10 “Firsts” for Children that Scare Parents to No End


My kids are the light and joy of my life. Okay, not really. I love them, and they are joyful and happy little things and they do make me happy. But they are not the light and joy of my life. They are so many things, but the light of my life is stretching it most days when I look at them as they’re screaming at one another, sticking things in places they do not belong and really making me question my sanity (I have none, by the way). So while I’ll call them a joy, I won’t call them the joy. Maybe I will when they are slightly older and less make-me-want-to-run-away-from-home-by-9-am.

One of the things that drives me craziest about my kids is their firsts. It seems as that just as one is old enough to stop having those ‘firsts’ that make you want to crawl up into a ball and cry until someone comes and takes you into a room with padded walls and a jacket that feels like a permanent hug, you have another baby and it starts all over. It almost makes me wonder what happened to our reasonable brain cells that would make us want to repeat these moments of terror. Kids have ‘firsts’ on a daily basis, and these are some of the moments in life in which I’ve never been more terrified.

The first breath

The single most terrifying moment in life; you are now a parent. You actually have a living, breathing human being that you have to care for, keep alive and love for the rest of your life. And somehow in between all the diapers and spit-up and bottles you’ll mix, you have to find a way to turn that tiny human into one that functions, behaves and gets along accordingly in life. Now that is terrifying – and the feeling never, ever goes away.

The first steps

It’s a moment we feel as if we are waiting impatiently to arrive, and then it happens. Suddenly our kids are moving freely about the cabin and there is no captain coming over the loudspeaker informing them that it’s fine to move when they have to get up and use the restroom but that they must sit down and obey the rules during the other moments of the day. You have a kid that walks, and things really do go downhill from there.

The first fall

Right after the first step comes the first fall. It might not happen right away. It might take a week or two weeks or even just an hour. Either way, though, it’s going to happen and it’s going to terrify you. Blood, screaming, do you rush to the emergency room or is this all in your heads??

The first facial wound

This is The. Worst. Moment. In. Parenting. History. The first time your child falls and you look down only to realize that there is something really wrong – blood. Everywhere. It won’t stop. The skin on his or her forehead is gaping open and you, someone who has never been in the medical field in any instance, can see that baby needs at least 4 stitches to close that back up. And the scar; it will scar. First and foremost, I get it. It’s happened here several times. But head wounds bleed forever, and they’re usually nowhere near as bad as they seem.

The first high fever

If you’re anything like me, a slight temperature equals a shot of something child-friendly and pink and orders to march a behind right back to bed or the couch or wherever he or she can lie down and rest. Sick kids are not happening on my watch. And then there is that moment that warm feels hot. And hot means busting out the thermometer and actually taking a look at his or her temp. 104??? That can’t be right. You do it again. The same. That’s too high. What do you do? You panic, obviously. Then you call the pediatrician, and then you realize it is 2 am and you call the ER and they tell you what to do. This moment can end a thousand different ways, and panic is all that occurs.

The first call from school

“Mrs. Johnny’s mom? We don’t mean to alarm you, but…” and that’s when you panic. Your child just had his or her first accident away from you, and you are not there. You are powerless. You want to rush to the school, grab him and never let him go. Sometimes it’s a broken bone, a fight, a high fever; sometimes it’s the school nurse with nothing better to do than call and tell you that your daughter cut her finger on a piece of paper at her desk and came up to her office for a band-aid and she just ‘wanted to let you know,’ yet what you then want to ‘let her know’ is considered “Inappropriate” and “rude.”

The first time your child chokes

I say the first because it will happen regularly. It’s happened to us with each of our four kids. Our oldest choked on a piece of her cookie from the supermarket when she was about 3 and she was in the back seat of the car and I was driving home. And then I wasn’t; I was on the side of the road pounding her on the back and holding her virtually upside down trying to dislodge that thing from her throat. Or the time we were all sitting around our dining room table a few weeks ago and our 18-month-old twin daughter choked on a raisin and when we looked at her she was purple and we panicked. We got it out, and she was just fine; but those moments. Oh my goodness.

The first time your child hates you

It’s horrible, scary and one of the worst moments of your life. The good news with this one is this; if your kids ‘hate’ you or if you are ‘the meanest mommy ever’ at any point in their lives, you’re doing something right. Parents that never hear this are probably pushovers who will end up with kids that walk all over them and can’t take care of themselves as adults.

First sleepover

There’s a tiny part of you that waited so long for this moment. Freedom. And then it happens. Your kid is away at a sleepover, even if it’s just at Grandma and Grandpa’s and you are a mess. A horrified mess. You are making them call you when they arrive, when they go to bed, when they wake up, after bath time, every 15 minutes on the quarter hour. Get over it; they’ll be fine and you need to enjoy this moment.

First time behind the wheel

You taught him to drive. You’ve instilled the rules, and yet you panic and worry when he drives off. Maybe not because you are afraid of his driving, but because you are afraid of everyone else’s driving. Either way; your baby just drove off in a car and you are not with him to make sure he’s safe. Sorry, but according to all parents I know with kids old enough to drive, this fear never goes away.

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