Isabelle’s speech therapist, Marie, gave us several things to work on for the week of July 8th. Since Isabelle had taken to repeatedly saying the name of a girl named “Addie” she met at the pool, Marie thought we should encourage her to try words like “daddy,” “puppy,” and “teddy.” I made it my business to begin stressing those words that week.
Isabelle imitated me saying “daddy” instead of dada several times that week, but she didn’t spontaneously call Marc “daddy.” We talked about Schlepp, her teddy bear, being a “teddy.” After a few days she said, “teh-dee” without prompting. The way she said it was absolutely adorable!
We were on the phone with my mom right before the weekend and Isabelle finally added the “bee” sound to “Bubbe.” That’s right. She went from saying “Buh-buh,” which is what she called my mom for months, to saying “Buh-bee.” When my mom heard it for the first time over the phone I could almost hear the delight spread across her face.
My parents arrived at our house on Saturday afternoon. We were sitting at Sophia’s in Walden when I heard her say “Zay-dee” for the first time. That’s right. She went from saying “Zzzzz,” which is how she had referred to my dad for awhile now, to saying “Zay-dee.” I witnessed my father’s mouth and even his eyes smiling each time he heard Isabelle say “Zay-dee.”
All of us kept prompting her to say “mommy” instead of “mama” and “daddy” instead of “dada.” But those words seemed tougher to change. While she was willing to imitate the word “daddy,” she seemed less willing to say “mommy,” when referring to me. I heard “mah-mee” a couple of times, but nothing spontaneous. Plus, every time I heard “mah-mee” it was as if she were being coerced into saying something she didn’t want to say. That’s not what “mommy” is supposed to be about so I decided not to push it.
Something BIG happened on Wednesday morning before I left for Philly for a speaking engagement. My mom and I were getting ready to take Isabelle to her swim lesson.
“Are you excited to go to the pool?” my mom asked.
“Yep!” Isabelle replied.
“Who’s going to the pool with you?” I asked her.
She thought for a moment. “Bubbe!” she declared.
“That’s right!” I said. “Bubbe is coming with us to watch you during your swim lesson. Who else is going to the pool with you?”
Another pause and then, “Mommy!”
My eyes got wide and my mouth dropped open. “That’s right sweetheart! Mommy is going to the pool with you!”
“Did you hear that?” I asked my mom. “She said mommy spontaneously!”
“I did,” my mom said with a big smile.
My heart was bursting. I gave Isabelle a hug and a big kiss. “You called me Mommy!” What an incredible gift before I went away overnight.
And then I did what any 21st century mom would do. I went on to Facebook to update my status so I could share my joy with my friends.