As the mum of a 16 month old toddler, I have been somewhat concerned that my little boy has yet to live up to his graduation from babyhood (it happens bang on 12 months, right?) and master the art of toddling. No one likes to think of their child as ‘The Last One’ to master a skill and, although my rational brain knows that he won’t be crawling into the classroom on his first day of school, my protective mama brain just wants him to mix it with his toddling contemporaries from playgroup.
Before becoming a parent, I had no idea why friends would get so excited when their baby a) rolled over, b) had a tooth eruption, c) uttered their first word (which to the untrained ear sounded more like Marmite than Mummy but I feigned excitement nonetheless), d) stood unaided or e) had a normal bowel movement after a bout of constipation – you get the idea. Surely these were just normal human milestones that warranted little more than a “Very good, dear, now let’s wipe that avocado from your crotch and baked beans from your hair”.
Oh no, no, no, no! How wrong could I be? Not only have these previously insignificant milestones morphed into the most significant achievements under our roof, but I now get their importance. You see, I’m convinced we’re hardwired to fear our child being ‘The Last One’, as a primal protective mechanism to ensure our offspring thrives. How many times have you heard about parents sacrificing everything to give their kids a fighting chance? I now realise that there is nothing more powerful than the instinct to protect your child and afford them the best opportunities in life.
I was thinking about how different we’d all feel if we turned this concept of ‘The Last One’ on its head and thought about some positive applications…
I would love my son to be ‘The Last One’ at schoolyard bullying.
‘The Last One’ at selfishness.
‘The Last One’ at drug taking.
‘The Last One’ at disrespect.
‘The Last One’ at not following his dreams.
Perhaps if I can learn to relax into the milestone aspect of this parenting gig, I’ll be ‘The Last One’ to lose sleep over it – and, as any new parent knows, you would sooner remortgage the house than lose precious sleep…
Sara lives in regional Victoria and works in communications in the environment sector. Her passions include her three boys – of the partner, son and canine variety – travelling far and wide, friends, music festivals and the arts. Sara rejects the guilt-inducing marketing targeted at young mums and prefers to try to be the best mum she can be by following her instinct and ditching the judgement.