You Can Always Call Me Mama

Shayla on pony

My daughter is growing so quickly before my very eyes. Every day she does or says something that is new to both me and her. Every summer since she was a baby we do the festival circuit. Now that she is 4-years-old, she is excited to actually go on the carnival rides. But only if mama can ride with her. She has always been a cautious child and doesn’t do anything until she is completely ready. I love that about her.

The very first ride we went on this summer was the spinning apples. “What if I throw up, mama?” she asked as we climbed into our seat. “You won’t throw up, honey” I replied, and mentally prayed that she wouldn’t because you never know with kids. And oh, what a mess that would be.

A little boy joined our apple and he was very excited and vocal. He started telling us about his daddy and how his daddy has swords and is super strong. I was impressed with his little story, thinking about how his father appeared in his head. I had to wonder if his dad really had a sword? I ask him his name and age, and then another young girl joined us. He tells us he is 6-years-old. My daughter mentions her dad, and says, “My dada is with the baby. I have a baby sister.” The little boy isn’t impressed at all about hearing she is a big sister and says, “You call your daddy, dada? Like a baby?”

My heart sank a little as I awaited her response and gazed at her to see if his remark affected her any. Nothing passes her, she is very observant and sees and hears everything. Her response was classic… she was silent. She just stared at him. He went on a bit about it and she changed the conversation as the ride started to take off. She squealed as we spun and repeated, “I am not going to throw up, I am not going to throw up.”

The kids were all shouting and I took a second to enjoy the moment, watching the joy on her face. Then I had a thought, this is how it starts. This is how it’ll be once she is in Kindergarten; the other kids potentially teasing her for something. I wasn’t ready for her to call me mommy or mom. Is mama or dada at the age of 4 really all that bad? I look at her and even though she is incredibly smart and sassy all at the same time, she is still just a little girl.

The ride stops and she is so happy, excited to get off to see her sister. She runs up to my husband and says, “Dada that was so much fun!” and kisses the baby on her cheek.

Later that night when I put her to bed we talk about how much fun we had that day. I tell her, “Do you know how that boy on the ride said that ‘dada’ is what babies say? Well, that’s not true. If you want to call us dada and mama, you go right ahead.” She looks at me with her beautiful hazel eyes and says, “Yeah, I know mama. I’m tired.”

And with that, I was so very proud of her. She didn’t question what he said. His comment didn’t bother her one bit and I would know if it had because she questions EVERYTHING. I hope she’ll always stick to who she is and what she believes. She amazes me every single day.