"Mom! Mom! Mom? Lady! Lady! LADY!!"
Except he didn't say "lady." What he said in its place was MY FIRST NAME.
Now, we make it no secret around our home that mom and dad have different names. We decided early on that in addition to being "mom" and "dad" around the boy, we'd call each other by our first names, too. It was an attempt to hang on, in front of our son, to the fact that before he had shown up, we'd been there first. And we were more than parents, but spouses and independent adults, as well.
An ATTEMPT, I said.
Reason dictates that I should have calmly looked at the boy when he called me by my first name and asked him to whom he was referring. As if I were a receptionist or something. What ACTUALLY happened was that my head whipped around so fast that my ears rang, and I said, "WHAT did you just call me?" He looked at me for a second, blinked, and said it AGAIN. My first name.
I pulled it together and said, "Yes, that's mommy's name. But what do YOU call her?" And he smiled angelically. "Mom!" I gave him a shaky smile and said, "That's right. Just remember that. You know mommy's name, but when you talk to her, you call her 'mom', ok?" He nodded and toddled off.
Probably to pat himself on the back for getting my attention. Which is what the little toot wanted in the first place.