When her hand waves across her lips I know she’s telling me to get baby‘s nuk. When she holds him out in front of me and he has that relieved look on his face I know he needs to be changed. When she’s ready to nurse looking at me frantically I know she’s looking for her nipple shield. When she sits down next to me, lays her head on my shoulder and sighs, I know mommy needs a break. Welcome to mommy speak.
What I learned today about being a father:
My wife has always had her things,you know, a look that says how she feels or sound she makes when she needs you to do something for her. I have them too, but Jackie’s are less subtle, somewhat more aggressive, and now she has added new mommy speak territory that I can barely keep up with.
I’m pretty good at rolling with the punches, but yesterday I was missing cues left and right. She started doing this thing with her elbow, waving it up and down as she bottle feeds saying things like, “Hey, B, over there…” than pointing with her tip-toes to something on the floor, or maybe on the desk, or maybe in the kitchen. I scamper back and forth in our little two-bedroom, picking up items and showcasing them like I’m the Price-Is-Right. I’m no show model, either, but when I don’t get whatever it is she’s asking for correct she rolls her eyes at me and let’s me know how she has to do everything herself.
“Honey,” I say. “Just tell me what you need and I’ll get it.” She sits down with baby, ignoring my incompetence completely at this point, and let’s baby know how hard it is being mommy, out loud of course.
What I think I know:
Griffin is three weeks into this world now and I can tell you that he understands mommy speak better than I ever will. He laughs at her jokes (with me as the punch line) and snarls when I do something wrong or handle him in a way that doesn’t suit his mood. I see it already, baby and mommy conspiring against daddy to take over the household (which they already rule) and soon, one day, his soul.
The bond created between mother and child is very unique. She can hush him up with the twist of his body, make him smile just by looking at him, and when she gives me that look, that “You’re in the doghouse” look, he does too.
Mommy’s needs are great and her life is moving at a pace that I will never quite understand. I’ve studied her moods and her antics for over five years now and have gotten pretty good at heading off any issues at the pass, but mommy speak is different, more complicated, and now involves another entity that is attached to mommy’s hip like the two guys from that move “Stuck On You“, starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. Being Daddy is all about making adjustments, and I have realized that if I can relearn to read my wife better I can also understand my son.
And when mommy sends me text with pictures like this,
I know she’s telling me she loves me.