Last week my wife was sick. So sick that she could hardly get off the couch for about three days. So sick that that she never entered the kitchen. This is a first for her—and for me. I had to feed the baby and myself. I had to clean stuff. I changed all diapers and mixed all formulas. For three days I became Daddy-Mommy. I had to do the job of two parents.
My one-year-old son formerly had the habit of calling his mother with an upward inflection—like “ma-MA, ma-MA”—indicating that he wanted something. He called out his father’s title with a dreamy “DA-daaaaa, DA-daaaaa”—indicating adulation. But as I became the purveyor of all things culinary, that changed. I heard, “Da-DA, da-DA, da-DA!”
And when I wasn’t quick enough with all things culinary, “Da-DAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!”
Finally my wife emerged from her stupor and stumbled up to the door of the kitchen. She peered in.
“Hmm…” she said. “I can tell I haven’t been in the kitchen for three days.”
I replied with mock indignation, “Hey, who’s the mommy around here!”
At that very moment, my son in his high chair exclaimed with a big smile on his face, “DA-DA!”
DSS will be happy to know that I have relinquished my role as Daddy-Mommy and have returned to “DA-daaaa” status.
A wonderful story! You hook the reader, build up to the dénouement, and then finish it off with a flourish. Or should I say, Aden does.
I’m not sure why, but our baby still calls me (and all adults, generally speaking) “ma-MA,” not just his real one. Maybe it’s because we’re trying to teach him that I’m “pa-PA” (we’ve never used Dad/Daddy). He did say “MA-ma” all the time before, which misplaces the stress in Spanish, as you know. He gradually corrected it to “ma-MA” but in his case it never seemed to be tied to who provided for his needs and desires or who was simply the object of unquestioned adulation.