It’s so exciting when your child starts to speak. Life generally gets a little bit easier once they begin to communicate and a lot of frustration from the parent and child disappears. Oscar has been churning out words for a while now and just recently has begun forming short sentences. I can’t even explain how cute it is to be in another room and hear his little voice call out, “Mummy, where are you? Come back!”. It absolutely melts my heart.
So all of this has been great.
Except for one tiny thing.
About a week or so ago, I was picking Oscar up from daycare. As I walked into the room, there was another parent, picking up his daughter. As he entered the room, I saw Oscar point and turn excitedly to the girl and say, “Daddy!”. I didn’t really have a chance to say anything as he saw me come in behind the man and started yelling out “Mummy! Mummy!” So that was fine, a little awkward but not a big deal. But ever since then, he’s saying it a lot. The next day when I picked him up, we were saying goodbye to one of his carers and he said, “Bye Hannah”. Then a male parent walked past us and he yelled out “Bye, Daddy”. I corrected him, telling Oscar that he was a man, to which Oscar repeated me, saying “Man! Daddy!”
I went home with a weird feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t make sense of my feelings. At this point in the story it seems necessary to mention that this day coincided with the day Trump was elected. So I was already feeling disheartened and fragile. I sat down and had a little think about it and decided to donate a handful of Oscar’s two mum/different families style story books to his daycare room. He spends 5 days a week there and loves story time however all of the books he is exposed to, that have families in them, always have Mummy and Daddy characters. His daycare was thankful for the books and I have requested that these particular ones follow him into the next room when he moves up to the next age group.
Other than that, we’re really just correcting him by telling him that it’s a man when he point one out. So far it’s not really working but it’s only been a couple of days. The other night I was out at dinner with my Mum and sister. My Mum took Oscar to the baby change rooms to check his nappy and as they were walking away he called out “Bye Mummy” and then waved at a random guy sitting at a nearby table and said “Bye Daddy”. I was mortified. I’m not even sure if anyone else noticed but I certainly did. What has surprised me is how I don’t really want to talk about it with people who aren’t same-sex parents just in case they give me that concerned look. The look that says, ‘Hm, maybe you’re really going to screw this kid up by raising him with two mums’.
I have asked Candice how she feels about it, wondering if it was just me overreacting. She’s feels weird about it too, she doesn’t like it at all but can’t really explain why. I mean, it’s just a word and it’s clear that he just thinks that all the men he doesn’t personally know must be called Daddy. He doesn’t call any of the men in his life Daddy, only the strangers. I have to constantly remind myself that he is only TWO. At the rate he learns, by this time next month, he will know to call them ‘a man’. At least I hope so.
I guess it’s just not something that I thought we would have to think about yet. It has also made me start to wonder how we will handle things when he reaches the age of 4 or 5 and throws out that big question of “How come I don’t have a Daddy?”. We have our answers prepared and have spent so much time thinking about it and how Oscar will feel, how to ease his confusion, how to validate his feelings. Something I hadn’t prepared for however, was how it would make Candice and I feel. How we will have to be very careful to not take it to heart. To understand that he is just curious.
Reading back over this I feel like I am definitely over reacting. Perhaps I’m simply looking for reassurance. Has anyone else dealt with something similar when their child was this age? Two seems far too young to really be able to explain it to him. Does it just blow over?