A blog about the life of the Balentine family: Adam, Amy, Teddy, Simon, Thomas, Peter and Goldie

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Boy Who Called Me Mama



Teddy is 18-months old, and his vocabulary is growing daily.  Most of the things he says aren’t distinguishable by anyone but Amy and me.  Nevertheless, he’s turning into decent little communicator.  I especially enjoy the needless communication - like Teddy’s play-by-play of his ordinary daily activities.  Rarely does Teddy stand up from sitting or laying on the ground without proclaiming loudly, “upf!”  Going up stairs, getting into his high chair, or being picked up by a taller person all receive the same explanation of, “UPF!”  To keep it consistent, Teddy makes sure to announce, “down!” with the same enthusiasm when doing the opposite sort of activity.  Perhaps the best of all narratives is when Teddy lets you know he bumped his head on something.  He could be walking by a piece of furniture and bump his head lightly when seconds later he proclaims, “BONK!”

A few of the newer words are “choo choo, please, hat, pee pee, shoes, tree, grandpa (pa pa), plane and pizza pie (which is pronounced “pee pie”).”  One of his first words was “Dada,” but that turned out to be more of a noise or a mumble than anything because it faded away, and it was never really directed toward me.  Both Amy and I soon became known to Teddy as “Mama.”  We joked that we were Mama 1 and Mama 2, and the order switched based on who was giving Teddy the best snacks.  

Many, many humbling experiences occurred over the last 4-6 months while Teddy called me Mama in public.  Anytime I dropped Teddy off at the nursery during church, he would anxiously cry out for me, his “Mama,” as I walked away with a sheepish grin on my face.  There were also loud proclamations of “MAMA!” when I entered a room full of friends where Teddy was already sitting with Mama 1, and pointing a finger at me.  I always saw this as a recognition of how important the real Mama is to Teddy.  Not so sure Amy saw it that way.

Teddy’s mind is expanding into new realms, and he is noticing things he never previously saw.  The photos and the paintings hanging on the walls of our house are occasionally studied by him now.  Just recently, he noticed a black and white photo we have of a San Francisco Cable Car sitting atop a hill on the California Street Line.  He pointed to it and proudly said, “choo choo!”  

With his increased perceptivity has come, apparently, a realization that I do in fact go by a name other than Mama.  After 18-months of Amy and I making it a point to refer to me as “Daddy” and “Dada,” Teddy chose April 26, 2014 to stop calling me Mama.  I’ll never know why.  But I know my heart has been more full in the few days since he has been calling me by name.  

Tonight, while Amy was out, I put Teddy to bed.  After 20 minutes or so, I heard him on the monitor crying for “Dada.”  This turned out to be a real cry, so I went upstairs and rocked him a little extra so he wouldn’t be upset anymore.  This was the first time that I knew, without a doubt, he was crying out to his Daddy for the comfort he needed.


How much more does the God the Father love to hear us call him by name?  How much more does he love to comfort us? (Psalm 91

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