Who’s Bob? Why is this one of the first words your child spoke?

Sandra Mayer
Dec 5, 2016 · 3 min read

Your child is growing up. Your wonderful baby has passed the stage of being a cooing, gurgling three months old and is nearing the ripe young age of six months. For this time you have constantly talked to your baby hopefully teaching them words from phrases like, “Here’s your Daddy,” and “Look, Mommy has brought you some lunch. Yum, yum.” Some of the conversations may have even been, “Come on honey say Mum, Mum, Mum.” Or, “Hey big man, says Da, Da for your Daddy.” Even Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and older siblings get into the action. No one is off limits trying to teach your baby their first words and hoping that it will be the one that they taught them. The competition is on.

Your home now has become a battlefield. If you are at home with your baby, you may think that you have the inside edge, but no. At six to seven months, your child now responds to their names and can recognise their native language. (webmd.com May 31 2016) and they may be more interested in babbling to an obscure relative that visits once, rather than to you, who is with them all the time. But don’t be concerned. In a national poll taken in England, YouGov questioned 1050 parents of children aged one to seven and found that “The most common first word was ‘daddy’ or ‘dada’, cited by 15% of those questioned. Compared to ‘mamma’, or ‘mama’, mentioned by 10% of parents.” This will make your male partner happy, he has a 15% chance of being first.

But what if your child’s first word is not “dada” or “mama”?

The same poll states that after variations on “mum” and “dad”, the most common first word was “cat”, listed by 2% of parents.

Okay, but your child has spoken another word something totally obscure and you cannot fathom where it came from. One child that I know, her second word after, “da, da”, was “Bob”. Her mother was astounded, she said, “I don’t know who “Bob” is, or how he got his name in there before “Mummy”, but I am not impressed.

Children have spoken other obscure first or second words like, “beer”, “Hoover”, “cool”. So, why are these words one of your child’s first? It may be because known or unbeknownst to you, you say them all the time or your partner does. It could be the name of a favourite pet or you cursing about the cat next door that poops in your flower garden every morning. It could be the child’s older sibling’s name in an abbreviated form. It could be from your favourite band that you play on the stereo each day and don’t forget, “The Wiggles”, I’m sure a variation of “Hot Potato, Hot Potato”, will be in the list somewhere. It’s a wonder that curse words are not higher on the list, but the word, “No”, is a very, very common first word.

Some eager parents interpret a string of, “da, da”, babbles as their baby’s first words — “daddy!” But babbling at this age is usually still made up of random syllables without real meaning or comprehension says webmd.com May 31 2016.

But we know better. In the fight of what will be the baby’s first words in the household, no interpretation is necessary. I am confident that when your child yells out, “Poop!” as his first word, all bets are off and when you have cleaned up the mess, you can pull out your child’s baby book and record, with misgivings and a grimace or maybe a sly chuckle, the word, “poop”, in the baby’s first word space.

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