People have told me that allllll babies say “dada” first because its easier for them to pronounce. I don’t know why, but this annoys me. It’s not that I don’t love my husband or think that he is an amazing dad but I truly believe that I, mama, deserve to be the first word vocalized by the little human that my body nourished and created for over 9 months. It’s like when the baby comes out looking like their dad, and you’re not sure if that makes you happy or not. Yes, you’re grateful that the baby resembles their father to spare you the milkman comments, but you were a precious vessel to that baby for almost an entire year and the kid comes out looking like a stray to you. Genetically, there is not much you can do to alter who the baby’s appearance is going to favor, but you can manipulate their first word. And in a perfect world, all babies should say mama first.
Beau and I have been practicing “mama” since he could see far enough to read my lips. I even use the sign for mama because which ever one he learns first is a win in my book. Let’s be honest though, if he learned the sign language first that would be grounds for real bragging rights. Beau didn’t catch on to the m and ah sounds until about a month ago. He would use them, but not fluently and definitely not with purpose or association. A few weeks ago, he started mimicking me as I said “mama” and although I was delighted to hear the sound of my name come from my son’s mouth, I knew it wasn’t with intention. As eager as I was to pull out the baby book and write in big capital letters that his first word was mama, I knew that he officially had not said it. And if you were to ask my husband he would completely agree.
So, the last few months have slowly stripped me of my sanity. Beau has been sleeping like a newborn, waking up every two to three hours. I can’t remember the last time he slept through the night. I am throughly sleep deprived and at times I feel hollow and lifeless. Every night I pray that Beau will sleep even for just a longer stretch of time so I can recharge.
Last night, Beau was up for the third time. My eyes were heavy and my patience wearing thin. I was completely prepared to let him cry it out. I’m not against CIO, I’ve just never done it. Anytime I hear my baby cry, I instinctively come to his rescue. But after months of not sleeping, I was at my breaking point. I pulled the pillow over my head as I was trying to block out the sound. Amongst Beau’s cries of discontent he very clearly sobbed, “mama” and just in case I thought the lack of sleep was making me delirious, he said it again. I couldn’t have jumped out of the bed fast enough. Even my husband’s head came off the pillow. He couldn’t deny it this time, Beau officially said his first word. In the middle of the night, during my darkest hours, literally, Beau shed a glimmer of light. He didn’t sleep the through the night, but hearing my name called and knowing that I’m needed and wanted by my son makes me feel rejuvenated. Our babies are in tune with us just as we are with them and they know what we need when we need it most. I’m going to wear “Beau’s first word” like a badge of honor.