This past Monday was a big day in the life of my little guy. It marked Jacob’s ninth-month birthday—the month in which he will have officially spent as much time in air as in amniotic fluid.
Since his entrance into the real world (as opposed to the womb world) on October 9th, Jacob has mastered all sorts of impressive skills. He started with breathing, then advanced to being generally adorable every waking (and non-waking) moment, and now he has reached the pinnacle of all human achievements, the thing that sets us apart from the animals:
Or “verbalized” or “conversed” or “communicated with spoken word,” if you will. However you want to put it, the fact remains; he said his very first word!
Not only am I thrilled that Jacob has crossed the threshold over into the world of words, I am even more thrilled to share that his first word was about his lil ol’ mother (insert lilting accent for full effect). Yes, sweet, dutiful Southern boy that he is, his first-ever word was “Mama.”
(As a result of my little mister’s new-found language skills, I’m having difficulty with my own. I can’t seem to express anything without exclamation points …! See!)
Hearing your baby’s first word is one of those milestones of motherhood that you anticipate from the moment your little one is born. It’s a sure sign your baby is growing up, and it makes you thrilled and proud and sad and sappy all at once.
Or, at least that’s how I always imagined I would feel. How I actually felt turned out to be something altogether different. Here’s how it all went down:
I was in the kitchen, prepping dinner, while Tom did his best to perk up Jacob, who was grouchy and just wanted to hang out with his mom. Repeatedly, our little mister crawled into the kitchen, only to have Tom carry him back. This happened three or four times, until he made his way around the corner, looked up at me amid a veil of tears and exclaimed “mama.” (He then added “ma-ma-ma-ma-ma”; I imagine for extra emotional impact.)
As I scooped Jacob up and dried his tears, Tom asked me excitedly, “Did you not HEAR what he just said?! He said ‘mama.’”
My totally lame response: “Oh, that’s nice, honey.”
My response now to my response then: “OH, THAT’S NICE, HONEY?! What kind of a “mama” am I?”
The only way that I can explain my strange reply is that I didn’t really believe it could be his first word. I had been trying for weeks, months even, to get Jacob to repeat “mama” to no avail. He would randomly jabber ga-ga-ga-ga- and da-da-da-da all day long, but the “mmm” sound just wasn’t happening. I figured he just happened to let the word slip and didn’t have any knowledge of what he was saying.
But, throughout the rest of the evening, it became clear that I had been wrong. Each time he looked up at me and repeated the phrase, it settled in a little more that Jacob did indeed know his “mama.” Then, finally, out of nowhere and all at once came the happy tears and laughter and excitement. The reaction took a little longer than I expected, but it was just as sweet and wonderful a feeling as I had always imagined. No, it was even better.
It was a delayed reaction to say the least, but as they say, the longer the wait, the sweeter the reward. And, indeed, knowing my little boy knows his mama is the sweetest, most wonderful feeling in the world.