I always hoped I would be there to witness my baby’s first word.
It happened today. I was there.
But I missed it.
Olive and I took our 8-month old Allie with us as we met with some friends for lunch today. After we parked the car, I got out and took a look at Allie in the back seat. She looked at me with a smile and said…
That’s what I thought she said. I actually couldn’t hear her because I was outside of the car and she was inside. But Olive confirmed what I thought. When Allie saw me, she looked at me and said “Da da”.
I was skeptical at first. Allie has babbled quite a bit for the last few months. She’s said “da da”, “ah”, “mmmm”, “ma ma”, “oh”, “wo”, and various other baby noises. She actually says “da da” quite often, but usually she is looking at her feet or staring at the floor or just not looking anywhere in particular. So we can’t count that as her saying her first word – it’s just babble.
When she said “da da” today, I wasn’t sure if she was looking at me or the window or my hair or a bird flying behind me. I hoped that it was me, but it seemed too good to be true.
But then she did it again. At the gas station after lunch. I walked out to gas up the car and looked into the back seat. Allie looked at me, smiled, and said “Da da” again. And again, because I was outside of the car, I couldn’t hear it. But I was certain this time. (And Olive again confirmed that this was true).
Allie’s first word was “Da da”.
There’s something special about hearing my child call me for the first time. It’s the confirmation that my child knows me and recognizes me. Finally, after 8 months of changing diapers, rocking a crying baby to sleep, feeding her, bathing her, cleaning up her spit up, doing 73 loads of her laundry… finally, she knows who I am.
What a sweet day for a father when his baby calls him.
This is one of those moments that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It makes all the work, tiredness, and loss of freedom as a new parent worth it.