Day 6 of my 500 word a day writing challenge. The instructions: tell a story through someone else’s eyes. I chose my six year old son.
I look at her. "Mama." What a baby word.
Why are you calling me Mom now? she asks. She just doesn’t get it.
I carefully explain. When I’m outside, I’m going to call her Mom. I don’t want the other kids to make fun of me. “Mama” is for babies. “Mama” is what Abhaya said when she talked about her mom, and some kids made fun of her. I don’t want them to make fun of me. So, she’s “mom” in front of my friends.
But there’s “mama belly.” It’s definitely not “mom belly.” Mama belly is the best. Warm, soft, yummy. I rub my head on mama belly. I feel good. Safe. No ouchies when there’s mama belly. I don’t ever want to stop mama belly when I start it. But Mama wants me to. And sometimes she won’t let me even do mama belly.
But back to mama and mom.
But when we’re inside, I explain, I’ll call you Mama. No one else will hear it.
She seems confused.
What about Dada? Will he become “Dad” when he’s outside?
I think about it. No. I don’t call him that much. That doesn’t matter as much. She nodded.
The thing is, I’m getting big. I’m not a little kid anymore. But I’m not a big kid yet. Sometimes she’s Mom. Sometimes she’ll be mama. And sometimes I don’t know what she is, but I just miss her and want to do mama belly. It’s like I just want to crawl inside her and snuggle up all nice and warm.
Why do kids make fun of someone who says mama? she asks. Does it matter what you call your parents?
They’ll make fun of me, mama. I say. That’s the worst. It’s like kisses.
She looks confused. What about kisses, she says?
Kids make fun of people who like kisses?
Who makes fun of kids who like kisses? Ellis? Aston? Bennett?
Sigh. Just Ellis. He says, Ewwwww!
Who cares what he says. I mean, I bet most kids in your class like kisses.
That makes sense. I mean, I like kisses. So, I say, If all the kids went up to Ellis and told him they like kisses, they’d win.
And that’s how it works. I guess most kids do like kisses.
Maybe if they say something, you could just say, ‘Whatever. I like kisses.’ Something like that, Mama says.
I imagine kids making fun of me and feel bad. Then, I imagine Mama giving me kisses, and I feel good. Much better.
She smiles. What if I just smothered you in kisses and then called you my sweet baby boy and said, ‘I’m going to kiss your cheeky weekies.’ What about that?
Mama gets very very silly.
Nawwww! I squeal. She nuzzles my neck and cheek. Cheeky weekies . . . And now she’s getting really silly, telling me all the super cute things she’s going to do in front of ALL of the kids. She can’t be serious. I have to check.
Are you serious? I ask.
I’m cereal, she says. And smiles. Very cereal.
And that’s mama.