No one likes to admit that they are a competitive parent, but if we are honest everyone is, even if just a little bit. We want to be the one that gets the first smile, or hug, or laugh. We want the baby to say “Momma” or “Dada” so we can smugly feel victorious. We want to be the one to teach them to walk or ride a bike or tie their shoes. It is just sort of inbuilt in parenting because we work so hard, that these little moments feel like a reward.
When my oldest daughter was just a few months old I was one of these parents. When she rolled over for the first time, when she held her head up on her own, when she happily grabbed my finger to hold on. The real excitement came when she smiled at me for the first time. Seeing that little baby look up at me and smile…I was addicted. I wanted more.
My husband and I then got super competitive over who was going to get her first laugh. It might as well have been the World Cup in our eyes, as we prepared and trained for this. Making faces, doing funny voices, dancing around like crazy cartoon characters. Nothing was off limits.
One of the things my daughter used to love is when I would lay back on the bed, and lifted her over me like an airplane so she could fly. She would look down at me and smile like crazy, as I made airplane noises and lowered her back down…and up…and down. I was absolutely convinced that one day this would get her to laugh.
So one morning I got her all dressed in cute little dungarees, got her fed, then proceeded to play with her. She was in a good mood so I thought, “Alright here is our chance.” My husband was sitting at the computer looking over at us. I could tell he was keeping an eye on the situation. He wasn’t ready to accept defeat.
I lay back on the bed, I let her dance on my tummy a minute, then up I lifted her for her airplane ride. I made faces, and noises, and gave the most outstanding performance of my career. She smiled and smiled, and then…finally I got it….the laugh!
I got the first laugh!
My husband was livid. He was trying to claim technicalities. “That wasn’t a laugh! It has to be longer then that!” Blah blah blah. He knew he had lost, but didn’t want to accept defeat.
I continued playing airplane with her, and she laughed again…and again…and again. By now my husband had forgotten his defeat, I forgot my win, and we were just enjoying the sound of her laughter.
Then….splat….she vomited right on my face. After being stunned into silence for a moment, I put her on the bed next to Daddy and went to clean myself up. He of course was laughing hysterically.
I suppose it was a little kind of karmic justice, but in the end I decided a little vomit was worth it. I got her first laugh out of her.