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Baby's first-year bucket list

baby-playThings I was annoyed by while pregnant: throwing up everything I ate, waiting 45 minutes to see my time-challenged gyno, my newly acquired cankles, and my husband saying that we were having a baby. (Um, did you gain 45 pounds and will you be pushing a head out of your vagina? I think not.) But maybe most of all? Those guilt-inducing, neverending lists.

You know, the ones that run down every last thing you’re supposed to do before even getting pregnant in the first place. Oh, I should have traveled, eaten at fancy restaurants and slept in as long as possible? Thanks for that. Or the what to expect while you’re expecting list. Spoiler alert: nothing good. Or the exhaustive catalog of everything you need to do to get ready for baby. Sorry, but I’m too busy puking and making bets with myself on when my OB will finally greet me in the exam room. And my personal favorite: the 90-item hospital bag checklist. Because what brand-spanking-new mom would be caught dead without her favorite shade of lipstick, hair dryer and cute nightgown?

But after having my daughter, those annoying lists disappeared. So I decided to—what else?—make a list of my own, chronicling all the good (and bad) I experienced during year one of parenthood.

So, here are a few things you have to look forward to before baby’s first birthday rolls around; check them off at your leisure (or curse me for giving you one more thing to do).

1) Listening to adorable, incoherent babbling
After this she’ll start learning language like “no,” “yuck,” and other words we can’t print. Enjoy the quasi-mute period while it lasts. Fifteen minutes of solid wailing is still preferable to “Mommy, why’s your tummy so jiggly?”

2) Smiling back at toothless grins
You’ll never again see such a gummy smile. Unless she plays hockey, in which case that toothless grin is going to cost you a fortune.

3) Witnessing baby’s first public meltdown
The beauty of these innocent, faultless creatures is their pure, unfiltered expression of emotion. The horror of these innocent, faultless creatures is their pure, unfiltered expression of emotion.

4) Experiencing your first public meltdown
Mine happened in the mall parking lot while trying to fold up my godforsaken stroller. There was swearing, crying and kicking of inanimate objects. Sleep deprivation is real, people.

5) Discovering silly antics that make baby happy
Thanks to one too many “America’s Next Top Model” marathons, I’d screech, “Booty tooch!” whenever I was trying to get my daughter to smile for photos. Whatever the secret to making your baby giggle, it feels like cracking a really cute baby code.

6) Being new and exciting to baby
This, as opposed to being embarrassing and boring to your preteen. Enjoy being captivating while you can.

7) Having a co-pilot
Whether it’s a baseball game, camping or the semiannual sale at Victoria’s Secret, taking your baby along makes everything more memorable.

8) Sleeping through the night
Up until 2009, sleep deprivation was a standard form of torture used by U.S. military expert interrogators when trying to break down enemies. Then someone had a newborn and realized that it was cruel and unusual punishment. (At least that’s my theory.)

9) Capturing that tiny tush on camera
Is there anything cuter than baby buns? Get your fill of pics now before it becomes, well, really, really skeevy.

10) Surviving the first accident
My husband dropped our daughter on a concrete patio. A friend’s baby rolled off their kitchen table onto a hard tile floor. Another friend slipped and fell on ice while holding her newborn. All kids emerged unscathed. It’s scary, but it’s also reassuring to know that these little guys are hardier than we give them credit for.

11) Introducing solids
Let them eat cake! Or anything that doesn’t involve sucking sustenance from your body. I was grateful that I was able to breastfeed my daughter, but I was also ready to not feel the pressure of being her sole source of nutrients. Her first taste of rice cereal meant my first (in a long time) taste of wine.

12) Obsessing over poop
My daughter once pooped 16 times in a single day. Beat that! While some moms are competitive about when their kids walk, talk or crawl, I was all about counting how many times my kid pooped. And when I wasn’t doing that, I was worrying about why she’d gone three days without pooping. Never before (and hopefully never again) have bowel movements occupied so much of my mental space.

13) Learning who your child is
By the time my little one was 1 or 2 months old, I was getting comments from strangers about what an “old soul” she was. She was quiet and contemplative, always watching and observing everything around her. Turns out those early months perfectly described the kid she’d turn out to be. It’s fun to uncover tiny personalities.

14) Wearing food
Have you always envied Lady Gaga’s chutzpah for her fashion-forward choices? Then this is your year! Never mind a designer meat dress—you’ll be wearing an avant-garde selection of carrots, applesauce and sweet potatoes. And most of the time you won’t even realize it.

15) Sporting pants that zip
OK, so this has nothing to do with your baby or her development, but let me tell you, that first time you pull up your pre-pregnancy jeans and are able zip them? Well that, my friend, is a great freaking day.

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