Our babies grow up so fast. Sometimes the moments seem slow, but the process itself is often a fast one. One minute we are holding helpless little creatures and the next they can walk, talk, climb, and run. It's so emotional. And while we wait months for them to do all the things we want to see, sometimes when they do them, they actually make us cry.

For many moms, the first smile is the biggest one. In those early postpartum weeks, we are just hoping for some indication that this eating, pooping, and sleeping machine we take care of 24/7 actually notices us. So when they smile, it lights up so much more than just their face. Then, a few weeks later, they laugh. And that laugh makes our hearts explode with joy.

The first year is a blur of milestones. Our babies start the process toward becoming toddlers from the moment they exit the womb. Some of the bigger milestones are these:

  • Laughing: That first real laugh is the stuff dreams are made of. We wait and we wait and it starts slow, a giggle here and there. But soon it develops into a full-bellied guffaw and I guarantee there is nothing sweeter in the world. My daughter was 4 months old the first time she really laughed. Before then she had been giggling, but it was our little dog who finally turned her giggle into a guffaw. She laughed and laughed, throwing her head back and making us laugh, too. Both my husband and I cried tears of joy.
  • Rolling over: This one is the first sign your baby is going to move away from you. The second they can do this, they are no longer safe to leave anywhere. It's the first means of transport your baby has and it can be a little shocking.
  • Pulling up to standing: This one is a very short-lived milestone. Your baby goes straight from pulling up to walking. So maybe it's the finite length of time they even practice this trick that makes it so emotional, but there is no doubt. This one is a doozy.
  • First words: For many moms, this was a hard one because so many people had "dada" as first words. It can be very painful for the moms, especially when you feel like you raised this kid and why is she not saying MAMA? Hang in there, though. "Mama" is more complex, but it does come and when it does ... get ready to cry, Mama.
  • Walking: This was the one that made me weep. We want our babies to do it. We hope and pray and wish and want them to do it. But then, when they do it, we weep. There is something so final about walking. Your baby is gone and in his/her place is this new creature, a toddler you will love just the same, but is someone new you have to get to know. Just try not to sob.

What milestones really hit you hardest with your baby?