The first year of a baby’s life is full of firsts. The main reason I stay at home with my son is not to miss these firsts; how heartbreaking it would be to pick up my son after work and hear what important milestones I had missed that day. But as any parent knows, even if you are in the same room, you miss things.

The inevitable part of every afternoon had arrived and I needed to put my son on the playgym and divert my attention elsewhere. (It has come to our attention that he has outgrown his bassinet by two pounds; our tax return should be here soon and we need to get him a crib. I was reading reviews of a couple of cribs to finalize our decision.) He played contentedly at batting the toys and squeezing the crinkly stuff. He also rolled over.

I didn’t look at him because of any noise he made, I just looked over to check up on him and he was on his stomach and looking around. Positive that I had put him on his back I rechecked my memory a couple of times. He must have rolled over.

This was a real rollover. He wasn’t on a soft surface (like our bed) rolling downhill (toward Daddy.) He wasn’t helped by anyone (me) giving him an extra little boost to get that last little way over. He was on the floor and all alone. And I missed it.

I was four feet away. And I missed it.

Of course I congratulated him and turned him over in vain hopes that he would repeat his trick for me. I had the camera ready in my hand to capture this spectacular second time in hopes to assuage my guilt. I encouraged him to roll to me, roll to a toy, roll toward the music… but he was tired, overdue for a nap, and had no more interest in rolling. It was as though it had never happened.

So I have put him down for his nap, and I am left to accept this twofold first alone. It was the first time he rolled over on his own. And it was the first first that I missed.

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