We have a new game. It’s called “I will say lots and lots of sounds and will try to repeat lots of words, but I will NOT say Mama”. Owen is particularly good at it.
I don’t find it terribly funny anymore.
Let’s back up. Owen has always been a babbler, but he didn’t say his first real word until a few weeks ago. He’s a man of few words, that beautiful boy. His vocabulary now includes “Dada/Daddy”, “Doggie” (which often sounds exactly like Daddy, but recently I’ve been noticing a subtle difference that makes “Doggie” sound more like “Dawttie” rather than “Dah-dee”), “Hi!” and “Uh oh!”. Trust me when I tell you that “Hi!” and “Uh oh!” are ALWAYS said with exclamation points. What Owen doesn’t have in words he makes up for in enthusiasm/emotion and arm waving. Maybe he’s Italian. Recently he’s been experimenting with inflection too and has figured out how to turn these four words into questions (for example: “DAH DEE?!??!” letting his voice swoop up at the end and raising his eyebrows expectantly while peeking around the corner for Benjamin). His teacher at daycare told me he even repeated his teacher’s name (“Katie”), but I’m going to file that under copying sounds instead of learning a new word.
There’s one word that is lacking in his vocabulary. A very important word, if I do say so myself. A word that I thought I would’ve heard by now. Ahem, a word I would really like to hear right now.
Mama. Mommy. Even Nan (a sound I’ve heard him try out a few times, and what my little sister called my mom for a long time). Ma. Mother would even be fine at this point.
Side note: Does this make anyone else think of this Family Guy clip?
Anyway, all I’m saying is that I’d like a little recognition! Benjamin has been traveling a lot recently and whenever he’s gone Owen wanders around the house yelling, “Dah DEE???”, pushing open our bedroom door and peeking around corners. When I say different words to him, and sometimes even prompt, “Can you say…”, no matter WHAT I say, he looks at me proudly and says, “Dada.”.
Even at night while I’m giving him his bottle and singing him lullabies he sometimes pats my cheek lovingly, then sits up and says, “Dada!”.
What do I have to do to get a little love around here? I am the one who wakes him up in the morning and puts him to bed at night. I am the one who cuddles him when he falls and holds his hand while he toddles and narrates our day so someday he can learn more than 4 words. I am the one who makes his food and picks up his toys at night and packs his daycare bag and reads him stories. Maybe he doesn’t say my name because I’m always around? And Benjamin leaves so Owen needs to verbalize that he recognizes he is gone? That’s one theory, but I think that’s a stretch.
Other mothers have told me, “Just wait. Once he learns it, he’ll never stop saying it! Enjoy it while you can.” I’m sure they have a point. But is it too much to ask for my darling son who I spend almost all of my time with to call me something?
Anything other than Daddy, of course.
Thankfully Owen communicates really well with sign language for other words like “More”, “All done”, “Milk” and “Sleep”. Maybe I should teach him the sign for Mama! Though I’m not sure that will fill this little hole in my heart. I want to hear that adorable little voice!
When did your baby first say Mama? Did you do sign language with your toddler and did it help you communicate before he/she learned those words?