Virtually every first time mom I know has the same complaint when it comes to their baby’s first word. From Accra to Amsterdam, the first word a baby invariably utters is “daddy” in some shape or form.
My Indian friend’s children said “baba” first.
My friend in Germany’s daughter broke her vocabulary cherry with “papa” just last month.
Here I sit in Atlanta, and my son of 10 months can say two words. “E’ (as in the letter ‘e’) and “Daaadeee”.
Why is this so disconcerting to a first time mother? Well, it’s very simple. You spend nine months battling morning sickness, constipation, diarrhea, consti-di, food cravings, food revulsion, stretch marks, sleepless nights, hair loss, weight gain and swollen feet for that little sucker to come out and show his/her appreciation for all that you suffered by uttering “Daddy” at the first chance they get? To add insult to injury, the baby addresses you as “Daddy” as well. How is that fair??
I’m here to tell you first time mom’s, it’s completely fair. In fact, it’s right…And it’s the way things were meant to be.
My dad likes to quote the Bible and remix the versus to suit his needs. In a recent conversation, he told me that “the foolishness of God confounds the wisdom of men.” (I looked it up, and it’s actually in the Bible. Go Dad.) God, creator of heaven and earth in all His foolishness knew precisely what He was doing when He commanded babies’ first word to summon/acknowledge their fathers. It’s taken me 4 pregnancies to figure it out, but here’s why:
You and your hubby/partner/shag buddy are asleep in bed. It’s been a long day for both of you. At 5 am, 2 hours before you’re even ready to crack your eyelids, your precious baby calls from his crib in the other room.
At this point, a novice mother would leap dutifully from her restful slumber to attend to the needs of her offspring. His father snores on.
Not the woman who has had 3 other children. She ignores the cry altogether.
The child raises his voice, more insistant this time.
“Baby’s calling you, ” says Master Mom.
“Mmmm…?” says Confused Dad sleepily.
“Baby’s calling you,” she repeats. ” I know he means “mommy”, but he said “daddy”… so get up and see what he wants.”
Realizing that this is not a battle he’s going to win at this hour, the previously proud papa pads into his son’s room to figure out how he can get the boy back to sleep. Pleased that his calls have summoned one adult (even if it’s not the one he intended) the baby squeals with delight and bounces up and down. He signals that he’s ready for milk and to start the day. His father sighs and takes his son downstairs. In the next room, the veteran mother closes her eyes tightly, burrows deeper into the covers and continues sleeping.
THAT is why a baby’s first word is “daddy”, “baba”, whatever. Because for the next 30+ years, the only name that is going to come out of your heathen child’s mouth is “Momma”. So take heart you new moms, use this God-given tool wisely and enjoy the respite while you can!