A Word Is Worth a Thousand Words

“Mama? Dada? Nice lady in Pennsylvania who I accidentally dialed?”

Well, now I feel a smidge more mommyish. As I may have mentioned, Charlotte has been a tad (seriously, just a tad) behind on her language development, most likely because of her many, many dual ear infections these past months.

At her 15-month check up, she had gained some ground, which was swell. She tended to say “mama” and “dada” indiscriminately, but lately she’s been calling “Dada” for Daddy, and “Mama” for moi. Hooray!

Now, think. How many millions of times did you, as a kid, say, “Mom? Mom? MOM!!” and your mom (eventually, in our case) turned her attention to you? Well, I’ve always been on the kid end of that conversation, which would go something like “Mom. Mom! MOM!! NANCY OPP, PLEASE TURN YOUR ATTENTION TO YOUR FIRST-BORN!”

But being on the mommy end? Well, that’s new. Last night I was in the kitchen, preparing Charlotte’s dinner, and she did the quintessential toddler pant tug on my leg, along with a “Mama?” utterance.

“Yep?” I said, without thinking. It was pure instinct. And then, of course, I started THINKING and was a) so glad that Charlotte had figured out Mama/Dada for real, b) she got my attention (pant tug) in a perfectly developmentally appropriate way, and c) I NOTICED it.

Since then, she has tinkered with the words “mama” and “dada” and you can just tell that she has figured this out—that different words mean different things. Yes, she has mastered using a WORD for what she wants. “Dada”? Daddy responds. “Mama?” Mommy responds.

Honestly, I’m sort of relishing this form of mommy-ness. When Charlotte says “Mama?” it’s just so cutely intimate and sweet. I love hearing her call me.

Even when she’s demanding something and, per usual, needs it now now now!


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