My Fiancé And I Are Competing For My Baby’s First Word

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baby first wordI’m competitive about the craziest things. Right now, I’m in a not-so-secret war with my fiancé over what my 8-month-old son’s first word is going to be.

“I swear,” my fiancé said last week. “I heard him say ‘Dada.’”

I responded, “That’s so funny you say that, because I thought I heard him say, ‘Mama’ but I didn’t want to say anything, unless it was for sure.”

The truth is he mostly just gurgles.

OK, I fully admit I want my son’s first word to be “mama.” Every time I get him from his crib in the mornings, I’m like, “Good morning. Say, ‘Mama, Mama, Mama.” Whenever, I cuddle him and kiss him, I’ll say, “Mama loves you! That’s right. Mama. Mama. Mama. Can you say, ‘Mama, Mama, Mama’?”

Whenever I arrive home and see him, the first words out of my mouth are, “Mama’s home! Can you say ‘mama,’ ‘mama,’ ‘mama?’”

OK  I think you see the point. Every opportunity I get, I’m telling the kid, or rather saying to the kid, “Mama, Mama, Mama.” I’ve said the word “Mama” more times in the last eight months than I have gone to the washroom. The thing is, and I’m usually right with my gut feelings, that I think my fiancé is doing the same thing when I’m not around. I’m pretty darn sure when they are playing on the bed, or they are alone, my fiancé is saying, “Say ‘Dada.’ Say, ‘Dada.’”

It’s unsaid, but we BOTH know that we are fighting this battle of what our son Holt’s first word will be. I can’t wait for the day when I can scream, “HE SAID ‘MAMA’.” This may or may not happen. My fiancé may be working Holt hard too, if not harder than me.

See, there are secrets like these in every relationship. For example, I like the house warm as if I’m living in the tropics at all times. My fiancé likes the house cold like he’s winter camping. So when he’s upstairs, I’ll up the thermometer. And I know when he’s downstairs, he’ll lower the thermometer. I know, because I have EYES that have 20/20 vision and I know that I put it up to 22 Celsius and suddenly it’s down to 18.

He’ll say, “You turned it up!” And I’ll say, “No I didn’t! What are you talking about. I know you turned the heat down.”

And he’ll respond, “No I didn’t. There must be something wrong with it.” Right. Like the tooth fairy came in and turned it down.

In any case, this is the same sort of deal. We don’t speak about teaching Holt his first word, but I know we’re both doing it behind each other’s back.

I kind of just want to win. It’s as simple as that. I want my son’s first word to be, “Mama.”

Oh, I know, it’s not a big deal. My daughter’s first word was, “baba,” which meant “bottle.” Did I care? No. Her second word was, “Mama.” Silver place is not such a bad position, even if she apparently wanted her “baba” more than her mama. Kidding. But this time, I’m so in the habit of telling Holt, ‘Say, “Mama. Mama. Mama,” that I don’t want to lose this one. I’ve put a lot of energy into this.

Listen, there’s not too much I’m competitive about these days. I don’t run marathons. I don’t ski in races any more. I’m all about yoga, which is not competitive at all. So, please, allow me this one competitive thing.

I have no idea what his first word will be. For all I know, it could be “ball” because we say that a lot. It could be “doggie,” because we have a dog and say that a lot. It could be, “no,” because we also say that a lot too, like, “No! Do not touch that wire,” And, “No! That’s the dog’s bowl,” and, “NO, do not grab your baby food jar.” In fact, I’m surprised most baby’s first words aren’t “No.”

I was telling my friend about our “unspoken” competition for our son’s first words. Her son is now 18 years old and for the life of her she can’t remember what her son’s first word was.

“Does it really matter?” she asked, as if I was insane.

“Well, yeah! Right now it does. It may not in 18 years. But this is WAR!”

But, oh, what joy I would get if I walked into his room one morning and he greeted me with a smile and said, “Mama.” And not just because I want to win.

(photo: Inga Marchuk / Shutterstock)