A few days ago, Ira (about to turn two) pointed at me, turned to his grandmother, and said “Two Ima! Two Ima!” as if he had just made a major discovery.
Now, I’m not his Ima. That’s Gail, and she wasn’t in the house at the time. Grandma and I looked at each other a little stunned. Did he really just generalize to put me and his other mom into the same category and tell us he had two?
So I asked, “You have two Imas? Who are your Imas?” To the best of my recollection, he pointed at me and said “Ima” (when he most decidedly knows my “title” is “Mama”). And then pointed vaguely elsewhere and said “Ima gone.”
Any doubt that he knew exactly what he was talking about has since vanished. Over the past several days, he has repeatedly talked about “Two Ima” followed by pointing at me saying “Ima” or “Mama Ima,” then at Gail saying “Ima” and then a nice wrap-up reminder of “Two Ima” in case we forgot. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever, and being us, we are rather beside ourselves with pride that he generalized (a) to the title of his non-biological mom and (b) to the less socially recognized name for mom.
That says to us that this is how he’s understanding his own family from the inside out, before he’s had to figure out how we fit into the categories the rest of the world offers him. Before long, he’ll be giving Leigh a run for her money.