I feel guilty for my gloating.
And yeah, I’m might suspicious of my pride.
But, in that forbidden hidden way…Oh. How. Sweet. It. Is.
Since the very day our daughter,Violet, was born three years ago, my wife Monica was really really good at encouraging her to say the word ‘Dada’. I did it too, but not as much. I think I spent more time on other words, words that failed to stick, words like: ‘cheese steak!’ and ‘springsteen!’ and ‘nascar!’
And, to be totally honest, I did spend some time trying to get her to say ‘Mama’ too. But, looking back, I don’t think I was nearly as persistent with the word as Monica was with ‘dada’.
So, unsurprisingly, it was ‘dada’ that fell from Violet’s lips first. And it was ‘dada’ that continued too, a waterfall of ‘dada’, a Niagara Falls of the word, really. ‘Mama’? Eh, not so much, I’m sorry to say.
I mean, ‘mama’ came along, of course. It always does. It’s inevitable, I think. But, there was a long period there where I actually began to cringe a little, despite the fireworks rocketing across my guts, every time my little girl looked at me and cried out,”DADA!”
Now, with our son Henry, as my wife continues to set her pride aside for the sake of teaching each word equally, I’d like to report that I have tried a lot harder to keep whispering the word ‘mama’ at him. Even first thing in the morning, when I am swapping out the ten-pounder pee-pee janitor mop sagging off his little hips for a new diaper, I will look in his eyes and tell him,”Hey Hank, say ‘Mama!…C’mon you can say it, buddy! Say ‘MAMA’!”
Then, he will look at me, his tired brown eyes coming alive with new morning spark. He will bore his eyeballs into mine and grin his giant nubby-tooth grin and he will speak his word just as the ‘mama’ that I uttered is still ringing in the air.
“DA-DA!,” he cries.
And what a wondrous pickle to find myself in.
Part of me is elated that he is always saying my name, always ready to fire off a couple happy rounds of dear old dad. But then part of me is feeling kind of bad for Monica, you know? I want her to get some name love, too. I really do.
But, it just ain’t happening yet. And the proof is in the digital pudding, ya’ll
Here’s Henry, this week. This is exactly what I am talking about. Poor mama. Then, below that, is a couple of year ago…when Violet started talking her first words.
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