Brother started calling us Mama and Dadda pretty quickly after he and Sister came to our home. We didn't try to stop it. If these were older kids, we'd have the conversation about what they wanted to call us, that they didn't need to feel like they have to call us mom or dad, that their own mom or dad is still an important part of their life and we respect that, etc. But these are babies. Sister doesn't know the difference. She'll just smile at (or pass out on) whoever's got her at the moment. Brother has some words though, so Mama and Dadda we are.
It weirded me out at first.
I felt like I was stealing something from their actual mom, like I was somehow betraying her. I also felt like I didn't know this little boy well enough to even be close to deserving the title of mama. I'm not the mama on paper. I didn't give him and Sister life. I'm a random nice lady into whose home they were plunked.
But I'm ok with it now.
I'm still not their mama on paper, but...
I'm the woman in their life who takes showers with background noise of persistent 2.5 foot tall knocks on the door.
I'm the woman in their life who looked down at her jeans on the way to work Saturday morning and realized the hem was covered in dried baby throw up.
I'm the woman in their life who stocks the fridge with bottles in the evening, for 10:00, 2:00 and 4:00, or some middle of the night variation thereof.
I'm the woman in their life with the baby monitor on her belt.
I'm the woman in their life who is guaranteed to pick him up for a hug and a staring contest when he raises his little hands up to me.
I'm the woman in their life gagging over poopy diaper smell and getting soaked next to a particularly splish-splashy bath.
I'm the woman in their life who silently fist pumps the air after successfully laying Sister down to sleep. Third time appears to be the charm lately.
I'm the woman in their life who gives tickles, bottles, medicine and correction.
I'm the woman in their life who has sung Jesus Loves You about ten gazillion times in the past 2.5 weeks and is not yet tired of it.
I'm not their mama. Not technically. I'm not replacing her. But while their mama is figuring some things out and getting back on her feet, I'm thrilled to be an additional mama to them.