The Name Game

(I would like to apologize in advance for how disjointed and all over the place the following entry is. I kept getting distracted so it was written in about 15 different stops and starts and "wait, what was I talking abouts?")

(This is all Kate Middleton's fault, OBVIOUSLY.) 

Ike had one of those awesome little toddler language explosions on Friday. I mean, he literally woke up Friday morning and started stringing all sorts of new words together. Or maybe the words weren't new, but the fact that they sounded like actual words and not like, AGGLE GUH FUFFFUFF? MUH HUBLA? was pretty exciting. 

(Especially because prior to Friday, his language development was semi-officially starting to lag for a two year old. I had one speech-delayed toddler and one who spoke in paragraphs. Ike's so far managing to skate right through the middle at a completely different pace, just to prove to me that I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ANYTHING.)

"I'm full," Ike suddenly said, 10 minutes into a nice lunch out with me and Noah. "Go home."

(Ezra was enjoying his final day of Superhero camp at the YMCA [*bites knuckles*] and we'd just gotten Noah his first big-kid, non-shaggy-bowl haircut. He picked it out himself. It requires POMADE. And STYLING. God HELP ME.)


(It's now basically Jason's hair on a blond-ish mini-Jason person.)


(Meanwhile, Ezra's hair is nearing the bottom of his eyeballs. His mother should really do something about that.)



Anyway, I mention the language explosion not SOLELY to be a parentbraggy asshole (and yet...), but mostly because tragically, awfully, heart-through-the-meat-grindery, it appears that "Mama" is now a thing of the past. For real and good this time. 

Ike's "Mamas" were the best Mamas, for the record — he said it ver.y. and spe.cif.ically, with a little high-pitched, baby-voiced staccato. "Hereyougo, Ma MA?" he'd say whenever he handed me something, emphasizing the last syllable like a question and I don't know why but it killed me. It killed me every time he said it. Ma MA? Ma MA. Ma MA!

What's even worse, Ike has decided to springboard right over "Mommy" and now calls me "Mom." I do not approve. 

"Mom!" he says, "MOM MOM MOM." 

He's so PROUD of himself that it's almost infuriating. I can't be mad, I can't not respond to it, I can't bring myself to pout and try to guilt-trip him back into Mama. I tried to convince Noah and Ezra to at least go back to Mommy for a little bit for peer pressure reasons, but they were all, "Woman, plz. Go get us some damn juice."


(They didn't really say that. It was more of a combination of eyerolls, vacant stares and studious ignoring. Moms, amirite?)

(Oh, how I will miss being Mama. Everybody go record your baby saying it right now, because POOF. Gone.)




At 41 I make a point of calling my 74-year-old mother Mama. The value-add bonus is my 11-year-old still, occasionally, calls me Mama <3


My husband slips up and calls me Mom to our daughter and I have no issue correcting him. If our daughter calls me Mom I do not understand. I am not Mom. I am Mama or Mommy. We all have to chose our own hills.


*err, do not answer / pretend I do not understand she's talking to me


My eldest just turned 2 and I've morphed somehow into Mommy. I miss being Mama! (Word. on the parentheses, love it)


I was born and raised in Texas, and until recently, had no idea that "Mama" is considered to be a baby-word in most placed.

I'm 45 years old, I have a Mama, and I always will be Mama.


Unless, you live in the south..then you can always be Momma!

Erin Miller Tosspon

I was so sad when my boy stopped calling me Mama.
Now he's a 17-year-old-almost-man and he's taken it up again. Melts my heart to hear it again!


Lol. .. Mama is usually what sticks here, or maybe mam. That's because there are not a lot of other options in my language. He does dada for daddy which is funny because that's not usually what they say as it's papa in our language.


It might be because I called my parents by the 1st names, and felt it gave us something special, that I don't mind what my daughter calls me. I'm mostly "maman" (in french), or Myriam, or if I don't pay attention, it turned into "MOM!!!". Dad is "Papa", but most of the time, he is now Alex.


(Jazz hands!)

