Ramona is 18 months old yet only this week uttered the word “Daddy”. For a while, around her first birthday, she toyed with Dada, but quickly discarded it in favour of “Mummio” – the big fat comical “O” on the end creating enough of a distinction for Tim to cope with.
We would play the pointing at each other game with me saying “Mummy. Ramona. Daddy.” and Ramona would reply, pointing at each one in turn; “Mummy. Mummy. Mummio.”
(I’m still unsure if all this time she is having a great joke or if she genuinely hasn’t fathomed that we are not the same person, me and her.)
But this week, obviously in celebration of Fathers Day, she has taken “Daddy” and gone for gold. She shouts it, whispers it, sings it. When she woke up from her nap one day this week she followed her gut and cried out “DADDY!” which pretty much sealed the deal.
Tim’s happiness at that dazzling sound sparking off her lips is pretty vivid.
It’s funny how just a little word like that seems to ooze meaning. It feels like Ramona’s Daddy Song is a delighted, subconscious, thank you.
A smile-in-a-word in thanks for all the things he does for her; putting grass down in replace of pavers in the garden so she can feel the soft blades between her toes, tracing the different foods the Very Hungry Caterpillar ate upon her back minute after silent minute to help her get to sleep (the swiss cheese was her favourite), building a sturdy little house for her out of an old table in the middle of the veggie patch, creating nutritious delectable morsels out of leftovers for her to wrap her newly formed molars round, throwing her up in the air and spinning her around and heaping tickle upon tickle until her squeals turn to a solemn “nooooo”, then erupting into hysterical giggles and yelling “Mooore” again. (Are they all so flighty when it comes to tickles?)
And, that small love-filled-Daddy word, it even feels a bit like a most practical reassurance that Tim halving his work hours to stay home during some days of the week is working out perfectly, that it is enjoyed by all three of us. I am pretty sure she blooms in his company (as most people tend to.)
Like kids do, within a day Ramona had nurtured her own little Daddy joke. Pointing at all sorts and shouting “Daddy!” – Postman Pat, Noah with his big grey beard and even the rotund hairy dad bear from Goldilocks. Tiny minx.
So, it came after duck, stuck, poo, yummy, yuck, mummy and baps, but a perfectly timed “Daddy” nonetheless.