count the toes, eyes, ears, tongues? Good not forked. Phew. And from that day on parents are all about checklists to measure the timely growth and development of our prodigals.  We are constantly eyeing other kids and wondering if ours are hanging with the herd. Sure the doctors offer up milestones at every visit to ensure us everything is on track and within range. Of course those lists start with the obvious, such as roll over, sit up, beg, and wipe their own badonkadonk.

Each checkmark reached has mom and dad fist bumping their parental superiority. Oh look, John! Princess is holding her own cup! And she’s a month ahead of the average. Maybe we should look into an early duel credit program at Yale?!

They ain’t seen nothing yet! As the chores of life stack up, we parents get less and less impressed by our kids natural abilities and begin to value more impressive feats. So you can hold a spoon and get those mashed bananas into your own mouth now, huh? Can you wash that spoon and get it in the right kitchen drawer before you lose your computer privledges for the day?

I am not so sure I agree with the American Pediatric Association’s decision to include “argumentative and independent thought” as a positive benchmark. But, as my own genetic experiments have matured, I have become aware of some major checkpoints they have neglected to mention.

So, for the exhausted moms who no longer find their children’s ability to dress themselves awe inspiring, I have compiled an accessory list of milestones for the adolescent who depends on overworked parents for food and a good internet connection.

Things All Kids Should Learn To Do for the Love of Wi-Fi

  1. Match Socks. Or at least get both the left and the right into the freaking hamper!  Did you get hungry and eat the other one just before you climbed into the shower? It didn’t just disappear. Fine.  You can just wear mismatched socks from now on. Start a fad. It can’t be worse than hammer pants. What are those, you ask?  Well, back in the 90’s…Never mind. You can’t touch this. Find your own sock.
  2. Order loud and clear at a restaurant. This has less to do with public speaking than one might think.  If you want to order the fried rice without the peas, carrots, onions, and little green leafy things, then you tell the waiter. I do not want them spitting in my Pad Thai. Besides, I’m not cooking tonight. Perhaps you should try your pouty face on the chef.
  3. Answer the phone in a foreign language. Repeat after me: “No comprendo.” If suddenly the telemarketer (who has interrupted our already derailed school day) switches to Spanish, be prepared to switch to Swahili: “Sielewi wewe.” Better yet, try out some of that Latin we have been slaving over.  After all, it is a dead language.  If they understand you, hang up! There has been a zombie apocalypse.
  4. Make Coffee. Simply put, your day has a good chance of heading in the right direction if you greet your mother with a steamy cup of coffee as she staggers out of bed to her full time job that pays zilch and deals with too many customer service complaints. If you see any stray socks stuck to the butt of her robe, be discreet pulling them off and returning them to your sock drawer.
  5. Look pitiful in front of a traffic cop.  Or at least pretend to need to throw-up! Children have been proven to hold the power of getting out of a traffic ticket. Use it! Start crying hysterically. Grab a ketchup packet from between the seats and pretend to bleed! You were the reason she was speeding anyway. She was either late getting you to another practice, or dinner is boiling over in the crockpot because the practice you’re coming from went overtime. Or maybe she is just in a hurry to get home and pour herself a glass of wine to carry around while she does another search and rescue mission for socks.
  6. Check for toilet paper before you sit. Lack of toilet paper is a personal problem.  Chances are, you were the one who ripped the last square from the empty roll last time you were in there. Howling like a wounded animal from behind a locked door for more paper is like nails on a chalkboard to your mother.  Yes, someone will bring you toilet paper, but you’ve canceled out the positive effect of the cup of coffee you brewed her this morning. Check for stray socks while you’re in there.
  7. When mom tells a little white lie, just go with it.  Don’t suddenly become the moral police, you little double-crosser! If I tell someone we were late because we stopped to help an old farmer wrangle his goats that were frolicking in the street, you add in how cute they were and how the farmer had crippling arthritis. Do not look at your mother with a furrowed brow and say, “No we weren’t! Mom just couldn’t get off her phone, then she couldn’t get our little brother to put his shoes on, and so then she got a speeding ticket on the way here.”
  8. Dial emergency numbers. Such as the Pizza Place up the road to ask for “the usual” when dinner is looking iffy because mom is up to her ears in…you guessed it….laundry full of mismatched socks. Or dial Dad-1-1. He can bring home milk, wine and chocolate. And then maybe mom won’t tell him you had a tantrum over making a 94 on your math. And you can have a bowl of Lucky Charms in the morning.
  9. Trim your own fingernails and toenails. Or, for the love of coolness, let someone know you’re cutting people up with your scissor kick in your lane at swim practice! I can cut them, but I need a reminder, Edward Scissor feet!  And if you can stab your meat before it walks off your plate with your pinky finger, it’s a definite probability that my mothering skills have been talked about at co-op. Help me out here.
  10. Enjoy the little things.  Like how toothpaste and soap magically appear in your bathroom. Appreciate the fact that your coach never hits you up for the monthly fees as you stretch before practice. Love the sight of towels and fresh sheets for you to put away. Because there really are no such thing as house elves. Love your momma, even when she calls you the wrong name and refuses to let you have a smartphone. And always treasure new socks.

In my experience checking off milestones, I have discovered that this list is hard to reach and even more difficult to maintain.  Never surrender! Wi-Fi is an unbelievable bargaining tool of the postmodern era. If they can create portals to other dimensions in cyberspace they can master socks.

Have you any milestone to add?  Let me know in the comments!

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