Momvo: Hattie’s First Word



Miss Hattie hit a big milestone last week when she said her first word. It was bittersweet as she uttered the word, “DADA.”

I’m sure that mamas everywhere can agree that I wouldn’t be human if somewhere inside, beneath the beaming pride I felt about her accomplishment, there wasn’t a little sadness that her first word wasn’t “MAMA.”

Liam is my little man but he came out of my belly with adoring eyes for Dean. He was Daddy’s dude from the jump, so it was no surprise when his first word was “DADA.” He was my first, so while I was a little sad, on the whole I totally got it and was proud.

Stella, on the other hand, is SO me. Her first word was “MAMA,” and her second word was “SHOES”– we were kindred spirits from the start. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t do a little dance when Stella first uttered “MAMA,” and used my not-so-inside voice to exclaim, “Yes, I won one!” Was there something wrong with me that I was somehow keeping parental score as judged by my children’s verbiage?

So now here we were, at our tie-breaker: Hattie. She was the toss up. For seven months, she’s been our little neutral party. Or so I thought! Were she and Dean secretly plotting this all along? I had paranoid visions of Dean cornering Hattie in her jumpy, monopolizing her very busy and precious baby schedule with enunciated repetitions of “DADA,” so exaggerated that even our half-blind and mostly-deaf pug could understand. Kind of the way you’re always tempted to quickly teach a curse word to a parrot when its owner leaves the room. Oh wait- maybe that’s just me!

Alas, I’ve now spent a week saying “Hi Hattie…MAMA!”

“How’s my baby? MAMA!!”

“Did you make a poopy? MAMMMMA!!!”

I think she’s getting the point.

As happy and grateful as any mom is about their child’s milestones, am I alone in this whole nonsense of winning the first spoken word in a household? Let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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Happy Memorial Day!

  • Crystal Russell

    My 6 month old son Jackson just said his first word yesterday. It was also Dada! I was kinda sad on the inside because I am with him 24/7 while daddy goes to work so I was just hoping his first word would be Mama!

  • jamie lynn nault


    Hun you are not alone in this, all 3 of my children said DADA first! I was heartbroken at first especially when my first born said DADA cause his Dad wasn’t even around when he was a baby and for him not say Mama killed me inside. I have been home with my youngest two from the day they were born, my husband works outside the home and still even after being home with them day in and day out, each day hoping and praying they would say Mama, they would look at me with big bright blue eyes and mutter DADA….he won!

  • Aleah Helton

    You are not alone!! I think every parent feels this way!! Human nature!! Check out our mommy blog http://www.domesticallydivinedivas.com

  • TheZMom

    Awh Tori,

    My hubby and I never consider Mama and Dada their “First words” but rather practice words as they babble. After that though each of my kids first words were apple, turtle, TaDA! (Shes the performer) and our baby hasnt really said anything but Dada, Nana, Baba, (all sounds haha). Hes 10 months old. We’ll see what happens! :)


  • Mariana Hernandez

    awee Dada loves his baby gurl!!!

  • Heather LaFrance

    LOL we kept score too! Luck for you, you have another chance to tie the game!! start now while the bugger is till inutero!

  • week2week

    Tori, you are definitely not alone! I’ve always rationalized it this way – Dada is easier for them to say and Mama is more difficult. My oldest said Dada at 6 months and at the time I thought he was a genius for speaking so early, I later came to realize it was more babbling than talking and he really didn’t know what he was saying. I think the first “real” word he said that he knew the meaning of was “no.” You have a whole lifetime ahead of 4 (or more?) little McDermotts calling you Mama/Mommy/Mom enjoy every single minute.

  • Melissa @Momma Running in Heels

    Haha! I was coaching my daughter. I think I was pretty much how you envisioned Dean; catching her at play, bathtime, but alas her first word was “dada”, followed VERY shortly by “mama” so maybe there was something to that coaching! Maybe you can even the score with this next one ;)!

