Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Al's gals - Mamma, Mom, Mommy

Al's gals - Mamma, Mom, Mommy
11 September 2012

My brother’s two little girls are just the most gorgeous little sweeties you have ever seen in your whole life.  I kid you not, promise.

They are 13 months apart in age, which is quite a challenge.  Getting them dressed after a bath is very interesting – I can never figure out which clothes belong to which child.  I can’t imagine doing it on a daily basis.  The sizes are so similar.  Inevitably, Bella is either severely constricted in one of Frankie’s ensembles, or Frankie is swimming in one of Bella’s outfits.

My brother, and Bella and Frankie’s mother, Lelanie, are Afrikaans, so they’re obviously raising their girls Afrikaans.  So what that means is that they call their mother, “Mamma” and my brother “Pappa”.  All of the grandchildren call my mom, “Mom”.  This is because when Luke was little, he heard me calling her that.  She was supposed to be Ouma, but it just never stuck.  And because Luke, as the oldest grandchild, called her “Mom”, all the subsequent grandchildren have also done so.

Now the family is liberally dotted with grandmothers and grandfathers.  On our side of the family alone, there is Ouma Helene, Ouma Cathy, Oupa Willem en Oupa Pietie.  And then on Lelanie’s side of the family there is Ouma Nessa and Ouma Wilma.  Added to that is the fact that all of the kids, including me, call my stepdad, “Daya” and things now start getting a bit complicated.

However, it gets decidedly more bizarre.  Upon hearing their cousins (my kids), calling Grant “Daddy”, my brother’s two girls, now also call my husband “Daddy”.  And yip, you guessed it, I’m “Mommy”.  It’s all very Jerry Springer.  Well I suppose not really.  I still have all of my own teeth and there isn’t a single “Paw” in the deal.  And to the best of my knowledge, none of us have had experiments done on us by aliens, or have indeed been abducted by aliens – we don’t live in the deep south, you see.

It’s pretty whack if you ask me.  If the lot of us are out and about, it must sound like a real hillbilly get together.  It is not uncommon for either Bella or Frankie to run up to about four or five different woman, calling them by a variation of “mother-type” titles.  And that’s not even starting with all of the “father-type” derivatives.

So just to recap - there's Mamma, Mom, Mommy as well as a plethora of Ouma's.  And then there's Pappa, Daya, Daddy as well as Oupa's galore.

I must be honest, it tickles me pink when they call me Mommy.  It is just sooo cute and completely unexpected.  It makes my heart melt each time either one of them says it.  Initially, we were so taken aback when Bella called Grant, “Daddy” the first time, that we simply giggled and giggled.  Her logic was just so sweet.  "Daddy" was obviously Grant's name.  We never really tried correcting them and it’s kind of stuck and I certainly don’t mind.  Nor does Grant.

“Mommy” is after all the most special word in the whole world.  Unless they have a dirty nappy.  Then I become “Aunty Helene” and I pass them back to their “Pappa”.

Beautiful Bella

Fabulous Frankie

Frankie having a cuddle with "Mommy"
Bella Bolla
"Daddy" entertaining Frankie

Mom with Frankie

Bella and Ouma Helene

Frankie and "Mommy"

Frankie Pankie Pop

Amber and Bella

Bella and Frankie with Mom and Ouma Cathy

Al and his gals


  1. It makes absolute hilariously sense of course! :)

  2. Wow! Complicated to someone listening from the outside, indeed! But like you said, '“Mommy” is after all the most special word in the whole world.' No matter which way it is said or which family member it is said to. They are beautiful little girls. x

  3. Makes perfect sense to me! Beautifully written Helene.

  4. Interesting story, makes me feel a tad bad as my wife is Afrikaans and as you well know ( or don't ) when you marry into an Afrikaans family you call your in-laws MA en Pa . To this day i cannot bring myself to calling them that , silly how silly some of us English folk can be . Keep them coming Helene, good reading . Rob

  5. Thanx for the fabulous comments. Robbie, I completely understand your dilemma. Grant and I dated for 6 years before getting married. So for the first few years, his folks were Mr and Mrs Cloete. After a few years I got the nod to call them Uncle Stephen and Auntie Lynn. And then on the day of our wedding, they insisted that I started calling them Mom and Dad immediately. It felt really weird for the longest time. Now my Dad, on the other hand, told Grant in a very stern manner, to NEVER call him Dad, Daddy, Pa or Pappa. So to Grant my Dad was Francois or Frank and to this day, my Mom is still just Maggie. Way easier I suppose. It's quite something to wrap one's head around, hey!

  6. They've barely been gone.. And here I am in tears again!!! Hope you gals have loads of fun.. And just so you know mommy, they are both completely potty trained this time.. Much love. Mamma xxx

  7. They've barely been gone.. And here I am in tears again!!! Hope you gals have loads of fun.. And just so you know mommy, they are both completely potty trained this time.. Much love. Mamma xxx