Friday, March 26, 2010

Learning names

Before Sassy was born, someone gave us a little baby-proof picture book. The cover says something about "people who love me," and there's pockets for your own pictures of family members and friends to be inserted. I thought this was such a great idea, and I even remember noting while I was opening the gift that one of the slots could be used for FirstMom's picture.

Even though Sassy's baby days are quickly slipping away (some would argue that, at age two, there's very little "baby" left in her), we'll still pull out that little baby picture book from time to time. We go through it and discuss who is in each picture. It's also interesting to let her figure out who that baby (at varying stages) is with all of these people she calls her family.

There's a picture framed in her bedroom of FirstMom holding Sassy the day after she was born. Occasionally, I'll point it out and ask her who that is. She knows now and can tell me FirstMom's name. She doesn't yet understand that she is the baby, all swaddled in nursery blankets.

We talk about "who" FirstMom is to her, as much as is possible at a young toddler's level. We practice various "terms," trying to try them on for size, if you will. I don't yet know which one will fit. As an adult who is fully secure in who I am to my child and that no one can ever take her from me, I'm personally a fan of "first mom," just because it's true. It makes sense. It's honest. But, from the position of my young child, who isn't yet old enough or mature enough to comprehend (even in part) what it means to be adopted (thereby having a complete "other" family before the family she knows now), I don't know that I'm ready to commit to one particular term above another for her sake.

I've noticed lately that as I ask Sassy who someone in a particular picture is, she'll almost certainly reply with FirstMom's name. Even if it's someone who looks NOTHING like her. Even if it's a picture of Sassy herself as a baby. She says her name with a questioning tone, but looks at me with a proud grin.

Why is this? Why has FirstMom become her default guess? I'm not bothered that she knows her name; after all, this is what we've been practicing, right? I don't think it's appropriate to bring her up daily at this point, but I also don't want my daughter to feel blindsided by new information someday. But why does she make this same guess each time?

Maybe it's time to back off from learning names for a while.

No comments:

Post a Comment