Marco! Polo!

I love you. I love you, too!

The second comment often follows the first (and, in the case of Marco, is part of what makes it problematic as a first-name option, in my opinion).

In our house, we have our own call and response. It’s generally a sleepytime thing, at pseudo-naptime or bedtime. “Mama!” she’ll say, sometimes in her normal voice, sometimes softly, sometimes with her own special inflection. “Baby!” I reply.

Although we haven’t read it in a while, I’m rather certain that she remembers this from Richard Scarry’s Funniest Storybook Ever. Flossie loses her doll into the bread-dough trough, and when a strange loaf of bread says, “Mama!” (which may be spelled “Momma!” in the story), Lowly helps solve the mystery. In the final story, in which Lowly’s birthday is being celebrated with an enormous cake, the doll is in the cake. The doll says, “Mama!” as Flossie runs toward is saying (you guessed it), “Baby!”

And so it was tonight. The past few days have been rough. It’s Wednesday, and since Sunday, she’s had a cold or some viral infection – a runny nose, tiredness, a cough which sometimes sounds a bit barking – and she even threw up once, last night, when she cried too hard (after not napping, she also couldn’t go to sleep and was beyond distraught). A trip to the doctor today confirmed it’s not the flu or anything obvious, and to our relief and her necessity, she’s now in bed – her converted-as-of-last-week toddler bed! – asleep. It took many rounds of our call and response. If I tried to keep quiet to encourage sleep, she’d remind me of my role: “Say ‘Baby!'” And I upheld my end of the bargain. Sometimes I’d get quiet to imply the need for quiet, for sleep.

And she sleeps. To call, to respond, to know that someone is there – we all need a little comfort, sometimes.

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