You Can(‘t) Call Me Char

Lately my three-year old daughter has taken to calling me “Char.”  It comes out in a playful way, often when calling for me- “CHAAARRR!!!”- from across the lawn or our apartment and is followed-up by either a mischievous smile or even an uproarious snort of laughter.  She finds this hilarious.  She likes the reaction that it gets and she likes that she has picked up on that my spouse calls for me in this way- “CHAARRR!!!!”- from the kitchen while cooking, the bathroom when bathing our daughter and she needs a wash cloth, our daughter’s room when she needs a cup of water when it is her night to put her to bed.  I also find this amusing on one level, particularly because her mini voice sounds pretty cute calling my name.… but another part of me doesn’t love it.  Char?  You, my dear daughter, calling me Char?  I know plenty of progressive parents throughout time have been cool with their kids calling them by their first names, but I’m personally not a huge fan.  I mean, I’ve worked hard for the title of “Mummy” (or lately the other name she’s been calling me- “Mum”- which I really, really love… now if only she had a three-year old British accent… ADORABLE).  Maybe I’m sensitive to it because I didn’t give birth to her and am also not biologically related to my daughter so the title of mother feels so critical to me- like a societal nod toward my validity as a parent.  I don’t need this per se, I do know I’m her other parent, but I sort of want it.  What I don’t want is for the person in line behind me at the grocery store to hear her call for “Char” and assume I’m the babysitter and not her mother (did I mention we also look nothing alike?).  Plus her other mother gets called “Mama” with great consistency so I’m admittedly a little extra sensitive.  That’s us: Mama, Adelaide and CHAARRR.  I’m not especially down with the cause.  Maybe I’ll start dealing with the situation with wit, since she does have such a great sense of humor… I’ll call back to her like this: “yes, DAUGHTER???”

– Charlotte


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