For a parent, there are so many important milestones. Your child’s first steps. First words. His first tooth. The first time she reaches out to give you a real hug and kiss.

There are other moments, too. Not as special, perhaps. Not as well known or widely celebrated. Not as photographed, live-tweeted or mommy-blogged, but significant and joyful nonetheless. I propose the following eight holidays to celebrate such moments:

1. National OMG-My-Kid-Can-Finally-Get-Out-of-the-Car-Seat-By-Herself Day

I love hanging out with Grace, my six-year-old. She’s funny, polite and easy-going, a great companion. Most of the time, anyway. We jog, scrapbook, kick the soccer ball, play catch, eat ice cream, walk to the pool for a swim. It’s a lot of fun. Until we have to drive somewhere. I’m not sure why, but I can’t stand getting her in and out of the car seat. Maybe it’s because I’m shallow and impatient, but I dread waiting for her to scramble into the ugly, pink, food-splattered safety device, which takes at least 40 minutes, bending over with my bad back and trying to wrestle her into the five-point restraint system. The straps are never the right length. Grace always says it’s uncomfortable. When we get to our destination, I have to get her out. On the way home, we do it all over again. If we’re making multiple stops, the workload is exponential. My theory is that Grace secretly knows how to work the straps, clips and buttons. She just likes to torture me.

2. The-Only-Thing-Better-Is-When-She-Doesn’t-Need-The-Dang-Thing-At-All-Anymore Day

If there’s one thing worse than strapping a child into a car seat, it’s carrying the thing around. Heavy, awkward, uncomfortable. Some of my worst memories don’t involve pain, loss or even death. They involve dragging a car seat around an airport, down that five-mile death march to Terminal 216-ZZ. As if the luggage and carry-ons weren’t heavy enough. The only thing worse is lugging that same car seat around a foreign city, trying to make the Roman cabbie understand that he needs to wait for an hour while you buckle it into the back of his taxi, which apparently has no seat belts. Then you get your child into the car seat and, for the finale, fold your big American stroller into the taxi’s miniature trunk.

I’ll be honest. I’m afraid of the car seat. I know it keeps my child safe, but I don’t know how to anchor it into a car. Whenever I’ve tried, my wife gives me a look and tells me I haven’t done it correctly. She thinks I’m shirking, but I’m not. I really am that stupid. I don’t know how she gets it in there so tight and secure. I mean, I can bench press a lot more than she can.

3. Velcro Appreciation Month

Whomever invented Velcro should be made emperor and given a cool $100 million. Or at least be recognized with a month of parades, fireworks and celebratory dinners. Nothing’s worse than bending over, jamming a little foot into a shoe that always seems way too small and tying an awkward little knot. Of course, the first step is untying the double, or sometimes dodeca, knot that’s already there, which is like doing a Rubik’s Cube underwater with your eyes closed while getting punched. Velcro solves the problem. A toddler can easily figure out how to work its zhrrp-zhrrping hooks and loops. However, it doesn’t actually work very well to, you know, keep the shoe from falling off, so it’s a big day when your daughter learns to tie her own laces.

4. [Titled Redacted]

The less said on this subject the better, but suffice it to say that every parent breathes a deep sigh of relief and dances a jig when little Johnny can adequately perform all the duties associated with the bathroom. While still diapered, or learning the trade of self-output and self-cleansing, the process takes so much time and effort. It’s a dirty job and we should celebrate the day they learn how to do it for themselves.

5. The Tall-Enough-To-Reach-Stuff Anniversary

I don’t mind making my children lunch, or dinner, or getting something down from a high shelf in the closet. The first five or 10 times. By mid-day, I’m a little tired of hopping up every few minutes to fetch things, or clean them, or prepare them, or retract them from the hungry jaws of the DVD player. This is when I do a lot of in-a-second parenting, which means that, instead of getting my child what she wants right away, I do it in a second. I define a second as roughly 30 minutes. In some instances, and you have to read the fine print of the child-rearing guidebook to discover this, 30 minutes is sub-defined as Never, actually, but I forgot, really, I did. By the end of the night, I really do want to get out of that comfy chair and go fetch a really important Lego piece that you think is probably in your old shoes that don’t fit anymore that are maybe in the attic, but I sometimes develop task-specific paralysis. Can’t move. Maybe after a few minutes you’ll just go ask Mom instead. Let’s remember to honor growth spurts and step-stools this year, because they both make our jobs a little easier.

6. Big-Girl Chair Days

A few years ago my youngest kept asking to sit in a big-girl chair like her sisters and parents. (No matter how many times I explain that I sit in a big-boy chair, she still doesn’t get it). She wasn’t ready, but I let her anyway. I mean, I was sick of picking her up, putting her in the highchair, working the restraint system — which was even more complex than the car seat — and, later, cleaning up for five hours after a five-minute snack. The worst is when, the moment they’re finally strapped in, they say, “Oh yeah, I need to go bathroom.” So I let her sit in a regular chair. The first part was easy. No lifting, no straps. But the fallout was incredible. The blast radius was about 20 feet. The entire dining room was littered with shrapnel and rubble from her meal. My first response was to start feeding her only grayish-tan food, the color of our carpet, but the only true solution is for Grace to grow into a big-girl chair and develop her hand-eye coordination. And maybe get one of those anti-bite doggie funnels to contain the damage.

7. Childhood Sobriety Appreciation

Children get far too much praise. He slept through the night? What a good little sleeper you are! When I sleep for 12 hours, people just call me lazy. So what if my toddler can walk? She’s not even that good at it. She keeps falling over and bumping into things. What does matter, quite a lot, is when your children can walk well. Safely. Accurately. When they don’t look like tiny drunks stumbling over their own feet. When you can trust them not to play with matches, get into the cleaning fluids or, even worse, break your stuff. You no longer have to hover over them every second, so you can finally relax. I’m not sure when this day comes. 3? 9? 14? 27? Maybe never.

8. The Festival of Self-Dressing

Getting my kids dressed isn’t that tough of a chore. It’s just that little kids’ heads are so big and little kid shirt head-holes are so small. I’m paranoid about ripping off an ear in the process.

As parents, we spend decades caring for our children, and loving it, but also dreaming of the day they can take care of themselves. My oldest is getting ready to head off to college, which means I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Against my better judgment, I’m getting sentimental. Suddenly, changing all those diapers and tying all those shoes doesn’t seem so bad. I’ll be sad when my first-grader doesn’t need me anymore. My 18-year-old will be getting home from school any minute now. When she does, I’ll ask her if she wants a snack, or if she needs me to reach anything off the high shelf.