Those boys are just beautiful. Doesn't your heart break when you see them all lined up on the sofa? (Or only when you look at photos after they're in bed, because in real life they're too busy haranguing you for juice?)


At least he still has his baby hair. Also, if you call yourself mama or mommy, won't it stick? (if you ever talk about yourself in the 3rd person)


My son just got a new hair cut that requires styling. Now I can't just tell him to get dressed then go downstairs. I have to wait for him to slowly get dressed so that I can style his hair. Has made us late almost every morning.


Texan here - I'm 53 and my adult children call me Mama, I call my 79 year old mother Mama, and she called her mother Mama until she died at 91. God bless Texas!


My Ike is only one and he seems to already be trying out Mom and Mommy. I always answer back, you mean Mama? I did get a couple of videos over the past few weeks. Hoping it's just language experimentation and not a transition already!


When our daughter was a little over 2 my husband taught her that when he says "are you so smart" she should reply "and beautiful" and it was BEYOND ADORABLE. She's done this for months to anyone who says it. I said it the other day and she didn't reply. I tried all weekend to get her to say it and nothing. She's almost 3 now, so maybe its just part of the I-Refuse-To-Cooperate Phase, but my first realization was that I never got it on video! So YES! Go! Do it now before they up and change the rules on you - again!

kelly g

We are still mama and dada when addressed directly by our almost 8 year old, but when referred to in conversation with others we are "my mom" and "my dad." Both of us refer to one another as mama and dada to each other and in the third person. I like being mama.

cagey (Kelli Oliver George)

Even though they are 7.5 and 6, my kids still call me Mama. My goal is to never, ever be called Mom, but that is just a personal preference.


Oh, I so feel you on the Mama angst. My older son never called me 'Mama.' Not one time. He had a speech delay and articulation issues, one of the hallmarks of which was that he left the last syllable off of many words. So I was 'Mom' from the time he could talk. And my father, who we were trying to call 'Papa,' became 'Pop.' That one was cute, but I've never liked 'Mom.' My 18mo boys are calling me 'Mama' now, and it makes me ridiculously happy, but I don't hold out much hope that it will last. Oh, and one of my twins has a head full of crazy blond ringlets and I will cut anyone who gets near him with scissors.


Both my boys, right around age 13, started affectionately calling me Momma again. It's a term of endearment and a mode to butter me up if they want something really big. It works.


I fully support your never never NEVER wrt Ike's hair. My younger had curly hair. Until I got her a haircut. They cut them off, and the curls never came back. She now has straight hair like her sister and her mama and her daddy. :( Never cut curly baby hair!


I'm also with you on Mama. I have told the kids that if they ever want to drive a car or go to college the words Mom and Mommy and Mother must never pass their lips. I am Mama. Period. ;)


My just over two year old very vocal girl is still saying mama... and my four year old does too, when she's not trying to be all big and everything. When she started not saying it every two minutes, I totally missed it :*(

I better go tape my baby now...


Sadz on the Mama thing. My son who is 8 months old has started making noises. He does the babababa thing and then this weekend did the mamamamama thing. Like BEFORE dadadada. My heart melted into a puddle (even though I know he's just making noises). I'll cry when he stops saying Mama one day. I just know it.


My 13 year old son asked if he could call me "Mother". My mom always called her mom "Mother" so I told him I have no problem with it. It was cute that he asked me.


Oh, man, RIGHT? My 20-month-old has been calling me "Mom" for ages now. And she's never even heard anyone else call me that! Sad face.


My "baby", age 42, still calls me Mama. I can not tell you how much I love it.

Bailey R.

My 13 month old son has the same beautifully messy head of curls going too and I don't think I'll ever bring myself to be able to cut it. Glad it's not just me!!!

Sassy Apple

My friend had her youngest record their answering machine when he was about 8. He just graduated from high school, and my heart still melts when I call their house and hear his chirpy little voice.


Move to the south as other have said. This Appalachian girl has a Mama and is a Mama. Forever.


