She Calls Me Mama!! – Wetinuneed

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She Calls Me Mama!!

She Calls Me Mama!!

At 4 months I’d just say “mama” to her randomly.

I’ve heard many mothers talk about how their children start saying “dada or daddy” first before they learn how to say “mama or mummy”.I promised myself before I got married I’d ensure it never happened to me, so when I birthed my lovely daughter I was smiling to myself because her dad was in for a surprise.
At 4 months I’d just say “mama” to her randomly, many times a day. It continued for months, then gradually at 7 months I noticed she started making sounds similar to mama like “nnma”, “maaa” etc.

I was elated! She would say “nmaa” when she was hungry or had pooed or wanted a cuddle. It was her language and I understood it perfectly. Soon she could pronounce “mama” flawlessly. Her dad was jealous all along, the funny thing was she even started calling him “nmaa” or ”mama” too.

It was so funny. She called us both “nmaa” or “mama”. I tried to teach her, to say “dada”, but she would never repeat it. She rather said “nmaa” or “mama” with vigor.
So one day, a few months after, my hubby went to the bathroom and he put her in the sink and was singing to her. He was like “daddy is not hard to say, try it you’ll see”. So he kept on repeating daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy until she repeated it after him a while later.
It was like magic, and when she did she never stopped,  she would say “daddy” “daddy” even when he wasn’t around, all through the day.
It became annoying. She even started calling me daddy too, I was heartbroken. How could she do this to me?

We both became “daddies” in the house, no more “nmaa” or “mama”. My hubby’s laughter was worse. Wetin concern me, she called me ”mama” first, that’s all that mattered.
My neighbors didn’t help matters, they were commending her for pronouncing “daddy” so well at her age. Her dad would even chip in “she didn’t even start with “dada”, she started with ” daddy” straight on, and people would praise her even more. To say he was proud is an understatement.

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It didn’t help that our daughter was singing “daddy, daddy, daddy” every time we were alone together. Like she wanted the thing to pain me. Meanwhile, she had never called me “mummy” just nmaa and mama. We had to start teaching her to say mummy ooh, this madam didn’t bulge, she called me daddy for a while before she pitied me and started calling me mummy. After that stage, she evolved to call us both ”baby” I’m sure you are wondering why.

I and hubby call ourselves baby, so why shouldn’t she. She stopped calling us mummy and daddy and switched to “baby”. Mine was the worst, she would call me “baby, baby” every time and everywhere, it was actually sweet to hear her call me with her baby voice. But I wasn’t so cool with it, my children will call me “mummy” abeg! What is baby? So I discussed with the big baby(hubby) and we decided we wouldn’t call ourselves “baby” if she was in our midst. But hubby always forgot, I on the other hand called hubby ”daddy” so she could imitate. Since hubby forgets it was harder for her to stop calling me ”baby”. In church, it was baby, at weddings, it was baby, She needs me, It’s baby she would call. she’s crying, it’s baby.

I couldn’t give up because if I did it meant she would call me ”baby” for the rest of my life. I have a friend who calls her mum “Aunty” to date because the nannies they had while she was growing up, called her mum ” Aunty”. Her mum thought she would outgrow it but she never did, so I had to fight with the big baby and he made a conscious effort to call me “mummy” in her presence. That was how she stopped, now if she calls us baby, she’s teasing us.



Writer- Henrietta Nonye Odey
Henrietta Nonye Odey is passionate about creating a safer world for women and children. She’s an Anti-GBV Campaigner, Child Protection Advocate, and Body Safety Expert, who is working for a world where the vulnerable will be free from all forms of gender-based violence.
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