One of the things that makes me proudest is your new ability to say, “Mama,” and “Dada,” with meaning. It used to be that you would cheerfully chat, “Dada, Dada, Dada,” over and over, practicing your D’s. You would only say “Mama” when you were angry and then it would come out like an accusation. “Mama,” with a pointing finger and a wobbling chin.
Yesterday, though, I had you on your play mat while I worked at my computer. My back was to you, and you crawled over and politely inquired, “Mom?”
I turned around and you gave me the biggest smile.
“Mom,” you said, in your tiny baby voice.
I kneeled down and hugged you. “Mom,” I agreed. “Mommy loves Lily.”
“Mom,” you said.
Swoon. What parent doesn’t love the sound of their name on their child’s lips?
This morning you woke up just as I was getting out of the shower to go to work, so I brought you from your crib to our bed. Dad fed you while I got dressed, and when I came back in the room from eating breakfast you looked up and shouted, “Mama!”
You did this bouncy thing you always do, where you sit almost Indian-style and start jumping around. It’s so exuberant and so hilarious and it demands a hug.
I swooped in hugged you, and you circled your arms around my neck. You put your lips to my shoulder, drooling on me and said, “Mama.”
I gave you a kiss and stood to go but you didn’t like this one bit. “Mama,” you insisted, and the accusing note started to creep in. “Mama!”
Dad had to hold your hands so I could go. Later he called to say that you had said, “Mama” for a long time after I left, upset that I had gone.
I hate leaving you to go to work, but it’s something I need to do for the family. It’s harder now that you’ve developed your own special brand of separation anxiety, and harder still when you’ve been ill.
You’ve had a rough few days, having picked up Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease at daycare. It’s a pretty mild illness, as they go, but there’s nothing you can do to stop it, which, as your parent, is endlessly frustrating. First you got a fever, which lasted from Monday night through Wednesday morning. Then came the mouth sores and you stopped eating, which is so unlike you. Last came the rash, sprinkled up your legs, growing darker and pinker as the hours went on. All I wanted to do was fix you, but all I could offer was my hugs and a few doses of Tylenol.
I stayed home with you and Dad yesterday so we could go to the doctor as a family. I hate that my being at work prevents me from attending most of your appointments, and given that Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is highly contagious, I thought it was best that we all go get checked out.
You love the doctor’s office, specifically because of the awesome paper barrier they place on the exam tables, so you didn’t mind the trip. Oh, the loveliness of the paper! How it crunches under your hands and feet and squirmy back! What a sound it makes as you rip it to pieces! And then, the exquisite texture as you put it in your mouth!
Pretty much you were beaming, and Dad and I were laughing. And then when the doctor came in and examined you, you told her, “Mom.”
“Wow,” the doctor said, impressed, looking at me and Dad. “She can say ‘Mom’?”
“Yes,” we said. “Her favorite words are Mom, Dad, and Up!”
“Mom,” you repeated.
I don’t think it will ever get old.
I love you,