My toddler went through a serious "mom" phase for around 4-5 months (at the same time, Mama became the word for Grandma just to fuck with me) but in the past 2 months or so has reverted back to Mommy and I will cling to that Mommy with a death grip. Especially because he says it in this completely delighted tone of voice, complete with exclamation point on the end, when I come home from work. He never loved me that much when I was home tending to his every need, then it was all "pffft, where's Daddy, that guy is where it's at"

Becca Lynn

Ugh. Do I feel you.

My 3-year-old just started calling me 'Mom' like a full-fledged 16-year-old. "Moooo-oommm". Stop it. Mama was not prepared for to be 'Mom'.


Please allow me to congratulate you on your husband's current Will-Riker-sexy appearance. That is all.


PS - Yer little 'uns are cute too. Please don't ban me. kthxbai


When he was 3, my son experimented with calling us by our first names (we have never called each other mommy and daddy) ... my husband didn't care, so he continues to occasionally call him by his first name. I immediately corrected him, and made a point of telling him (in front of his daddy) that I am MOMMY and DON'T CALL ME ANYTHING ELSE. That seems to have done the trick. It probably helps that he hears me call MY mother Mommy. I am hoping this rubs off on the baby, although she has decided to tick me off and say DADADADADADA before MAMAMAMAMA :(


The 12- and 9-year-olds still call me Mommy as does the boy. However, the 12 yr old considers it funny to sometimes say Mother (OH. HELL. NO.) The boy thinks that is hilarious: Mudder! Mudder! Come back in here, mudder, I need more of this stuff on my plate. Pasta. He needed pasta. And I got it. Because of reasons not related to Mudder.

I am the idiot mother who glares at them when they don't call me Mommy when they're being serious.


oh! Again with the perfect timing. M was calling me mom all vacation! It was making me so sad. BUT, the dog at my in-laws' house made him so frightened that he curled into a little ball in my arms the whole time. Baby cuddles from my toddler counteracted the whole BIG KID thang.
Then we came home, and he is all independent and sleeping in his big kid I am doing what I swore I would not do...secretly wanting another. lol.


My oldest is my stepdaughter, and her mom had an issue with her calling me mom (and I completely understood...never told her to, she just wanted to) so she decided to call me Mama. Since she always called me mama, the younger two do as well. 16 years later, if they're talking about me to their friends, I'm their mom, but when they call me, I'm Mama. And I'm so good with that :)


I think girls are different. My 9yo girl still calls me Mommy and Mama. But only when we're at home, never in public.


I am mama to my 13 year is the only name he has ever called me. I guess it is a southern thing? I picked mama when he was born and that is all I ever will me.


Am I the only one who thinks MUH HUBLA sounds like something you'd buy at IKEA? Perhaps he's putting together a shopping list for you.

I am Mom (unless I am instructing them to say "No thank you/yes please, Mama), my mother is Mom, but my dad will always be Daddy to me and my sister. Being from Missouri I always get half the "Southern" things.

Those curls are adorbz.


I don't get the whole "mom" v. "mama/mommy" thing, since either/or works for me. However, one of my granddaughters who is 2.5 has taken to calling both me and my daughter by our first names. Her dad is "daddy," but we get the honor of being called by our first names. Irritates my daughter to no end, but I think it's hilarious!


Curly haired babies 4EVA :)

Against all genetic odds my 15 month old is blessed with similar golden curls. I love them, and people constantly compliment his gorgeous curls. So why then is every male in our family obsessed with the idea of cutting his hair? When we talk with my FIL that is one of his first questions - "have you cut his hair yet?" Answer: No. Nononono.

I've promised to consider cutting it after some family photos next month (but not really).


I blame Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood for my baby's Mom. That's what Daniel calls his mama. As soon as we saw a couple of episodes, I wasn't Mama much, though he still says Mama hold you? When he's tired.


My 16-month old boy had trouble with initial m sounds when he first started making words, so I am Bop. I was Bob for a glorious week, and it's been Bop ever since. I was fairly meh about it at first. But he's just at the point now where I think he could transition to Mom if that's how others referred to me, so of course now I can't stand the thought of not being Bop anymore.


My turned fourteen years old yesterday son STILL calls me Mama (just not in front of his friends). I don't ever want it to end!

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