March 10, 2011

The Day She Calls Me 舅妈

My youngest niece "A" has been addressing me "umh ma", when she is supposed to say "jiu ma" for 舅妈,which is the term to address the wife of her mother's brother. For some reason, she has no problems saying "jiu" when she addresses Quop as 大舅 "da jiu". But when it comes to me, she could not put the "jiu" and "ma" together. Her mum and I have tried many times to get her to say it right but she'd innocently still say "umh ma". 

It was a Friday morning in February when I was caring for her while her mum went to work. "A" is in the clingy phase where she'd miss her mum a lot, even though she has been prepped that she will be spending the morning with me and she loves me. Whenever she thinks of her mum, she'd cry for her and I found it difficult to distract her mind away from it. Hence that Friday, I made a last minute decision to bring her out even though I did not have any errands to run. I brought her to Ikea where I think we could walk around and spend 1-2 hours and not be bored. 

At the carpark of Ikea, I got "A" to say 舅妈. She surprised me by being able to say "jiu" properly for the first time when she addressed me! Nothing has changed in the way we have been getting her to say it right. For the rest of the day, I noticed that she will still address me as "umh ma" when she needed my attention but when I say "Say 舅妈", she'd be able to pronounce it correctly. I felt like it was an achievement that I made for teaching her to say it right :)

"A" enjoyed her time at Ikea. There was no mention of "ma ma" (mum) nor crying. But there were moments that she just got lazy and wanted me to carry her. Generally, she was quite good. She ate a fair bit of morning tea I brought along and befriended a little aussie girl (2 months younger than her) who shared the same name as her mum. She is quite a darling in befriending little children (not so much for adults). 

Incidentally, I learnt later that my sister-in-law has not been daring/comfortable to bring "A" to Ikea to shop. I guess she realised that it was not that difficult to manage after all. Or again, it might be the case that "A" would make things more difficult for her mum and be more well behaved with me (not her mum). 

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