This one happened years ago now, but it’s a moment I’ve always wanted to capture in writing.
When Colt was about 2 he stopped screaming all the time. He would interact with us, his dad and I, and we struggled through his interactions with others, together. He wasn’t walking at all but he had a handful of words that he could use with some regularity, first one (lol, of course) was for his dad, ‘dada’ at that point. Now, although I realize that this could *not* have been intentional on Colt’s part, it made me absolutely green with envy. I had spent a year locked into a long, lonely, soulful battle between the medical system and my poor, unhappy, screaming, little baby, not feeling like I could ever help him yet struggling to do something anyway, and he said “dada” before even considering “mama.” I began coaching him mercilessly…
“Mmma-ma-ma-ma Colt, do you want something to drink?” I’d start every darn sentence with ma-ma-ma. The child probably thought I had gone mad. No matter how much I begged, though, he would just not say it. He wouldn’t even practice it! Just sat there, staring at me with those big blue eyes with silent resolve.
Time passed and I did not let up. Sometimes I would just say, “Colt! Please? Mmmmm-amamamama loves you SO much and would loooooove it if you’d just say mama for me?” only to be met with the same, calm stare. I tried to trick him into too. “Do you want a mmma-rshmallow? You have to try to say ‘ma-rshmallow’ first…?” No dice. Seriously, the kid was that smart, even then. I eventually decided to try another tack and just not bring it up at all. I did, he completely dismissed the whole thing and went on with his life, never calling me ‘mom’.
A few weeks later we were sitting down to Sunday dinner that included an apple pie (from scratch! An amazing feat for me in the kitchen). The whole house smelled like the pie, still warm in the oven, and Colt had been interested in it since before dinner started. He had a super-sensitive tummy as a little one and apple pie was not something on the regular diet so I didn’t expect that he would ask for some, but he definitely wanted a bite when his dad took a slice. Colt actually picked up and tried to hand over his empty plate…lol.
“You’d like some of this would you?” I smiled, sensing a chance at gaining a bargaining chip. “Okay, I’ll make you a deal sweet one: You call me “mom” and I’ll get you some pie.”
Colt picked up his plate, looked me dead in the eye and said “mom.” Just like that. No fanfare, no finish-line, just…a plate being handed to me for his serving of pie. His dad froze, smiled, looked amazed, glanced at me, and burst into laughter.
“Well, you do make a damn good apple pie…”
Apparently so. (Note to self). 🙂