I made my bed, but that didn’t make sleeping in it any easier. That’s how I felt when Lucy starting saying “momma” before “dada.” I thought it would be nice to teach her how to talk to her mother first, not really thinking ahead to the days when all I would hear for hours on end as I feed and diaper her is “momma momma momma momma.”
Well, I succeeded. “Momma” was her first word. Now, whether she knows what it means or not, we’re not quite sure. Instead of meaning “mother” we think it might mean “adult” or “parent” in her developing brain. She doesn’t seem to say it to anyone but us, but she does babble it at various times. Heck, I was walking through the grocery store with her last week and she screamed “momma” out at the top of her tiny lungs. It’s kind of embarrassing because I don’t want people to think I stole this child who is crying out for her mother while I’m trying to figure out which kind of canned tomatoes to buy for that week’s pasta sauce. It would serve me right for reasons I’ll get into in another post. I have a surprising number of stories from my childhood where I almost got both my parents into somewhat serious trouble by being a wiseacre.
Anyway, Lucy’s had the “momma” thing down for about a month now. I’m glad she’s developing, of course, and know that it does my wife’s heart good to hear it, but I was really glad when, on Friday, I finally got her to say “poppa!” I always assumed I’d be called “dad” or “dada” or something along those lines, but I think it’s fun that she can say the paternal sobriquet that I named this blog after. My wife asked me “You want to be called poppa?” And I was like, “One, I’ll take what I can get, and two, it’s good for the blog.” She still says “momma” more than “poppa” but she slips it in enough to keep me smiling, which is nice because she spends about half the day screaming her head off just to see if she can do it.
A lot of people say their kid learned to say “dada” before “momma,” but when you think about it the M (and P) sounds are actually a lot easier to make. Say all three and pay attention to where your tongue and lips are. When you do M and P sounds, you’re just moving your lips and pushing air out in different ways. But, the D sound involves getting your tongue up behind your front teeth and moving it downwards. That’s a little bit more difficult for someone trying to figure out what the heck this whole talking thing is all about. She’s doing great and I’m proud of her. I hope all those times doing alphabet sounds has helped out.