I’ve just noticed this on our calendar:
Seems I’m not the only one feeling a little sadness at the fact that our daughter now wants to call us mum and dad, instead of the much preferred mummy and daddy. If you know my handwriting though, you’ll notice, that I was the one who wrote ‘dad’ in the first place, having long since accepted our daughter’s bid for maturity. It seems daddy is the one who isn’t quite ready for his baby to take this step- what next? Calling us by our christian names? Its always freaked me out a little, those kids who call their parents Frank and Jean, like they’re close personal friends instead of the people who created them. ‘Parent’ is an important title, so does it really matter if we’re mum and dad, ma and pa or even parent one and parent two?! Actually, yes, parent one and parent two is a little Dr. Seuss and more than a little odd, but I hope you can see what I’m getting at. Any variation of our parenting titles is acceptable, as long as our children continue to view us in the same way.
In our house, mum still cuddles just the same way that mummy used to. Its still mum who is called upon to perform mummy’s duties in the night when there’s been a bad dream or a vomiting incident. Its still mum who cleans the loo and irons the school clothes on a Sunday night. I have to confess though, mummy secretly never ironed much at all, because her children were too young for school and therefore had no need for pressed clothes. Ironing is totally mum’s bag, not mummy’s. And as for dad. Well, he still puts the bins out like daddy did, he still tickles, plays games and cracks the same old jokes day and night. Not much has changed and yet it is changing all the time.
This little calendar battle speaks volumes on the ever evolving relationships we have with our children. Its all about our daughter wanting to be a grown up and us accepting that this is the case. Its all about how we, as parents, need to let her go and grow and leave behind her baby-ness. Its all about that thing that parents do, when they want to hold on to the last vestiges of children being babies.
Our daughter is always asking us, ‘Why do we have names?’ and we are always telling her that names are important so that we know who we are speaking to, they give us an identity. When we were choosing names for the children, it struck us what an important job it really is. Our daughter has my nanna’s first name and my mother in law’s name as a middle name. Our son wasn’t named after anyone (well, his middle name is my father in law’s name) and we could never agree on any names at all whilst I was pregnant. I had one name and one name only would do. It was SO important to me and dad/ daddy/ the argumentative one didn’t like it. In fact, up to the minute where we thought it was all over, we still hadn’t agreed. The baby’s name was only decided after my husband was faced with the sight of me with tubes down my throat and machines beeping… sometimes it takes an image like that to make you realise. A name is a name but its also just a name. Its the important stuff that person does that makes them fit their name.
Our daughter wants to call us mum and dad. We want mummy and daddy. But its all the same really. We’re still the same people.