Baby's Infamous Firsts

They're usually moments every parent lives for: Baby's first smile; baby's first step; baby's first word. But there are a whole lot of "firsts" we parents would be happy to forget.

Up until a few weeks ago, the most memorable "forgettable first" I would have chosen to have obliterated from the record was "baby's first knock-down, take-no-prisoners, no-holds-barred public tantrum." I know we parents have all felt the eyes of fellow shoppers boring holes into our souls as we struggle with a flailing, screaming toddler through the aisles of Target, but this was the mother of all tantrums.

This eruption caused a block-wide interpretation of "The Day the Earth Stood Still," so loud were the wails from my four-year-old who was expressing her angst at being told she couldn't fish a tadpole from a pond in a shop we were browsing through. Traffic stopped, store transactions came to a momentary standstill…I think I even saw a woman stop mid-bite in a nearby restaurant as I rushed to gather up my child.

I avoided making eye contact with those gathering around, and although I could see their mouths moving, I couldn't hear over my child's shrieks. My mother (who was there to witness the entire incident) later told me people were saying things like, "That child needs to be spanked for that kind of behavior!" and "What in the world is going on here?!" And, I'm sure more than one person was checking on the number for Child Protective Services.

But, that little "first" is something I'd soooo choose to remember over the "first" I just had to mark on the family calendar: "Baby's First Traffic Court Appearance." What does the sticker for the "Baby's Firsts Calendar" I got as a baby shower gift even look like for that one? The one for "Baby's First Haircut" was a little pair of scissors, so would this one be a picture of a small pair of handcuffs?

Now, I feel like a world-class whiner, having been complaining all these years about having to deal with a mega-tantrum. Opening a letter containing words like "bail" and phrases like "your automobile insurance may be adversely affected" just seems so much more…what's the word I'm looking for…ominous? daunting?.. than dealing with a few off-putting stares and judgmental comments from strangers.

But, this incident has started me thinking. Even though these may be the "firsts" parents would just as soon forget, there are a lot more "baby's firsts" to be documented than those calendars have stickers for. After all, where are the "Baby's First Missed Curfew", "Baby's First Detention", or "Baby's First Tattoo" stickers?

I'm thinking about devoting a whole scrapbook page to "Baby's First Traffic Court Appearance." Although it may be a "first" that I'd like to forget, I would like it to be permanently seared into "Baby's" mind. Maybe that photo of her in between the judge and the bailiff will remind her to heed the rules of the road.

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