  • Dayna Bickham

    I believe I read somewhere (in a Mommy/Parenting magazine years ago) that developmentally it is more common and easier for a child to say the sound Da rather than Ma because the shape of the mouth with each sound. Since Da is said with the mouth open, physically it is easier to say. Ma requires more skill and usually higher intellegence to say first.

    At least that is what I remember of the article. I had one that said MaMa and one that said Gamga (which my mother insisted was her name “grandmother” and she was called that from that moment on). So I have no anicdotal evidence to back this up!

  • casey baur

    I hear you! Luckily mine didn’t say either first. Duck was her first word LOL. Mama was 2nd though. She didn’t see much of her dad when she was little so I can see why. I just couldn’t believe out of every word in the world,she said duck first. For a good 4 months all she said was Duck,Dog,and Mama…..we don’t even have a dog LOL.

  • Cortney S

    you are not alone it was the same for me with my son i was soo bummed when he said dada first but was later very happy because he said mama and would not say dada anymore! now he says both plus baba get and dog! i am a very proud mama!

  • Jackie C

    Well sometimes I get jealous when my dogs pay more attention to the dog walkers than to me. (My dog walkers are buying them toys and special ice cream dog treats so I think that might be helping.) Anyway my first word was not mama or dada but shampoo. lol I wonder what that means??

  • Kristina Carter

    You are not alone Tori! Our first child said Dada and I was heart broken…especially since I stayed home with her. Even though my hubby was ecstatic! Now we have a 6 mo little boy and he is very much mama little boy…so fingers crossed his first word is Mama!!!!

    Also, I just found your website and I am in love with it! You are wonderful!

  • The Glamorous Housewife

    I was thrilled when my kids said the word ‘Dada’ because then, in the middle of the night they would call out ‘dadadadada’ and I would nudge my husband and say, ‘the baby is calling for you’. And he would actually get out of bed and respond to whatever it is they wanted!

    Thanks doll,

    The Glamorous Housewife

  • Charlotte McCaig

    She is so beautiful, Tori! I keep thinking back to the episode of your show when Liam had a fit over having to share a room. Stella said something like…”I was born to be sweet and nice” to Dean during his breakdown. That’s Stella (in my eyes) sweet and nice. Liam is all boy but has a sensitive soul and Hattie will be whatever she turns out to be. All that your children are is so much a part of you. Before you had Liam you were so worried about being a “good” mother, just look at these children you are raising and know you are doing a wonderful job.

  • Tanya Capeci

    Tori, she is so adorable!! I love that she said Dada first, it is really special for a Dad to hear that from his daughter, it makes him feel very special!! Also congratulations on the purchase of your new home!! Watch out Britney!! Please post pictures soon!

  • Katrina theyallcallmemom.com

    All of mine (all 9!) have said “DaDa” before “MaMa” ~ I’ve just given up! LOL I guess it’s easier to form the “d” sound than the “m” sound? Who knows!! My boys are sweet on me, while my girls tend to flock towards their daddy. But yet…they ALL said “DaDa” first. Ah well :)

  • Luisa Fraute-Kroll

    Am totally with you! As wonderful as it is for them to achieve this amazing milestone, we all want them to say Mama first. I was lucky that both of mine did say Mama first, but I know it would have stung a little if it had been otherwise….. Let’s see what your new baby will bring, maybe a tie?

  • Susan I

    Both my girls said dada as their first real understandable word but it didn’t phase me too much. From what I understand, it is easier for them to make the “d” sound so its nothing personal, its just the easier word to say. What did sting me a little, though, was when my oldest started calling me by my name, Susan, instead of mom. It was funny when she did that to her dad (picture a 2 year old constantly saying “Dave” instead of dad or dada), but to me, well, I didn’t find it as cute.

