As I mentioned, Jamie says "Dada", but not "Mum". Or, to be more precise, he does say it, but he doesn’t use it to mean "Mummy" – it’s one of his variations on "milk". He clearly knows what "Mummy" means when someone else says it, but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to him to put it together with the sound that he knows how to make and use that sound meaningfully – the part of his brain that translates the speech he understands into spoken speech just doesn’t seem to have kicked in yet. I haven’t bothered teaching him a sign for the word – his enormous smile when he sees me is enough of a sign for me – but I’m looking forward to the day when he learns to say it. After all, that’s one of the more heartwarming moments in motherhood.
In the meantime, Jamie has his own way of getting his point across.
Today, we were once again investigating the whereabouts of Spot. He turned out to be in the basket as usual (oh, dear, I hope that wasn’t a spoiler – don’t let your toddlers read this) and I pointed at him and told Jamie "Look, there’s the little dog! And there," I added, pointing to his mother, "is the mummy dog."
With the gigantic smile that signals his delight at having put together something in a book with something in real life, Jamie pointed straight at me.
It took me a moment for this to click – I was sitting on the dusty concrete beside the pushchair in the yard at B&Q while Barry looked for gateposts, and the intricacies of the Spot hunt and its eventual conclusion were taking up only part of my mind. But then, I agreed delightedly with him that, yes, indeed, he was quite right – just as that dog was Spot’s mummy, I was Jamie’s mummy.
Barry returned and we headed off to a different part of B&Q in the continued search for gateposts, and I settled down next to Jamie’s pushchair to read him the book again. This time, when we reached that page, he pointed firmly back and forth between the mummy dog and me. Then he twisted round in his pushchair straps and flung his arm around me and hugged me. And I hugged him back and assured him that, yes, I was indeed his mummy, and I was very pleased indeed to be mummy to such a wonderful little boy.