I will remember to my last days the first time I looked at your little red lips pursing up, the concentration and light of life in your crystal blue eyes as you, almost it seemed surprised yourself at the sound that came from your mouth. Mouths opened and out popped,
As a mother I yearned for the day my little one would start communicating with me and a few weeks after Daddy claimed the title with both twins, there it was, almost a validation that yes I was your Mamamamama, now you had told me. Sounds silly maybe to some but for me this moment was so special, to hear my child who I had nursed and cuddled in the depths of the night stumble over their first attempt all the while locking eyes with me so I knew it was definitely aimed at me and not the cat on BabyTV. A rush of love so intense floored me, and as the twins confidence grew it wasn’t long before it became distinguishable as Mama. Every time they would in their very cute baby voices call me I would melt ( sure don’t they all have the most adorable voices!) I am sure they both used this to their advantage at times, “look at the one who minds us doing anything we want just because we made the sound she likes, ha ha ,here have another Mama and give us a snack”! Rascals…
And so Mama remained for months, their language developed rapidly and it wasn’t long before fully fledged conversations were being held. I found this difficult at first to comprehend how two little ones had progressed from 4/5 word sentences in a matter of months to when they were 1 and a half asking how engines work.
But one thing that remained constant throughout their journey through language was Mama. No matter what passed their lips I was always Mama, until one day I became Mammy. Ok, still cute hearing it in their little kiddie voices, I can handle this. So my children were growing up and I did mourn that soft spoken ” Mama”, it always sounded like it tripped out with a soft breath, so baby like . I could handle being called Mammy.
With Mammy came the cheeky twos though, Mammy was mixed with tantrums. It rhymes well with referee for a reason I sound found out as the twins figured out their own strengths and weaknesses. Mammy was requested more and more to intervene when sharing was clearly not on the agenda.
But a new milestone came with Mammy, this time it would completely floor me. The first real heartfelt “I love you Mammy”. The one where you feel your childs’ intense love. It knocked me momentarily as I remained locked in wonder with eyes and could have stayed in that position forever. I love yous had been said for some time, but this time had been different. It was another stage in their growing up. The one where they were confident of their emotions and in charge of them. They were showing their control over their love.
And then the day came this week, my heart broke a little I will admit. It took me a minute before I even realised the sound came from my little girls’ mouth.
No way, she is only three,this is not happening, I need to be Mammy forever. It was hard enough knowing the years of being called Mammy, if the last three years are anything to go by would disappear in a haze of early primary school and the evolution to Mam status would be on me soon enough. I am not ready for the twins to call me anything other than their Mammy.
Their inquisitive nature has over the last few weeks brought questions on what all their family members names are. Nana, Granda, Granny, Grandad, aunts and uncles, all are followed with first names now. Cousins get called cousin x to their faces. It was actually quite cute, until I realised this specific naming wasn’t just for relations, it would happen to me too. Daddy remains Daddy however…
I blame in part a very well known singer, with amazing eyeliner partly for this happening. On most car journies her beautiful voice accompanies us and the twins get excited when they hear the man on the radio saying my name. Sorry Adele, when I hear your voice coming now on the radio I switch stations.
Since my little girl broke my heart, no matter how cute the way she pronounced my name was, I lived in mothering fear that this was it, I was no longer Mammy. I have friends whose children have called them by their first names from this age and some are ok with it. Others hold the same sorrow I imagine I would hold if this was to becoming a permanent name change. It was hopefully a once off as there has been about two hundred Mammies being aimed at me since, I think my reaction resonated somewhere as much as it can in a three year old.
Maybe I am being a tad over dramatic but to me Mammy is special ,I am so thankful I hear this word from two mouths every day and sometimes too many times in a day.
But you know that Mammy you hear at the end of the day. The one where two arms or in my case four arms snuggle me and say goodnight, that has to last me until morning time ,when it begins our day as Mammy and son and daughter.