My gorgeous little Button-Pusher has recently started to call me ‘Mum’. Just a handful of times, but it’s on the increase, and it has stopped me in my tracks. I was not not prepared for it and I’m not happy about it!
And why? Why is it such a big deal to me? When B-P learnt to say ‘Mama’ it was glorious. She could communicate, she had made a connection and knew that this word represented someone who was always there for her. ‘Mama’ soon turned into ‘Mamam’ which I loved as it was almost as if she’d coined a little nickname for me, her own special term of endearment. ‘Mummy’ followed and that of course, was a joy to hear (well y’know when it was being said nicely and sweetly, and not in a ‘Mummy Mummy Mummy Mummy’ kind of way!).
Sometimes she still says Mummy, and sometimes Mamam (normally during sweet moments, or when she’s tired. Occasionally it means she’s trying to do something she shouldn’t! “You go into the kitchen Mummy. Close your eyes Mummy”, said in a blatant (if I admit somewhat skilful) attempt to get me to look the other way). But ‘Mum’? I’m not ready! It stops me every time I hear it and I’m just not sure why. This is the name she will probably call me for the rest of her life (though I concede during the teenage years she may well call me other things!), but this is probably the name I’ll be known by for ever more. So why, I wondered, am I so bothered by it?
Is it because it sounds grownup? Too old for a 2 1/2 year old to say? Did it make me feel old?! Harsh truth alert Mrs B: you ain’t getting any younger! Of all the crazy things that toddlers do, why was this one bothering me so much?
I mentioned it to Mr Baffled one evening and, as he oft does, he replied calmly,
“It’s because you want to her do something your way, not her way, and you can’t control it. It drives you crazy.”
Ding ding ding Mr B. That sounds like the alarm of truth there ringing in my ears.
Clearly I couldn’t let him know he’d hit the nail squarely on the head, so I looked at him with the raise of an eyebrow, to which he simply replied, “This is just one of a 1000 things she’ll want to do her way. She’s strong willed. She’s as stubborn as her Mum! There’re going to be so many occasions when she’d prefer to do it her way. Better get used to it now.”
And he’s not wrong (though don’t tell him I said that. Obvs.) As with soooo many things relating to parenting a toddler, only I can manage this one. Forever more B-P will challenge me, frustrate me, and want to do things that I disagree with. It’s my job to talk to her, advise her, be there for her. But I can’t control her. She’s a human being not a robot.
I sat and thought about it for a while and was reminded that it took 5 long and sometimes painful years for B-P to come and join our little Baffled family. During those years, if you’d told me I’d eventually have a beautiful, strong, funny, intelligent little girl, who occasionally called me ‘Mum’? Well, I’d’ve told you that she could’ve called me anything she wanted! I don’t think I’d’ve cared. So, like with most things Mrs B, count to 10, and just go and see what your little Button-Pusher is up to. You’re her mum after all.