A week and a half ago, the Little Apple started calling me, “Mom.” At first I thought I had heard wrong. After all, why would she call me “Mom?” She’s only two, and all two-year-olds call their mothers, “Mommy.” But then she said it again, quite distinctly. “Mom? Mom? I want _____.”
I looked at her in disbelief and asked her, “Are you really calling me ‘Mom?’” She laughed an adorable little laugh and replied, “Mommy, I want _____.” Phew, I thought. Maybe it was just a mistake.
The next day, she said, “Mom, I want to go to park [pronounced "pock"]. Can you take me?” Oh no, I thought, here we go again. I looked incredulously at my husband to see if he had noticed, and sure enough, he did. He asked me, “Did she really just call you ‘Mom?’” Helplessly, I nodded. I got down to her level, looked earnestly into her eyes, and told her, “Honey, I don’t want to be called ‘Mom.’ I want you to call me ‘Mommy.’” Whereupon she laughed and said, “Mommy, you’re so silly!”
She has a good point. Maybe I am being silly. Am I silly for not liking to be called “Mom?” To me, “Mom” is what you call your mother when you’re 15, too cool for school, too cool for your family, and certainly too cool to let your friends know that you still depend upon your mother for everything. “Mommy” is what I think a little toddler still in diapers should be calling me. I’m not ready for “Mom” yet. In fact, I may never be ready to be called “Mom.” I want to be her “Mommy” for life.
I have already been preparing myself mentally for the fact that she will grow up too fast for me. Right now, she’s still chubby and cherubic-looking, but I know that in another 10 months or so, she’ll lose that chub and slim down into a skinny preschooler. She’ll figure out how to use the potty, how to pull on her underpants, and how to fall asleep on her own. And then she’ll learn to read, to count to 100, to multiply, and to download costly apps onto my iPad with the touch of a finger. And then she’ll go to school, where she’ll find friends, and then suddenly she won’t want to hold my hand while crossing the street anymore. Pretty soon after that, she’ll want a cell phone. She’ll prefer to hang out with her friends at the mall, ask to go to birthday parties and sleepovers, obsess over pimply-faced boys, and beg to see R-rated movies before she’s 17. Sometime in there, she’ll cross into sexual self-awareness and menstruation and the early stages of womanhood. And then it’ll be time for high school and full-on teenage angst and the love-hate relationship between mother and daughter (I am dreading that part). And then she’ll go to college, and our time together, where she lives under my roof full-time, will be over. 18 years is really all we get with our children, and while it seems like a really long time, it’s really not, in the grand scheme of things.
And because I know she will grow up too fast for me, I am in a hurry to enjoy her. I grab her for bear hugs all the time because I know these remnants of babyhood are so fleeting and so precious. And because I had already begun the process of steeling myself for her eventual maturation and separation from me, it just caught me especially off-guard to be called “Mom” thirteen years sooner than I expected.
It’s probably no big deal; she probably just picked up the word “Mom” from one of the older kids at her daycare (she attends with kids up to 8 years old), and if I don’t pay any undue attention to it, she’ll revert back to Mommy soon enough. This is what I keep telling myself, anyway, as I hold her tight and close to my heart.
I’d like to hear what you all think…am I making a big deal out of nothing? When did your kid(s) start transitioning to “Mom” from “Mommy?” How did you handle it?