Your baby’s first twelve months are chock-full of milestones: first smile, first steps, first word. But your kiddo shouldn’t get all the glory you, too, change a lot during the first year. These parenting milestones don’t make for headlines or frame-worthy photos, but they are certainly a cause for a little mini-celebration, because you sure are doing a great job Mom and Dad! one month old RT

Photo: Solaboo via Flickr

Month One

Your baby is showered with love and warm wishes as she enters the world, and learns to focus those mesmerizing baby blues. Meanwhile, your biggest accomplishment is mastering the perfect swaddle and putting together the crib in under four hours with only minimal swearing.

two month old RT

Photo: Oscar Castañón Barragán via Flickr

Month Two

Baby flashes a photo-ready grin. You’ve acquired eau de parenthood: a mix of sweat, coffee, and sweet baby lotion, with a whiff of acid spit-up undertones. Plus, you can unsnap a sleeper and change a diaper one-handed. Go, you!

three month old RT

Photo: Crystal Sanchez via Flickr

Month Three

Sweet coos and squawks come out of your little one’s perfect rosebud mouth, and strangers in the grocery store rush over to coo right back. Your biggest accomplishment: you can smell a dirty diaper from thirty yards away, and you know the location of all the drive-through Starbucks in your town and the best time to hit each one of them.

four month old RT

Photo: Caitlin Regan via Flickr

Month Four

Your baby makes headlines for rolling from tummy to back then back again. Your biggest accomplishment is getting dressed, running a comb through your hair, and being ready for work in ten minutes flat. You’ve figured out the number one trick to make yourself look ten years younger and well-rested: a massive pair of oversized sunglasses.

five month old RT

Photo: uzi198 via Flickr

Month Five

Your baby sits propped up on pillows like a wee emperor commanding his two-bedroom one-bath kingdom. You are a master of a kingdom, too: the kingdom of stretchy pants, where there’s a constant soundtrack of lullabies and nursery rhymes for which you now know all the words.

sixth month old RT

Photo: Lars Plougmann via Flickr

Month Six

Your little one tries solid food for the first time. You are now an expert at wooing babies to dreamland: you know just the right combination of swaying, pacing, singing, shushing, and the perfect moment to deploy that pacifier so your little angel goes to sleep long enough for you to finish a glass of wine. Or at least pour a glass of wine.

seven month old RT

Photo: Dean Wissing via Flickr

Month Seven

Rhythmic chants of ba-ba-ba and da-da-da flood out as your kiddo figures out the world of consonants. You’ve mastered the classic baby food airplane, and with a few expert zooms and swooshes can convince your wee babe to gobble down pureed asparagus like it’s cookie dough ice cream. Then you get all the ice cream to yourself.

eight month old

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

Month Eight

Your baby’s a pincher grip champ, snatching up bits of chopped up fruit or slipper noodles between thumb and forefinger and popping them in his mouth. Your biggest accomplishment is discovering the secret to swift post-mealtime clean-up: your dog.

nine month old

Photo: Kim Love via Flickr

Month Nine

Baby becomes a crawling machine, scrambling all around the house after the dog and trying to grab his tale. You can now tell a hungry cry from a tired cry from an I-need-a-hug cry within the first five seconds.

ten month old

Photo: Dan Wheeler via Flickr

Month Ten

Your little one gleefully waves hi to every passing stranger. You have a newly-acquired superpower only appreciated by people under two: megavision that gives you the power to spot dogs and fire trucks from a half mile away. You’re so good at it that you even call out truck sightings when you’re all alone, with no kids in sight, so you’re the lone grown-up cheering on the garbage truck as it makes its rounds.

eleven month old

Photo: Shannon via Flickr

Month Eleven 

Your baby starts cruising between the furniture, gripping tightly to the couch and then to the coffee table as he wobbles around the house like a sweet drunken tyrant demanding snacks and balls. You can carry a baby, three bags of groceries, a perfectly stocked diaper bag, and a cup of coffee up four flights of stairs, and you have the biceps to show for it.

twelve months old

Month Twelve

Your baby takes her first tentative steps and thrills at your cheers. You master the art of making gluten free, egg free, dye free, milk free, sugar free cupcakes, and then spit out the healthy tasteless stuff in a napkin after the first bite. Later, when you help your best friend build her registry, you sift through all the unnecessary doo-dads that promise to make her baby smarter, stronger, and sleepier, and point her right to the good stuff that she really needs. You’ve got twelve months of parenthood under your belt and you know what’s what.

What was your biggest parent accomplishment of the first year? Brag about it in a Comment.

–Oz Spies