“Look, Mommy! Look! Jessica! Jessica!”
My son has taken to calling me by my first name if I don’t respond to my parental moniker when he’s called it out two or three times. My ears perk up and I realize I was ignoring my darling little boy for eight seconds. Yesterday I left him asleep with the windows open in the car while I sat on the front porch with my laptop on my knees. I thought I heard a “Mommy,” but wasn’t sure if it was a kid down the street. And then, from the carseat, I heard a clear “Jessica!”
On one hand, I think this is cute and actually rather clever of my little dude. He knows how to work it. But I also don’t love just how effective this is and worry that I’m giving off the appearance of only listening to my son when he speaks to me like a peer.
And yet I’m perfectly content having my son refer to my friends by their first names, unless they object. We sometimes make a half-hearted attempt at putting “Miss” in front of their names, but not religiously. Only a few of the other kids we know have attempted to call me by my name to my face. EJ refers to all my friends by name with me, but I can’t say that I’ve heard him try to get someone’s attention by calling her name the way he does with me and, in the last few days with his dad. “John! Where are you, John?”
Hearing my name coming out of my son’s mouth has made me feel like he is much older, and every time I hear it, it makes me feel somehow different about my relationship to him. It’s kind of like how he asks, “What’s Mommy have?” when simply looking at a wrinkle on my foot. I’m seeing myself as this little toddler sees me and am not sure yet exactly what that means.
See a revised version of this piece on the July 4, 2008 MotherVerse Blog.