My FiancÃ© And I Are Competing For My Babyâ€™s First Word
â€œI swear,â€ my fiancÃ© said last week. â€œI heard him say â€˜Dada.â€™â€
I responded, â€œThatâ€™s so funny you say that, because I thought I heard him say, â€˜Mamaâ€™ but I didnâ€™t want to say anything, unless it was for sure.â€
The truth is he mostly just gurgles.
OK, I fully admit I want my sonâ€™s first word to be “mama.” Every time I get him from his crib in the mornings, Iâ€™m like, â€œGood morning. Say, â€˜Mama, Mama, Mama.â€ Whenever, I cuddle him and kiss him, Iâ€™ll say, â€œMama loves you! Thatâ€™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, â€œMamaâ€™s home! Can you say â€˜mama,â€™ â€˜mama,â€™ â€˜mama?â€™â€
OKÂ I think you see the point. Every opportunity I get, Iâ€™m telling the kid, or rather saying to the kid, â€œMama, Mama, Mama.â€ Iâ€™ve said the word “Mama” more times in the last eight months than I have gone to the washroom. The thing is, and Iâ€™m usually right with my gut feelings, that I think my fiancÃ© is doing the same thing when Iâ€™m not around. Iâ€™m pretty darn sure when they are playing on the bed, or they are alone, my fiancÃ© is saying, â€œSay â€˜Dada.â€™ Say, â€˜Dada.â€™â€
Itâ€™s unsaid, but we BOTH know that we are fighting this battle of what our son Holtâ€™s first word will be. I canâ€™t wait for the day when I can scream, â€œHE SAID â€˜MAMAâ€™.â€ This may or may not happen. My fiancÃ© 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 Iâ€™m living in the tropics at all times. My fiancÃ© likes the house cold like heâ€™s winter camping. So when heâ€™s upstairs, Iâ€™ll up the thermometer. And I know when heâ€™s downstairs, heâ€™ll lower the thermometer. I know, because I have EYES that have 20/20 vision and I know that I put it up to 22Â CelsiusÂ and suddenly itâ€™s down to 18.
Heâ€™ll say, â€œYou turned it up!â€ And Iâ€™ll say, â€œNo I didnâ€™t! What are you talking about.Â I know you turned the heat down.â€
And heâ€™ll respond, â€œNo I didnâ€™t. There must be something wrong with it.â€ Right. Like the tooth fairy came in and turned it down.
In any case, this is the same sort of deal. We donâ€™t speak about teaching Holt his first word, but I know weâ€™re both doing it behind each otherâ€™s back.
I kind of just want to win. Itâ€™s as simple as that. I want my sonâ€™s first word to be, “Mama.”
Oh, I know, itâ€™s not a big deal. My daughterâ€™s first word was, â€œbaba,â€ which meant â€œbottle.â€ Did I care? No. Her second word was, â€œMama.â€ Silver place is not such a bad position, even if she apparently wanted her “baba” more than her mama. Kidding. But this time, Iâ€™m so in the habit of telling Holt, â€˜Say, “Mama. Mama. Mama,â€ that I donâ€™t want to lose this one. Iâ€™ve put a lot of energy into this.
Listen, thereâ€™s not too much Iâ€™m competitive about these days. I donâ€™t run marathons. I donâ€™t ski in races any more. Iâ€™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 “ballâ€ because we say that a lot. It could be â€œdoggie,â€ because we have a dog and say that a lot. It could be, â€œno,â€ because we also say that a lot too, like, â€œNo! Do not touch that wire,â€ And, â€œNo! Thatâ€™s the dogâ€™s bowl,â€ and, â€œNO, do not grab your baby food jar.â€ In fact, Iâ€™m surprised most babyâ€™s first words arenâ€™t â€œNo.â€
I was telling my friend about our â€œunspokenâ€ competition for our sonâ€™s first words. Her son is now 18 years old and for the life of her she canâ€™t remember what her sonâ€™s first word was.
â€œDoes it really matter?â€ she asked, as if I was insane.
â€œWell, yeah! Right now it does. It may not in 18 years. But this is WAR!â€
But, oh, what joy I would get if I walked into his room one morning and he greeted me with a smile and said, â€œMama.â€ And not just because I want to win.