They Call Me Mommy — Most Of The Time

By Kelly

I will never forget the first time it happened.

It was around 7:00 PM on a sunny summer evening. I asked Natalie, then two years old, to call her Daddy inside for dinner. She went to the window, looked out toward the lake and yelled, “Coh-ee! Dinner ready!”

It was as startling as it was funny. Up to that point, she had never called us anything but Mommy and Daddy. We didn’t even know she knew our real names.

But in hindsight, it made sense. Natalie had listened to us call each other Kelly and Corey. She called her baby brother Connor. Why not venture into the adult world of names and call Daddy what everyone else called him?

I was reminded of that episode last week when my current two-year-old, Teyla, started to issue requests to “Keddy.” I took me a few minutes to figure out what she was saying (I have an infant; that’s my excuse), but when I did, I laughed and said, “I’m not Kelly. I’m Mommy.”

“No,” she furrowed her tiny eyebrows at me, hands on her hips. “You Keddy.”

Since then, it’s become a daily routine. She calls me Mommy or Momma most of the time. Then, suddenly, she whips out the new skills and says, “I Te-ya. You Keddy.”

“Kelly is my name,” I counter, “but you call me Mommy.”

“No Mommy. Keddy.” She says firmly and walks away.

It’s an odd thing, now that I think about it. Only parents and grandparents are offered these tender titles that bespeak their life role. We don’t call our siblings Brother and Sister (unless we want to annoy them), and no one outside of rural Kentucky says Cousin John or Cousin Julie.

I don’t care if my kids occasionally call me Kelly (or Keddy), because I know it’s just their way of reaffirming their place in the world.

As long as they always go back to calling me Mommy. Because as much as I like the name Kelly, the title of Mommy is sweeter still.

Mommy, er, Kelly blogs at Love Well.

8 Responses to They Call Me Mommy — Most Of The Time
  1. Tara
    August 11, 2010 | 2:37 pm

    Except for Unca Jon!

  2. melissa aka equidae
    August 12, 2010 | 4:57 am

    oh gosh that is so sweet 🙂 its true we expect certain things from our kids that in the end it is not the norm unless you’re a kid kinda thing!

  3. Beck
    August 12, 2010 | 9:17 am

    It’s funny, isn’t it? Over time, I’ve watched myself go from Mama (the very sweetest), to Mommy, to Mom and now to the exasperated, stretched-out “MO-THER!” And it’s all so funny.

    I have cousins that are still an active part of my life, and when they visit, the kids call them “Cousin Ben” and such because it feels inappropriate for them NOT to have a title, you know? BUt yes, it’s a strange thing to do.

  4. Anita Jo
    August 12, 2010 | 3:00 pm

    Isn’t it great to get these glimpses of how their minds are working and making new connections all the time?

    Reminds me of when I was a kid and my cousin went through a phase where he called my dad “Uncle Daddy.” Perfectly logical when you think about it. He knew my dad was his uncle, and he heard my sister and I call him Daddy, so voila: “Uncle Daddy.”

  5. Sue Pierce
    August 13, 2010 | 2:34 pm

    This post reminds me of some Shakespeare stuff. You know, the whole what’s in a name question. Well, I guess it’s not only what’s in a name, but how it’s said. Very interesting stuff. Thanks for your post. You should come check my stuff out.

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