Me and the BoyThis is pure “cute baby” anecdote, so if you roll your eyes when a friend gushes about their kid, you may want to avert your attention. For the rest of you, keep reading.
We’ve reached an interesting time as parents. Our son, Jack, has started speaking in so much that he understands most of what we are saying and we can make educated guesses as to what he is saying.
More often we find ourselves realizing that the former gibberish is actually a mish-mash of real words, and when we get it right, he’s very proud of himself (all the more reason to get it right).
He’s been saying “Da” and “Ma” for a very long time. These are apparently two of the first noises a baby can make, well before they have ANY idea what it means. But, it’s obvious these days that I am “Da” and Margaret is “Ma”.
But there are certain variations of Da and Ma that aren’t always as clear. One such variation that I’ve recently decoded is a-ba-Da!
It turns out he isn’t trying to conjure spirits out of his stuffed animals – he is in fact talking to me. A-ba-Da seems to mean “be like da!” or some variation.
Here’s how I came to this conclusion.
It’s December so it’s cold, and while last year we could put whatever we wanted on him (he was 6 months old – not a lot of fight in him yet), this year he has decided that blankets, hats and gloves are NOT okay.
So, cold weather excursions are tough – he gets cold, he gets mad and we have standoffs over winter-weather clothing that would solve the problem. But, the other day, he started pointing to his head and saying “a-ba-da”. Now, he’s been saying this for weeks – it’s not new by any means, but this was pretty clear.
He pointed to his head, then pointed to mine (where a hat is often perched) and then back to his, yelling a-ba-Da!
So we dug out a hat similar to mine and voila! Winter hat problem solved.
Turns out that this applies to almost anything. Shoes? A-ba-Da! Sweaters? A-ba-Da! Sunglasses? A-ba-Da!
It is by far the cutest (and most humbling) thing I’ve ever experienced. The first time I realized what he was saying, I felt a shot of gooey-warm dadness work its way through my heart – this little dude was identifying himself in terms of how much like ME he was.
It’s funny because I’ve always known how important I would be. I knew it because I have parents and know how vital they have been in my development – I know that I am one of the two most important people in this little guy’s life, but it was still such a shock and a thrill to stand there as he essentially said “oh yeah, I’ll wear that hat because then I’m like dad”.
I was going to tie this back into my work – about how much power words and images have and how we identify ourselves through certain filters – but honestly, I don’t think I need to.
The message is pretty clear – as a father I have both an immense responsibility and a privilege of, at least at this age, forming this little person. Let’s just say, every single day I am ecstatic that I work at home and get to see him as much as I do. Not many fathers get that opportunity and I know I am blessed because of it (and will do everything in my power to ensure it stays like that).