Why Mami not Mama

“Mama, mama”┬áthose were the first words my three-year-old would blurt out upon waking up when she was two-years-old (mind you, I was pregnant.) Sometimes I would be dreaming, and her little cute voice would creep into my dream! I would say to her “go back to sleep darling,” and she would say “no mama.” She would pause for like two minutes and then she would say “mama, I want to eat.” I would get up and while fixing her breakfast, she would say stuff like “mama, apple,” “mama, oatmeal and nuts.” Always mama, mama, all-the-time! I guess with pregnancy hormones all over, and a toddler whose vocabulary was limited to 150 words give or take, I was losing my patience.

Fast-forward to a month before my third daughter came into this world, I started to think that being called “mama” all the time was annoying me way too much. I mean, there was no variation whatsoever. Why not mom or mommy too? My husband started calling her “mamas” when she was still in my womb and kept calling her that until now, so probably that has something to do with it too. So, I decided I wanted her to call me “mami,” the Spanish version of “mommy.” I used to call my mom “mami” when I was little, and even sometimes as a young adult; therefore, I think I felt more welcoming to that.

The stubbornness of a toddler

I learned that it absolutely doesn’t matter what you as a mom decide to call yourself (or as in this case what you want your kids to call you). What matters is what this toddler is used to call you or what she wants to call you. For instance, mine would refuse to call me mami. I would be like “call me mami” or “I am your mami.” She would blatantly respond “NO! mama!” or “Not mami!” It was funny to me to┬áhear this and even funnier that sometimes she would catch herself calling me mami and then rapidly correct herself to call me mama.

The beauty of being a “bigger” sister

She had a hard time remembering to call me mami sometimes but when little sister was starting to talk and call me mama, she would correct her and say “no baby, mami, not mama,” and then again just to reassure her “mami, ok?” So practice makes it better. Right? It took a little over a year to finally hear her consistently call me mami. She still calls me mama once in a while, but most of the time she calls me mami. I just smile thinking how cute that sounds on her.

What I took from this one year journey of teaching my stubborn toddler to call me mami is that no matter what she calls me, my heart melts every time, and I feel so blessed and loved.

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