For months, Rodd & I have been competing to be Scarlett's first word, bombarding the poor child with "Mom"s or "Dad"s. Being the competitive spirit that I am (not to mention the one that spends the most time & energy with Scarlett) you can imagine my excitement when Scarlett's first word was "Mom." Rodd was on the night shift, so other than reinforcing this accomplishment, I wasn't sure what else to do about it. Rodd was not around to gloat to. I had nobody to celebrate with (well that's not true, Scarlett is clearly somebody, & the dog counts too, but I'm not convinced they totally understood). So I took a video & sent it to friends & family, & spent the evening throwing frequent glances towards the computer screen to see if anyone had responded (ahh, technology can be so lonely sometimes). Scarlett continued to recite her new word, in her smug little Scarlett way, while her mom continued to encourage it.
At the time, however, I did not consider the baggage that comes along with this situation, namely, the separation anxiety. Looking back, it all makes obvious sense, but I hadn't previously made this association. In moderation, I suppose neither the separation anxiety, nor the thrill of her first word would be as taxing/exciting, but Scarlett chooses to do nothing in moderation, taking each to the extreme, making a bittersweet event out of it. With this newfound skill, "Mom" literally becomes the word...Mom becomes who she calls out to from her crib. Mom becomes the one she calls to when she's hungry. Mom becomes the cry when I leave the room. Just when you think Mom cannot be anymore in demand, Mom becomes a word. The word.
Although I don't always want to be in such high demand, I must admit that sometimes it is nice to be wanted, the only one that can calm her when she bumps her head. Plus, I get to hang on to the fact that I am Scarlett's first word, that's pretty special...well, for the moment.
But then "Mom" starts to take on a new meaning, in fact a number of new meanings. Suddenly "Mom" becomes food she eats, the toys she plays with, her dad, even the dog. Now I don't feel so special anymore. Since then she has expanded her vocablulary to "Amma" (Grandma), "Puh" (Puppy), & "Ba-ba" (Da-da), to the point that "Mom" has become just about obsolete - old news. What next? No more tears when I leave the room?
She's only 8 months old, & already I feel like she's growing up too fast. I have the feeling that I'm in this for a long haul.