Science claims babies say “dada” before “mama” because it’s easier for their little mouths to pronounce. I call “BS!”*
Science ain’t got nothing to do with it. Nature’s not at fault. Neither is the caveman (or whoever) who came up with nomenclature for calling parents “mom” and “dad.”
So Ms. Mom, if you want to see the person to blame for your child squealing “Daddy!” for the thousandth time before you get to hear the sound of her precious voice uttering those two amazing syllables “Mom-mee,” well then just go ahead and look in the mirror, lady.
Let me explain.
I am a stay-at-home dad, and it took FOREVER for my kids to say “dada.” It was all “mamma” and “mommy” and “maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhm!!!!!” for my wife. But for this guy, who was home all day with them, tending to their every need, whim and desire? Bubkis.
“Don’t worry,” people said. “She’ll say ‘daddy’ soon.” Or, if they were being insensitive jerks, “Huh. Most kids say ‘dada’ first. That’s so weird.” Grrrr .
Both of my kids did melt my heart when they eventually cooed my name. But they sure took their sweet time about it! Why? What the hell took so long? Science (and all those insensitive jerks) told me they should have said “dada” first!
I had to come up with an answer that made me feel better about myself. And, if you’re feeling bad that your cherished bundle won’t say your stupid name, maybe you can use this same excuse. Here it is:
As the primary caregiver, you are selfless! When you’re playing with your baby, it’s never about you. You talk about your spouse. You show your tiny tyke pictures of the parent they don’t get to see all day. “Who’s that? Who’s that? That’s right! It’s daddy!!!” (Or, in my case, “it’s mommy!!!”)
Of course my kids didn’t say my name for a long time! Because I love their mother so much, I constantly talked her up. (Oh, hi, honey. I didn’t know you were going to read this.) So it was only natural that they invariably asked for her and shouted her name when she came home from work.
There it is! That is the reason your baby said “dada” first. You only have yourself to blame.
Don’t feel too bad if that
stubborn little brat adorable little darling won’t say “mamma.” It means you’re doing something right. If, on the other hand, that cherubic face did utter “mamma” first … well, then you might want to start reevaluating. (Kidding!)
Who knows why babies do what they do? I’ll tell you who doesn’t: science.**
*The views expressed in this article are not backed by any actual “evidence.” I just wanted a self-aggrandizing excuse for why my kids took so long to say “daddy.” Is that so wrong!?!
**It’s possible that “science” may know.
— A version of this first appeared on Amateur Idiot/Professional Dad.