A Mom’s Musings On ‘Dada Day’

In the spirit of Father’s Day, here’s something all dads can appreciate. The first word my son said at 6 months old was “dada.” To tell the truth, it’s really just babbling at that point, but nevertheless, a milestone – Baby’s first bona fide word.

I got a second shot three years later when my daughter was born. Surely, my little princess would rec-ognize that I was the one who carried her for nine months, delivered her (without the aid of an epidural, might I add) and woke up all hours of the night to feed her? It’s 50/50 chance, right? Not quite.

Alan Joaquin and son Kai at 4 days old | Lisa Hoang/Simply Baby Photography photo

As soon as she found her voice, there it was again. This time on repeat, “dada dada dada.” Many pediatricians reassure moms that 99 percent of babies say “dada” first. Physically, the sound is easier to form than “mama” in a developing child. At least that’s what my extensive two-minute Google search tells me. In this case, I choose to believe or risk having a bruised ego – and who needs that on top of the other physical changes of motherhood?

I don’t really have a problem with it. When my husband and I first took parenting classes in 2008, older women remarked how lucky young women are today that their husbands are so involved in raising children. It goes both ways. Men are lucky to play a bigger role, too.

Traditional gender roles have blurred. You’ve probably heard ad nauseum by now about a Pew Research Center study that found a sharp increase in women as household breadwinners.

Moms, single or married, have become the top earners in four out of 10 U.S. households. It’s easily the most dramatic shift in family dynamics in the last 50 years.

But the study glosses over a fact of life for Hawaii families. It’s the need for Mom and Dad both to be breadwinners. Lucky we live Hawaii? Of course. But the high price of paradise forces many families to share the financial responsibility.

Let’s face it, being a parent is the toughest job in the world. While we honor mothers and fathers on separate holidays, as they say, “it takes a village.”

So, as we celebrate fathers, I say we raise our glass to babies saying “dada” first. Think of it like this: In the middle of the night, if your son or daughter calls out for “dada,” who has to get up?

Besides, soon enough your little one will advance from their first word to their favorite, “No!” The beginning of the end for parents. But that’s a whole different story.