As a new mom, I have enjoyed all of Eleanor’s ‘firsts’. The first time she rolled over, the first time she sat on her own and the first time she stood up were all celebrated milestones. But the one I had really been looking forward to was her first word.
Three months ago, her first word arrived, and since then, I have listened as she yells “doggie!” at every canine that enters her field of vision. She says it to our own dogs, but also spots pups across parking lots, on the other side of the park and in passing cars. While on one hand I am happy that she found her voice, I am also a little insulted that her first word wasn’t “Mama”.
Her second word wasn’t “Mama” either. It was “kitty”. Here’s the kicker: We don’t even own a cat. She learned the word at my parents’ house and then discovered that we have two cat paintings at home. I actually became jealous as I watched her talk to the dogs and yell at my artwork. I assumed that “Mama” would be next on the list, which of course it wasn’t. “Daddy” popped out next, leaving me to wonder exactly where I stood in my daughter’s list of priorities.
Once in a while, when she was upset and crying, I could vaguely hear “Maaaaaaaa!”, which didn’t quite cut it for me. But then, the other day, I thought I heard it. As I put her in the bathtub, I thought for sure I heard “Mom”. Was it my imagination?
A few days later, I held Eleanor as I talked to my brother-in-law. I said, “I think Eleanor can say Mom now.” And on cue, my adorable toddler looked from him to me, and very clearly said, “Mom”. Her tiny voice nearly broke my heart. I hugged the poor child so hard that her hair was a mess when she finally wriggled free.
The rule of thumb is that by 15 months, toddlers should have a vocabulary of five to 10 words. Eleanor is 13 months now, so she’s on the right track. I know that in about 12 years, I will be wishing I could go back to the days when she only said “doggie”!