Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Sweetest Sound

Witnessing Dylan's language development has been fascinating. I wish that I'd kept better track of it since he uttered his first intelligble word - ball! - about six months ago, because it seems like there are patterns, and then he'll totally surprise us.

When we were in Hawaii, M. and I were marveling how he seemed to be having some kind of linguistic developmental leap because each day, he surprised us with one or two new words we didn't know he knew, which was a much faster pace than before. M. confessed that he'd been keeping a list and that suddenly, it was quickly approaching 50 distinct words.

At that point, we joked a lot about how one of the words Dylan didn't know yet was "mommy." He'd been saying "dad" for months, and when you asked him where mommy was, he'd clearly point at me. But he wasn't saying it, even as he approached 100 words.

For awhile, it didn't bother me that he wasn't calling me anything. I noticed that he wasn't saying any words that began with an mmm sound. I heard from several others who said that "mommy" was not among their kids' first words. And, there were plenty of other ways I knew Dylan was attached to me.

Nevertheless, as the days that he acquired other words accumulated, but there was still no "mommy," some self-doubts crept in. (Good grief, he spontaneously said "backpack" and umbrella"!) Secretly, I worried that he'd master his nanny's name before he'd call me mommy. I wondered if there just were too many other women with spots in his heart - his grandmother, his aunties, his birth mom - and if his lack of vocal identification was a sign that I really wasn't that special to him. I didn't want to make this about adoption, but...

Shortly after returning from vacation, I came home from work to Dylan clearly calling "Momma!" Now throughout the day, there are so, so many "mommas." There's the pointing-at-something he wants momma and the that-belongs-to-you momma. There's the please-pick-me-up-momma and the where-are-you momma. Oddly, there's the red-car momma, as any red vehicle apparently reminds him of my little cherry Honda. There's the good-morning momma and the please-read-to-me momma. One of my favorites is the out-of-the-blue "momma" accompanied by an oddly placed lip smack. And you know what? All of those mommas are the sweetest sound I've ever heard.