A rose by any other name…

Girl looks out at view from Malvern hills by Someone's Mum

Littlest won’t call me mummy.

Her words came around the right time. The first one was Daddy – similar to her brother, though, in his case, Daddy came a close second to ‘car’. All the things with wheels followed shortly after.

The weeks have passed and her vocabulary has grown. ‘Shoes’ was mastered early on – while pointing to her feet and demanding several changes of footwear a day – each pair then paraded around in a very proud fashion show, shortly before demanding another change.

More words followed: ta, please (peas), cheese, Eh-oh (for her brother), moo, baa, woof, doggy. She can even point to herself and say ‘sister’ and to E and say ‘brother’. Small sentences have started for form.

“Juice peas!”

“No down!”

“Hi Eh-oh!”

But there was, and is, no Mummy…

It has become a running joke. When Daddy comes home or collects her from nursery she runs to him, embracing his legs and crying “Dada! Dada! Daddy!” with gleeful delight.

But not for Mummy. For Mummy she might run, embrace even, but her excitement is often characterised by stubborn silence. And each time, inside mummy a deep, hard nugget of jealousy formed that she tried to ignore.

Then, a few weeks ago, she started to call for me. But not by saying Mummy.

She called me me Bibi.

Or maybe Beebee. Bibby? I am not sure how she spells it. Either way, there can be no doubt that she is calling for me when she says that word. If you point and ask her who I am, that is what she says. When she sees me come into a room, or calls me for help, Bibi is what she will shout. I have found this quite perplexing and have tried to work out what might be going on in her curious little mind.

It’s not that she can’t pronounce or form the words ‘mummy’ or ‘mama’. If you ask her to say ‘mummy’, she will repeat the syllables perfectly.

It doesn’t sound much like my actual name – so she hasn’t suddenly decided, like a surly teen, to start calling her parents by their Christian names – a trick her brother pulled for a brief period:


I can’t think that she has mistaken me for Britain’s Rugby Sevens squad member Dan Bibby, for all our hairstyles are quite similar.

At first, I was a little miffed. No so much for the lack of mummy but… Bibi? Why on earth does she think I am called Bibi? When she calls me, will people think I am her aunt or childminder or that I have simply picked up a toddler from somewhere? Of course daddy thinks it is hilarious and has taken to calling me Bibi full time, even when only the two of us are present. He’s such a wit.

But you know what – that joy when she sees me and runs – it’s there whatever she says. It’s there if she is silent. Love is there in joy and sadness, in silence and in words and in chubby little fingers, seeking mine in the darkness. Love is there all the time. And Bibi is growing on me, just a little…

I might even miss it, when I look back on this post, in ten or twelve years’ time, and she has found some more choice terms for me…



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5 thoughts on “A rose by any other name…

  1. Ah bless her, maybe she’s just struggling with her M’s so Bibi is as close as she can get to the right sound. I’m sure it will come eventually and at least she’s shouting for you and excited to see you! I can’t wait to hear that sound, whether it’s Mummy or something else completely random!! #BigPinkLink

    1. Thank you for commenting. She can actually say mummy perfectly as I say in the post so lord knows why she insists on Bibi! 😉

  2. This happened to me, except I wasn’t even Bibi. I was miffed, no two ways about it. I was also worried. She suffered horribly with reflux and I was always the one to comfort her but I wondered if she also associated me with pain. Thankfully, even though it took a while, she called me Mummy one day and has never stopped (and even when she says it in that whiney voice I still love it). #ftmob

  3. She sounds so cute, and that little video is adorable. One day she will randomly start calling you Mummy but in the meantime I think Bibi is a rather lovely name and it’ll be lovely memory you’ll keep forever. Maybe when she’s older and you tell her she may even have some small memory of saying it, and maybe an explanation too!! Thank you for linking to #bigpinklink x

  4. Aww bless her. No idea why she’s decided you are Bibi though when she can say Mummy – little ones can be funny like that. Love the video of her talking and the list of phrases she can say now – “Juice peas” is adorable. Thanks for linking to #ftmob 🙂

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