EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Mama, Mommy, Mom and Mother!

Posted on: May 9, 2011

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

There’s a saying that you can tell how old a woman is when her child calls her name.

Children are born into this world hard-wired to communicate.  Their senses are awake when they are newborns and it is their mother’s skin they smell, heartbeat they feel, eyes they see and skin they taste when a binky is replaced with a finger.  It is their mother’s voice that excites them, soothes them, reassures them and presents the world to them. 

Babies begin communicating by attentively listening to and then “replying” to the universal sounds of “aahh, oooo, oooouuuu..”.  This is actually called motherese; it is a language of love specifically for infants.  Motherese is quiet, vowel rich and melodic.  It contains no nouns or verbs. Mothers around the globe talk to their infants in this language of love while holding their babies close and forming lifelong attachments to them.

It is not long before these lovely infants begin the classic mmm  mmm  mmm.  And as soon as that happens, everyone says mama!  You are saying mama!  You want your mama, don’t you?  And the answer is Yes!  They are saying mama and they do want their mama – and the world opens up because their mama responds to this sound and helps them get to mama from mmm mmm.

Toddlers have absolutely discovered that mommy is the most wonderful word in the world.  When they say mommy this terrific lady helps them, plays with them, feeds them, teaches them.  She holds their hands while they discover their home, their family, their friends and themselves.  Toddlers have fallen in love.  They have fallen in love with their mommy. 

While preschoolers and young children move to mom, the terrific lady who answers to that word still is the love of their lives, it’s just that they have a lot more going on in that life!  Young children will be sure to put a very emphatic MY in from of mom.  And it is wonderful to know that when your child says MY mom is the best, MY mom is the smartest, MY mom is the prettiest – they truly mean it! 

As they get a little older the title of “mom” turns into what a dear friend of mine often referred to as the call of the wild.  While ‘mom’ threatened to change her name and not tell her children what her new name was…she was still totally in love with her children and they were with her.

Teenagers tell their friends that their mother doesn’t know anything (when they are counting on her to know it all).  An annoyed yell of “mother!”  is a rite of passage for both mother and older child.

When woman are adults and many times mothers themselves, now the word mother  is a title for  the woman who the world revolves around, used with admiration and awe.  It is a word reserved for the woman who loved you through the stages of life when you called her mama, mommy, mom and now mother.  A mother is the home you grew up in and the home you come back to.

“A mother understands what a child does not say.”  anon.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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