So named by my 3 year old son, who apparently believes in the economy of parental naming. He calls both his parents “Mom.” And he has been doing it since he started calling us anything, a couple of years ago.
My son has the best sense of humor of any 3 year old I know. His Mom agrees with me on this. Granted, I don’t know too many kids that age — most of my contemporaries have kids in college or grandchildren — but of the ones I know, he’s definitely the funniest.
So the first mistake here was laughing in front of him when he called me Mom that memorable first time. I was just grateful that he was calling me anything. You would be too. When you hear your only son, born on the year of your fifty-first birthday, address you, you go softer than at any other time in your entire life — even if you’re being called by the wrong parent designation.
I laughed the second time also. The third and on and on. I even told my friends, in between chuckles, that the kid was calling me “Mom.” They thought it was funny as hell. And I continued answering to Mom until about a year ago. That’s when I got him to call me by my rightful name: Papa. Which he did, just that one time.
When I insisted, he smiled and called me Mom again. His sweet, mischievous little face thoroughly enjoying his power. The toddler wheels turning: “Mom = funny! Papa = predictable — not funny. I’m sticking with Mom, sorry.” I try reasoning. No go. I called him by a name other than his own, hoping to teach him a lesson about identity. No go. Toddlers have little room for reason. Instinct and spontaneity are their main tools. That and cuteness, of which this kid has deep reserves.
So that’s one of the games that my son and I are playing these days. He’s enjoying this one more than me.
We’re also beginning to play catch. “Mom” is enjoying this one more.