Who’s Your Mommy?

Recently, Jon and I were getting ready to go to sleep, and he asked me what my favorite thing was about Maddie since she turned a year old. I said, “Hearing her call me Mommy and getting a hug when I pick her up from daycare.” Having been forced to read/listen to my rants about her lack of interest in acknowledging or saying “Mommy”, I know you’ll be delighted (or perhaps just relieved) to hear that she’s finally calling me by name, and not just saying my name when people point to me, but asking for me and calling to me. It’s a full-blown Ma-mee, too. She does call me Ma-ma, sometimes, but as with Jon and “Da-dee”, it’s usually the complete word, correctly enunciated and everything.
I think this is another one of those “life-moments” (that’s a really cheesy term I just used, sorry…) that you’re never fully prepared for, a moment that just barrels into you at high speed. When you have kids, or find out you’re having kids, or birth kids, or whatever context works for you, you think about the first time they’ll call you Mommy or Daddy or Great-step-aunt-Myrtle, but when it happens, oh-my-goodness, the feeling is boundless. I can’t really describe it in better terms. It just overtakes you; you can’t breathe for a second because did that just?, really?, at me?, for real? It’s addictive, this being addressed by name. We still haven’t gotten tired of it, even when it comes in the form of a whine. (Oh, and we dont’ really have a Great-aunt-Myrtle. You didn’t just forget part of the family tree. No worries.)
Now for the hugging: She’s been giving hugs for quite a while now, when you ask for them, so nothing really new there, but for the last two weeks or so, she’s been giving completely spontaneous, self-motivated hugs when I pick her up from daycare. I walk in the door, she gets excited, grins, proudly displays to me whatever toy she’s playing with, and begins toddling around the furniture toward me. She used to stop just short of my reach (she never really wants to go home from daycare–daycare has better toys) and just show me her toy before turning around and wandering off to play with the dog or the kitchen magnets. Now, however, she comes up and snuggles her head into my shoulder, just for a few seconds, but long enough for it to be a purposeful hug. I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but I see it as her way of saying, “Hey, I missed you. I don’t really want to go home with you, but if you want to stay here and play with me, that would be great. I’m just glad you’re around.” It’s nice to feel, if not needed, wanted, and the hug is one of the first signs of physical affection she’s shown us all on her own. It’s a way of saying “I like being with you, too,” when full-sentences and thoughts are a long way off. (Again, with the putting of words in her mouth. I could be wrong. She may just be resting before going back to play with the dog.)
Before I wrap this up, I must apologize, as usual, for our lack of blogging of late. This fall is gearing up to be one of the busiest on record, and of course before anyone says it, I know they just get busier. I’m aware. We did go to the zoo for the first time this Sunday, so we’ll try to get a post and a few pictures up from that, and of course, we’ll have an assortment of tailgating/football photos at some point this season. Until then, enjoy this completely unrelated, but seriously adorable, photo of Maddie that Nana snapped earlier this fall.