Now… Say my name: She’s said her first word!
Becoming a parent means storing, remembering and juggling dates galore. The due date is obviously the most dominant one attention is focused on, for all the good it’ll do; we were not part of the five per cent whose baby stuck to theirs.
In fact, our due date was 13th June and then sliced to 5th June, only for Roma to be born on 31st May – after the unforgettable false start during a wedding. And that’s without factoring in the pregnancy test confusion.
After the birth, the dates have been replaced with endless milestones – first smile, sleeping through the night, poozooka, supporting her head, poozooka two, feeding herself, poozooka three, sitting up, rolling over, crawling, each seemingly merging into the next without stopping for breath, a bit like me when I tackle plate upon plate at a buffet.
Take crawling for example. In early December, Roma was face-planting her way across our bed.
“I thought I heard her mutter something, though I wasn’t entirely certain my ears hadn’t deceived me…”
Then during the Christmas break her crawling ability had come on like crazy. I like to think I gave her solid encouragement for that part of her development – WWE/demolition career in the pipeline?
I remember being at work when Jenna sent me a video of her rolling over for the first time, something that took us both by surprise as, up until then, she could roll one way but not the other.
Now, well, this sums things up quite accurately.
I find myself blown away beyond belief by the latest milestone though – her first word.
There we were having an evening cuddle, erasing the horror of my commute, when I thought I heard her mutter something, though I wasn’t entirely certain my ears hadn’t deceived me.
“What did you say,” I enquired, as though she understood what I was on about.
However, she responded and confirmed my suspicions and, ever so delicately, repeated –
It didn’t take her long to find her voice. The gentle whisper soon became an eye-locking, crystal clear chant as though she were performing an incantation to dislodge/save a troublesome young wizard from his broom during a match of Quidditch.
I was gobsmacked. Not as much as when Jenna told me we were going to become parents, I thought she was handing me a pretzel after all, but hearing the words “Dada” was still sensationally surreal.
I mean, it would have been weird enough had I prompted her to say Dada, but the fact I hadn’t said anything of the sort and she just uttered it of her own free will caught me totally off guard.
If I had to compare it to anything, it’d be the first time I felt Roma kicking during the pregnancy. Laying there minding my own business with my hand resting on Jenna’s stomach and boom! From out of nowhere I got the feels!
The fact I got to be present for such a big moment was amazing, especially since there’s always a lingering feeling of FOMO as a dad, which for me came about once paternity leave ended. I’ve seen and heard plenty of other dads share the same sentiments about missing out and receiving snaps and videos from their other halves, wishing they could be a part of it.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched this video, and it’s certainly not a moment I’ll be forgetting.
Every time I hear Dada now, I can’t help but feel like I’m on the verge of going full Heisenberg. We have been Breaking (in) Dad after all…