We had Frankie for parts of four days. This was the second time we got to take care of her for an extended period of time. I was determined. She would learn to say my name. Cece. My other grandchildren learned to say it about this age. I can’t remember for sure exactly when. I could check my journal and find out but I am away from home this week. Believe me. I recorded it. It is a show stopper when these little ones call your name for the first time (see blogs dated 7/13/15 and 2/7/16). If their language ability allowed it, anything they would ask for after that, they would get!
Mama’s do have an advantage
Of course her mom and dad were working on similar projects. She has Jimmy Fallon’s book, Dada. I am sure Frankie’s daddy reads it to her daily. Mamas always have a proximity advantage for all sorts of reason. There’s the womb thing. The birthing thing. The breast feeding thing. All combined these make for formidable competition in the name game.
On top of it all, Frankie also has a nanny. Her name is Raquel. No competition there. Not because she is not the most wonderful nanny in the world, but because Raquel is a very hard name to say for a toddler. Ma ma. Da da. Ce Ce. These are all easier. We all had an advantage over Raquel. However, Raquel is with her almost every day, and has been since she was three or four months old. I think I remember my daughter being concerned she might call Raquel, Ma ma! Now that I think about it, when Frankie is tired or hungry she does do a “ma ma ma ma” kind of chant. No matter who is holding her. Ah. It’s just easy syllables. Not associated with any particular person. (Or so I tell myself.)
The CeCe project
The whole time she was with me, it was CeCe, CeCe, CeCe. CeCe this. CeCe that. “Can you say CeCe?” “Where’s CeCe?” Once in awhile I threw in a Papa for good measure and in the effort toward parity. Even Papa helped with the CeCe project regularly asking her, “Where’s CeCe?”
It never did come out of her mouth. When asked the question by Papa, Frankie would look around and find me. And even after she left, my daughter sent me a short video of Frankie responding to the question, “Where’s CeCe?” When my daughter asked her this, she went and looked around the doorway into the living room. When she did not see me there, Frankie came over to where my daughter was using her phone to take the video and wanted to see the phone. Frankie thought I was FaceTiming and wanted to see my face on the phone! She knows who I am! Yay! Crazy love just gets crazier at moments like this. However, she still did not say my name.
Back to our house where she was with us for four days. I thought maybe she’d wake up one of the final mornings calling for me. Nope. I thought maybe when she was hungry or tired she would chant, CeCe, CeCe. Nope. I thought maybe after a million “Can you say Cece?’s” she might come through. Nope.
Maybe it was the Fallon book
So the time came. Mama and Dada were coming back to get her. I knew they were as anxious to see her as I was not anxious to let her go. But deep inside of me I have the desire to be a good mom and mother-in-law, in addition to being a crazy good grama. So, when I knew they were about to arrive, I brought her out to the front of our place so she could see them drive in. When they got out of the car, both mama and dada were looking for Frankie and immediately shouting, “Frankie! Frankie! Hello, Frankie!”
Frankie looked at me and Papa. Then looked back at her mama and dada approaching in the parking lot. Frankie pointed and said, drumroll… No she did not say, “drumroll.” That is my way of trying to create suspense and more drama in the telling of this story. Frankie, pointed and said, “Dada!” Yes. Dada. Not CeCe. Not Mama. She said, “Dada.” My daughter immediately reacted, “What am I, chopped liver?” “How about Mama?” she said with a forlorn voice.
Dada had won out. Clear and undeniably. We all heard it. The look on Dada’s face was worth a million bucks. Of course, if she had said Cece, the look on my face would have been worth two million bucks. It was not to be.
My time will come
The project will continue. I will continue to work on teaching her to say my name every chance I get. I console myself with knowledge gained from loving my other four grandchildren. With every one of them the time has come. It is awhile after they know all the names, but it will come. They know how to say Mama. They know how to say Dada. They know how to say Papa. Frankie may even have a name for Raquel! But, Cece knows there will come the day that Frankie will want Cece to do it. It does not matter what “it” is. Feed her, change, her, walk with her, play with her. They all have come to the place where the parents roll their eyes because no matter what they try to do for Frankie, she will say, “Cece do it.” Big smile on my face that you cannot see in this post. And, Cece will do it, no matter what it is. Because this is the crazy place I live called Gramasylum. I will do any and every crazy thing necessary to hear this phrase. Forget just the name. “Cece do it.” Rocks my world every time.
My youngest daughter already warned her sister. “Are you ready for the CeCe craziness? Are you ready for Frankie to want Cece to do everything?” she asked her sister. Frankie, don’t let me down. I am four for four. You can do this! Make my day! It’s possible. Make me crazier than ever. It’s where I live and I love it!