  • Suzanne Brown

    So sweet! My first two said Dada first but my last said beebee for baby! I thought the same thing about what my kids look like. I carry them for 9months gain the weight have the marks and endor swelling, sickness and everything else and they pop out and look JUST.LIKE.My.Hubby! Whats up with that?! :)

  • Heather Smith

    I am with you Tori, my son’s first word was Dada and I have to admit that I was a little heart broken. I am a stay at home mom and I am with him every waking minute of the day and how does he thank me?? LOL However, my daughter Arley is almost 7 months and I am waiting for her to say her first word. We practice “mama” but she just thinks that I am funny. In the meantime….I will patiently wait:)

  • Misty Wilkins

    I just found out I am 12 weeks pregnant with my first child and I cannot wait until I hear my baby’s first words.

  • Diana Arnold

    Super Cute!! Love your blog! Love your show!

  • Ashley Taylor

    Let’s focus more on the fact that your daughter is a GENIUS because she has already spoken a word! :)

    I think “Dada” is pretty standard and both of my girls said it first and like you I felt a little stab to the heart!


  • Lemon Meringue

    Oh dear, first I had to look up what the first word of my threesome was and then I made an awful discovery (which was probably the reason why I totally blanked out on this issue): I created Little Monsters! The first word of al three of them was: GAGA! Maybe it’s because of the rather guttural character of the Dutch language, but still I prefered mama. And I do remember practising secretly with them by putting at least 7 times the word ‘mama’ (Dutch for Mommy) in every sentence. The fun thing is that my husband later confessed (on a successful datenight) doing exactly the same thing!

  • Jeanne Tutt

    most babies I have heard it is dada because they can’t do the mmm sound as easily. My sisters was goya back in 1972! no clue what mine was. I made it easy for my nieces shortening my name to nini before the atlanta housewife came along. I had heard it used on the movie with brooke shields where she was in a lesbian relationship and their daughter called her nini for Jenine. When I was little and still today I go by Jeannie so it just came naturally. Start with the baby inside the womb by playing a cd that replays mama over and over in sentences as a subliminal message!

    Peace and love,


  • Anjanette Young

    We have six kiddos and even our recent baby said “Dada” first. It has never hurt my feelings all the babies think their Daddy is the best right from the start.

  • Toni

    All my the kids I know have said DADA first.

  • Elisa McCrea

    D’s are easier consonants for children to say so “DADA” is usually their first “word” although most of the time, we’re the only ones who know what it means. Abigail said “mama” pretty quickly, but she wasn’t referring to anything she was just babbling. She came home from the hospital saying “uh HUH” and “uh-UH” and would “argue” with us. :) By contrast, my daughter Kaia’s first word was “Snickers”.

  • Susan Iliff

    My son Blaze’s 1st word was dada blah blah. My daughter Jocelyn’s 1st was Mama. I was extatic 2 here Mama!!! I worked w/ both kids.

  • April Tyson

    My first baby is 3 months old and I’m secretly hoping that his first word is “Mama”. I think it would break my heart if he said “Dada” first but I am pretty sure I am his favorite anyway. =)

  • Lia Guven

    for some odd reason my baby girl’s first words was ‘Tuus’ and pointed at our dog … which name was ‘Truus’ ♥ i was so proud, but right after she started talking 24/7 ….

  • Jayme Dowdy

    My first said Mama, my second Dada (what a traitor!), and my third to new Daddy I did as you stated above that you thought Dean may have been doing, but to benefit Daddy… I already had my Mama Moment…And this is his first (maybe only) child…Every chance I got alone I would say Dada, dadadadadada, We Love Dada, Dadadada…..But just to mess with THE Dada, I would say Mamamamama to her in front of him. Alas…My hard work paid off! Dada was said, and like a paint bomb in a bank bag…..his heart exploded with PRIDE and LOVE and ADORATION for his little baby girl. It was official, she had him wrapped around her tiny little fingers – I am happy, as I know- Daddys are (well should be!) a little girls FIRST LOVE.