Any parent will tell you that when their child gets to certain milestones in their development – first sleep through the whole night, first steps etc. - it’s big news for the family and brings out jealousy in the parents of others who haven’t quite got there yet. And you want to tell the world.
But equally, the child will only reach each of these milestones once, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t jump the gun. Exactly who are you trying to kid if you think that 9 in the evening to 4 in the morning counts as “all night” or letting go of the coffee table and taking half a stumbling pace forward before falling over* means “walking”? Don’t stress – they’ll get there.
Which brings me to the point of this post, my daughter’s first word. “Mama” and “Dada” don’t count and nor does that-noise-that-sounds-a-bit-like-”apple”-if-you-pretend-that-it-sounds-like-”apple”. Remember, you’re only fooling yourselves. And that’s why I have been waiting, anticipating what happened this morning so that I can note it down in her baby milestones book and then we can look back together in years to come and say “that was the day you said your first proper word”.
It occurred, for the record, in the kitchen at 7:48 this morning. Packed lunches were under construction for her dad and her brother and it was as I opened the fridge to get out the margarine, that little Kristen walked up and, gazing up at the shelves towering in front of her, pointed to the cheese and said, with amazing clarity:
I have to admit that this moment was one of the proudest of my life thus far. I was quite overcome. I rushed out of the kitchen to pass on the good news to Mrs 6000, so fast in fact, that I left the child by the open fridge (I later returned to find her chewing on some bacon).
If I’m completely honest, I was a little disappointed by my wife’s seeming lack of excitement at the momentous occasion. I thought she’d be over the moon, but instead, she just seemed a bit shocked. Perhaps she was overcome by the gravity of the moment as well. I’m sure she’s recovered now and is proudly telling all her colleagues and anyone who’ll listen that her daughter said “Feck!” this morning, just like I am.
I’m going to call my parents in the UK now. So proud.
* Just like Daddy does when he’s drunk.