Parenting is full of surprises. It’s the one job there really should be a manual for, but there isn’t. Because every child is different, every parent is different, every family is different. What works for one family won’t necessarily work for another.

But there are certain moments on the parenting journey that are universal.

Moments when things happen and you breathe a sigh of relief because your child is hitting the milestones they “should” be at the right time.

We all know the usual ones – baby’s first word, baby’s first step, first day at school, and other such auspicious occasions.

But there are others which areĀ not such auspicious occasions.

Moments that are not so well-known, and only fully understood when they are experienced first-hand.

Here are 10 milestones which every parent will recognise on this funny little journey called parenting.

Catching vomit in your hands

It sounds like the last thing someone would do if you are next to someone who is about to vomit. But as a parent it’s weirdly natural to offer up your hands to catch the vomit. Once the vomit is safely in your hands, the harsh reality of what you have just done sinks in while you think quickly about what you can do with said vomit.

The colostrum poo

The black. The stickiness. The trauma. If you know, you know.

The explosive poo

Also known as a poo-nami. When a poo explodes out the nappy and all the way up the back of your child, usually soaking the babygrow. Mostly happens when out in public. You’ll never notice it until it’s too late.

Aqua turd

Lots of bodily fluids on this list but the aqua turd totally deserves a mention. I will never not sing the Jaws song in my head when I see an aqua turd. And I will never not call my husband to deal with it.

Stepping on a lego

Who knew something so small could cause so much pain?

I’ll be honest, I thought this was urban legend until it happened to me.

Dealing with the tooth fairy

Both boys have lost multiple teeth. They have also managed to lose their teeth around Cape Town – in a Spur (*vomit*), at a friend’s house, in the car.

Figuring out how the tooth fairy can deal with such issues is tricky (“Don’t worry, J. The tooth fairy knows we were ar Spur so it still counts”). Remembering that the tooth fairy needs to visit is also tricky. Extracting the tooth (when you have it) from under the pillow and not waking the child is the trickiest.

And then you have a little tupperware filled with your kids’ teeth. To do what? Make a necklace? Sies, man.

PS: This is not Seb’s tooth that he’s holding. He brought Amelia’s tooth home from school to put under his pillow. Cheeky bastard.

Artwork on the furniture/walls/floor

The first tip anyone should give new parents is not to have light-coloured furniture. But we weren’t that smart. And our kids are, shall we say, very artistic.

Another lesson is never to have permanent markers in your house, but that’s my own fault really.

Leaving them alone

When you can leave them alone in a room and feel relatively comfortable that they won’t kill themselves, is a game changer.

When you can turn your back without worrying about knives or scissors or plastic bags or bees lying around, that’s when you know you are about to start the next chapter of parenting.

The first forgotten birthday party

I’m not talking about forgetting you own child’s birthday party! But there comes a day when at school pick up, another parent will say to you “Why weren’t you at Thomas’s party on Saturday?“.

And your heart will drop and you’ll check your calendar and there’ll be an empty space where a party reminder should be. And you’ll double-check your class whatsapp group and lo and behold, there’ll be an invitation for Thomas’s party which you had probably seen a million times but it just hadn’t sunk into your mombrain.

The first f-word

It doesn’t matter if a swear word never crosses your lips or you swear like a sailor, your child will pick up the f-word from somewhere and drop it regularly with reckless abandon. Usually at inopportune moments, like when your mother-in-law or the principal is around.

If you’ve reached any of these milestones, congratulations! If you haven’t, have no fear, you’ll encounter them at some point.

And there are a ton more. Any inauspicious parenting milestones you could add?