“Ray-Chol”

It usually isn’t blogworthy every time Little Bear says a new word. At this rate, I’d be blogging 6-8 times a day. But in this case, I’ll make an exception. For Little Bear has finally said my name.

For the longest time, I swear it’s like I didn’t exist to him. I was just there to make him food and change his diapers. There was no other attachment. We would go around the room and ask Little Bear to point at everyone. “Where’s Mama?”“Where’s Dada?” “Grandma?” “Grandpa?” “Big Bro?”

When they would get to “Where’s Rachel?” For a while, he would just look around. Wondering who this woman was. I would pretend that I wasn’t offended. But helloooo we spend 10 hours a day together. That starts to sting.

Slowly but surely, I got added into the rotation. He’d point to me and smile. Then after the recognition came the love. Someone would say “go give this to Rachel or go give Rachel a hug,” and he’d run over smiling and do what he was told. While this always melted my heart, it wasn’t until he officially said my name that my heart officially melted.

I was in the kitchen one morning, most likely making French toast for Little Bear and heating up pancakes for Big Bear because they can’t ever eat the same thing for breakfast. LB was with dad on the couch. LB was looking at me and saying “toast, food, more” when dad asked him to say, Rachel.

And he did.

Rachel.

He said it on the very first try.

Sure, it kind of sounded like he wasn’t a native English speaker, which I guess he still really isn’t, but he unmistakably said, Rachel.

Dad and I both stared at each other in surprise. It took Big Bear longer to say, Rachel. So, we tried a nickname. First, we tried Ray, my most common nickname, but he kept looking over at his toy Sting Ray we got from the Bahamas. Seeing the confusion, we settled for Rach. And Rach stuck. Everyone in the Bear House calls me Rach. Big Bear, Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa.

I’ve always liked being called Rach. No one in my family ever calls me it. It’s like I have my own exclusive identify with the Bears, only to be said by my Day-Fam.

I read somewhere that there are no sound people like more than the sound of their own name. I’m not sure if that’s why I love hearing LB say my name or it’s because I feel he truly knows who I am.

He says Rachel all the time now. When the Gymboree teachers hug and kisses him, he reaches out to me and says “Rachel, Rachel.” When I walked in the house in the morning or leave in the afternoon, he says my name over and over.

It’s fun that to both boys I have two different names. It’s clear that to BB I will always be Rach and to LB I feel I’ll always be Rachel.

Rachel, Rach, Rayorony or whoever I am, started out summer with a bang. There was a two- week gap between the end of school and the start of Big Bears summer camp, and the days flew by. The first week, it poured every day. So, we spent our days at the Miami Children’s Museum, Silly Monkeys and Gymboree. This week we added a trip to the Zoo Miami.

The boys are obsessed with these funky, wax molds you can collect for $2 throughout the Zoo. Big Bear wanted a Somali Wild Ass, Little Bear a tiger. Big Bear said I needed to get the red butterfly so we could all have our own.

Even though Little Bear melted my heart by saying Rachel, Big Bear melts my heart with the phrases he says. Like when he doesn’t want me to go home at the end of the day or when he randomly turns to me and says “Rachel, I love you.”

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to wrangle two kids into their car seats, load up the double stroller, grab three Contigo water bottles, all the snacks and sunscreens and bug sprays. It’s even more overwhelming when you’re stuck in traffic and Little Bear starts to cry and Big Bear is telling you to go already. But there’s nothing quite like the look of excitement on their tiny faces when they are in a moment of joy, and when Big Bear thanks you for a field trip day.

Big Bear starts camp at Ransom Everglades on Monday and Little Bear and I will be back to our old routine. I’m going to miss walking into the house each morning and finding both boys on the couch with bed head. But that’s life for you. Always keeping you on your toes.

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