I am not a fridge

During the week, Reid spends most of his days with a wonderful nanny named Leah. Finding someone you trust to look after your child is not easy, and we were very lucky to find Leah. She not only has years and years of experience working with babies and small children, but she is, undoubtedly, one of the most patient, loving people I have ever met.

Along with making sure that Reid’s physical and emotional needs are met while Mom and Dad are working, Leah does a lot to develop Reid’s understanding of the world. She taught Reid how to clap. She taught Reid how to use a straw cup. Recently, she showed him how to blow onto a hot beverage to cool it down.

Leah and Reid love to sing together, and her repertoire of nursery rhymes is impressively extensive – even if she doesn’t always know all the words. Her mondegreens cause much chuckling from my home-office, where I overhear lyrics like:

If you happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you happy and you know it and dodadodumdo show it, if you happy and you know it turn around!

Boom boom black sheep! Any any wool? Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Three bags full. One for the master, one for the dame, one for the little boy who lives down the road!

Sometimes I wonder if I should be more concerned that Reid may be learning the wrong words to well-known songs. But I’ve reassured myself that once he reaches pre-school, he’ll pick this up from his teachers and peers. And of course, I sing the correct rhymes to him when I can (although truthfully, I prefer to sing Mary Poppins songs than boring ol’ nursery rhymes).

But what was much more concerning to me than Reid learning incorrect lyrics, was Reid learning that ‘mommy’ = the fridge.

On our refrigerator, we keep a few literature- and music-related magnets, as well as magnets from places Ryan and I have travelled to together (Europe, India, Mauritius …), plus a few pics. There are two or three wedding pictures, a photograph of the two of us outside the Red Fort in Delhi, and some photobooth snaps from friends’ weddings and end-of-year office parties.

Leah, with the best of intentions, used these photographs of me to try to teach Reid the word ‘mommy’. She’d say, ‘Where’s Mommy?’ and then point to a picture of me on the fridge. Soon Reid was pointing too, saying, ‘Der!’ in reply to her question. It was all very cute, until I was standing on the other side of the kitchen and when Leah asked Reid, ‘Where’s Mommy?’ he pointed to the fridge and not to me. (Queue mom-sob.) I told Leah she’d better cut the fridge from her curriculum.

And then this week, I was making tea and Leah said to Reid, ‘Where’s Mommy?’ Smiling shyly, he lifted his fat little hand and sent that adorable index finger in my direction. ‘I’m not the fridge any more!’ I burst out.

Leah and I were busting with laughter (because haha, Mom’s a person and not an appliance now!). But as I took my tea back to my desk, I was bursting with joy – because this was one of those parenting moments. You know the ones? The moments when your child starts smiling, starts sitting unsupported (yay, we can give you solids now!), starts crawling, starts walking, starts acknowledging who you are. As incidental as they may seem to some, these moments are significant. They are moments to be soaked up and celebrated.