A woman gives birth to a child. Horrible, wretched pain like nothing else she’s ever felt before. For nine months before that, she carries the baby in her womb. She swears off hot dogs and caffeine; she stops sleeping on her stomach. Her face breaks out, her skin stretches and scars. After the baby arrives there are midnight feedings; and 3am feedings; and 5am feedings. There are diapers that need changing and onesies that need washing. The woman’s world revolves around this tiny baby. And then the baby says her first word: “Dada.”
Both of my babies decided that “Dada” would be their first word. It didn’t matter how often I repeated “Mama, Mama, Mama” to them, they would just happily chirp “Dada.” When they finally decided to utter the other word, the one that mommies everywhere try to recognize through all the gibberish, it is usually in the midst of crying. They know who takes care of them, so when babies are upset enough that is the moment they discover that they are indeed capable of calling for their mommy.
The last couple of days my little girl has finally started to say “Mama” in her happy voice. It really brightens my whole world. I’m determined to practice this new word with her everyday. When my son was a baby he stopped saying it all of a sudden and I didn’t hear it for months. Never stopped saying “Dada” though. That’s just not right.
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3 years ago