Lots of Moms have doubts. Doubts about whether they are feeding their child the right foods, whether they are spending enough time with their kids, whether they are good examples for their child, and just plain ol’ doubts. I swear, I might have given birth to M, but I quickly became pregnant with doubt, guilt, and worry.
Lately, something happened that made me doubt myself as a parent. M, at 16 months, has never said “Mama.” He says plenty of other words: dog, train, car, glasses, etc. However, he refuses to say Mama. He says Baba (Dad) repeatedly and looks into my eager face and says Baba and points to his Baba. He does it unprompted. Even after numerous appeals, cajoling, and bribing, he refuses to say mama until yesterday...sort of.
My sister's daughter, Vy, calls my sister, “Me Huong.” (Me means Mom in Vietnamese and Huong is my sister's first name.) They did this because my niece kept calling my mom, her grandmother, Me after hearing all of us say this. Vy, my neice, now says “Me Huong” to describe which Mom she is referring to because the room is often times full of Moms.
After trying to get M to say Mama so many times and failing miserably, my husband randomly suggested that we should try "Me Thuy.” Both of us started laughing until M picked it up immediately. In fact, right after my husband made the suggestion, M instanteously began repeating it because he was in the car with us. What's more, M has dropped the Mom part completely, calling me, Thuy. Just Thuy.
It’s funny but so heartbreaking for me too…I thought I was supposed to be the center of his world. Is it because I work too much? What am I doing wrong? Should I have worked harder at breastfeeding him longer? Is he still pissed off that I sleep trained him at 4 months? Is this what other working Moms go through? Do I say “no” too much? Why can’t I be a bigger person and just let Dad be the center of his world? These are the series of questions I ask myself, but am not able to answer.
That’s the thing about being a Mom, or a parent for that matter. There’s no clear answers, no algorithms, no formulas, and because I’m so logical, I can’t seem to accept it. Does Not Compute. My brain can’t comprehend why I’m not number one.
I’m not without hope, though. At least he knows who I am, if not by title, then at least by name. We’re apparently on first name basis.