My baby just said his first sentence.
But let’s completely ignore that for a minute. Yes, yes, I know. What a milestone! Ooh! Ah! What did he say!? Blah, blah, blah. We’ll get to all that sentimental crap.
But first, we need to discuss what didn’t come before this milestone. Because this is important. Because I’m important. Or at least I should be. I mean, not only did I give the kid LIFE by turning my lady parts into a luxury apartment but I also fed him using my own body and was the one to introduce him to ‘90’s hip hop. If it weren’t for me, that kid would still be jamming to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” like some kind of doofus.
And what thanks do I get?
In the 20 months my son has been on earth, he has only called me “Momma” three times.
And I’m pretty sure one of those times he was actually trying to say “nom-nom” because he was hungry.
Now before you get all “well, some kids take longer than others to talk,” let me point out he already says “daddy.” And “alright.” And “hot.” And “balloon.” And “ball.” And something that sounds suspiciously like “crap.” Hell, the kid can clearly pronounce “blueberry.”
He even recognizes 11 letters of the alphabet already, including “M,” “O,” and “A,” meaning that he is technically even able to spell “Momma.”
And yet, nothing. Nada. Zilch. I don’t even get an adorable gibberish nickname. In fact, the closest thing I get to a personal moniker is a loud “AH!” whenever I dare to pay attention to something other than him, such as peeing without his direct supervision.
So when he said “that’s not cheese” at lunch a few days ago in regard to a poorly made mozzarella stick, my elation was also mixed with a tinge of bittersweetness.
(Although as first sentences go, “that’s not cheese” is pretty baller. You gotta love a tiny human who craps his pants but is still sophisticated enough to appreciate a fine Gouda).
I tried not to take it personally but I couldn’t help feeling like I had earned that title. I mean, I EARNED IT. Not just because I gave birth to him but because I’m the one willing to listen to Taylor Swift on repeat when he’s sick because for some reason the music of Tay-Tay, as he calls her, (oh yes, that red-lipped lollipop head got a name before I did) is the only thing that soothes him.
And he is the only person on this planet thus far that gets to call me “Mom.” So the fact that he refuses to is pretty much the equivalent of my husband introducing me as “his good buddy.”
I had pretty much given up all hope and was just cautiously optimistic that maybe by the time he went to college, I’d be bumped up to “aunt who is always telling me I’m too skinny” status. But then, dear reader, I went to visit my family in Ohio. And it was like a light switch went on. He suddenly started calling me Momma left and right. (Well, technically Mom Mom but hell, I’ll take it. I would have accepted Moose Face or any other “M” sound at that point).
And that’s when I finally got it. I finally understood.
He never called me Momma because he never had to before. I’m always there. Every morning. Every night. And pretty much every moment in-between. There’s my big dumb face all up in his personal space. I’m the primary caretaker. And when I am away, Daddy takes over because we have no other family members close by. And since Daddy already has a name, when I return, it’s less “Mommy’s home!” and more “oh good, my meat suit is back.”
Our relationship is essentially that of Master Blaster from “Mad Max.” I’m pretty much just an extension of his body. He rides around on me demanding unreasonable things while I grunt monosyllabic responses and do it, no questions asked, because I’m too tired to ask why he wants to carry the Destin cream and a Tupperwear lid into every room of the house.
But once we got around my large family, where there are roughly 17 moms in any given room at any given time, it finally dawned on him that we are, in fact, two separate people and as such, I deserve a name of my own.
Or some crap like that. Who can follow the logic of toddlers? These are creatures who see rocks and think “yum, I’m going to try to eat this and then stuff it in my dirty diaper for safe keeping.”
The point is, I am Mom Mom. Finally. And there’s no one else I’d rather be.*
*Other than Batman, obviously.