The baby gets a word in
Let’s get the obvious issue out of the way first. I’m two months old, and I can’t speak yet. Preverbal, I believe is the technical term. I’ve tried verbalizing, but my parents only hear “baby babble,” a description I find more than a little condescending.
Despite this limitation, I am quite capable of making observations and forming opinions. I am my mother’s daughter after all. For this guest post, I have allowed my musings to be transcribed directly from my mind for the benefit and enjoyment of you, the reader.
(What, were you expecting self-effacement or humility? Forget it. I’m a baby.)
The name on my birth certificate is Francesca Alice Barda-Gonsalves. I’m Hawaiian, Portuguese, Chinese, Scottish, and German on my dad’s side, and Albanian on my mom’s. Everyone who meets Mom assumes she’s Italian, which kind of gets on her nerves. Especially when she tries to correct them and they say, oh right, Armenian. (Or Algerian. Or, in one case, Abyssinian, which is actually a kind of cat.)
My parents call me Francesca or “The Baby.”
My mom’s parents want me to have a nickname but they can’t agree on one. It came up the last time Mom was on the phone with her parents.
My grandpa (her dad) asked, “How’s little Frankie?”
Mom kind of sighed and said, “That’s not really her nickname, Dad. We just call her The Baby.”
My mom actually hates the nickname Frankie, but she doesn’t want to hurt her dad’s feelings.
Then Grandma said, “She’s right dear. The name Frankie is not very feminine.”
“The Baby just fits her better,” Mom said. It almost sounded like she was agreeing with Grandma for once, which was weird.
I like being called The Baby. It implies that I am, and will continue to be, my mom and dad’s only baby. (Although I’m not taking any chances. I insist on sleeping in their room and I scream bloody murder every time they try to move me to the nursery.)
Then Mom said something that struck cold fear into my heart: “Although I guess it’ll only work until we have another one. If you have two babies you can’t just call one of them The Baby.”
Two babies? No, no, no. I’m sure Mom didn’t really mean it. It must have been the sleep deprivation talking.
Fortunately, Grandma rode to the rescue: “Molly, your optimism is wonderful, but let’s stick to reality, shall we? You were just under the wire with this one. It would be madness to try again at your age.”
You tell her, Grandma!
But then Grandma had to add, “Just do your best for little Fanny.”
Fanny! Seriously, Grandma, have you never talked to an English person? Fortunately Mom stuck to her guns and told Grandma my name isn’t Fanny either.
Anyway, if you happen to find yourself in Mahina and you see me around town, say hello. I’ll answer to either Baby or Francesca. I might even say something back.
Just don’t call it “baby babble.”
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