My husband and I are tripping over ourselves trying to out-witness each other with regard to our second child's firsts. (Just try and say that three times fast.)
Last weekend, my hulking husband scrambled to his feet after playing on the kitchen floor with his son and roughly three thousand plastic containers and lids, and, practically jumping up and down with excitement, exclaimed: "He took his first steps."
Without even looking past the countertop, where The Champ was hidden from my view, I told him in no uncertain terms: "No. He didn't. What he's doing is called 'crusing.'"
He could not be dissuaded.
"Well, I know what I saw, and this kid took a step."
"No. He didn't."
"Yes. He did!"
"No, he didn't."
"Yes, he did!"
"No he didn't."
"Yes he did!"
"Ok, this is getting us nowhere. I appreciate that you think The Champ has taken a step, and that you want to be the first to witness this event, but I assure you that he has not, in fact, started walking."
If I remain calm and collected, say my piece and turn back to what I was doing, I win. This, in poker terms, would be what they call a bluff.
Really, it's not fair that I get to witness all the firsts. I realize that. It's not fair that milestones in my babies lives don't actually happen unless I am there to witness them.
That old conundrum "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it; does it make a sound?" Well replace that old hunk of wood, root system and leaves image with that of a chattering, wobbly boy baby, who has a whole 'nother existence while his mommy's at work, and any mommy-type can unequivocally say: "Nope. Not a sound."
Daycare providers all know that firsts happen first at home (even if they don't). They know that any telling of a first happening elsewhere will result in the one of the following responses in ascending order of likelyhood:
"Oh, I forgot to mention, he started walking yesterday at 4:30 in the morning while I was trying to change his diaper, rearrange the living room furniture and figure out that world peace thing."
A wordless response might also result, wherein good ol' delusional mom turns into a puddle of heaving, sobbing Jell-O right before the caregiver's eyes.
Most daycare providers understand that we working moms can be an irrational and fragile set, so they wait until we arrive the next day and triumphantly announce the kid's new skill. Some will even go the extra mile to act completely shocked and emphatically stress how advanced the child is (to be doing whatever milestone he should be doing anyway between now and the next three weeks).
This is called a strategy, and smart parents should remember such skillful caretakers at Christmastime with a generous bonus.
Of course, this strategy is wholly separate and apart from the ones we, as parents, are employing against each other to ensure we triumph in being the first name to pass our kids’ lips.
ME: "Who am I? MAMA. I'm MAMA."
HIM: "Hey Buddy, can you say DADA? Go ahead, say 'dada'."
ITTYBIT: "I think he said my name."
And that, dear readers, is what's called a trump.