Thursday, October 26, 2006

Do Not Address Me So Informal

For a long time we've been pointing at one another in the family and asking the kids, "Who's this?" Thomas was pretty quick with "Dad-DEE" and "Mom-MEE," and "Gwa-CEE" followed not long after. Now he can recognize and name almost anybody in our extended family, and even a few adopted "aunts" and "uncles." What took him a while to figure out was that he had a name too! It's a little tougher for him to get out, just because Thomas is a harder word to say than Mama. But get it out he does, and with obvious pride. "Tah-us!" he says, ducking his head and grinning.

So the other night Mommy went out to do some shopping, and I took care of the kids' evening routine. Sarah was in bed, Thomas and I had had our wrestle and our story, and it was Diaper Time. Of course, Diaper Time is the cue to engage in all sorts of silliness, possibly in order to distract from the reality that his "dirty deeds" are being exposed for all to see. I had barely begun the unveiling when Thomas happily began to chant, "Mommy. Mommy. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!" Not being Mommy, but being perfectly willing to join in the fun, I replied, "Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy!"

That was the wrong thing to say. Thomas's brow furrowed, his nose squinched up, and his lips pouted. "Noooooooo," he plaintively protested. "Tah-us."

It actually took me a couple of seconds to realize what had just happened. My barely-talking son knew what I had said, knew that it was a mangling of his name, and knew that he did not like it. "Thomas?" I apologetically queried.

The sun came back out, birds began to sing, and all was right with the world again. "Heehee," Thomas giggled. "Yaaaay."

I was thrilled. Not only because of Thomas's comprehension, but because Aubrey and I don't care much for "Tommy" either. It had just been a rhyming fit at the time, you know? Maybe he gets some of it from me. Apparently I refused to allow my name to be shortened to "Josh" until I got old enough to introduce myself and realized that two fewer syllables to spit out could be a good thing. If Thomas comes to the same conclusion, at least "Tom" won't be too bad. But don't call him Tommy!

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