Monday, August 12, 2013

Mommy, Mama, Uncle Tom, and Uncle Lily

My plan for the first half of this week is to share a few of my favorite stories and pictures from our travels to Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin and to essentially wrap-up "coverage" of our summer vacation so that next week I can go back to complaining about the weather. Just kidding. Sort of. 

"The week starts on Monday so suck it up and have a great day. It's your chance to seize the week."           ~ Anonymous

My sister, Sara, and her kids, Lily and Carter, stayed at my parents' house - with me, Will, and Hallie - for the majority of the time we vacationed in Wisconsin. They extended what probably would have been just a weekend visit (my parents offered to provide free, overnight babysitting while Sara traveled to Chicago for a bachelorette party) to spend time with us, to bring items for and help organize our annual garage sale, and to allow my brother-in-law the freedom to pack and coordinate their family's upcoming move without having to worry about a two-year-old and a five-month-old underfoot.

Lily struggled with names on this visit. When the grown-ups spoke to Will and Hallie, we referred to me as "Mama" and Sara as "Aunt Sara". When the grown-ups spoke to Lily, we referred to me as "Aunt Erin" and Sara as "Mommy". It threw Lily for a loop that both Sara and I responded to two different names, and she periodically slipped up and called us by names that, while technically not wrong, weren't genealogically correct when they came out of her mouth. 

Sara left for the bachelorette party on Saturday morning at 9am and planned to return to my parents' house the following afternoon. At most, she would be gone for 30 hours.

Every 20 minutes for the first two hours after Sara's departure, Lily asked where her Mommy had gone and when her Mommy would be back. She didn't seem sad or worried, just curious. I reminded Lily that Mommy went out of town to visit friends, and that we would see her again the next day, after lunch. Each time, Lily accepted this answer and returned to being terrorized by or terrorizing Hallie. 

But an hour or so later, Lily completely gave up on her Mommy. Not only did she stop asking where Sara'd gone and when she would return (which in and of itself is typical toddler behavior), she stopped calling me "Aunt Erin" and started calling me "Mama".
Me and my three children.
I gently corrected her the first few times, but eventually I gave up as well. 

When Sara returned the following day, Lily's face broke into a huge grin, and as she ran into Sara's outstretched arms she yelled, "AUNT SARA!"

For the next 10 days Lily called me "Mama" and Sara "Aunt Sara" at least 75% of the time. I lost track of the number of times Sara said, "My. Name. Is. Mommy. Call me MOMMY!" 

Maybe it would be easier if Mommy and Mama could just co-exist, at least for the next couple of years or until Lily figures out familial titles...

On a related note, Lily calls Tom, "Uncle Tom", and Tom calls Lily, "Uncle Lily". It's adorable. 

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