Say MAMA," patiently coached Lisa as she watched little Bobby
who sat on the toy-covered floor. Bobby just smiled and dribbled
baby goop, as usual. After all, he was just ten months old.
Little Tommy, on the other hand, delighted his mom with a
train of Mama's and Dada's.
"Isn't he soooo cute?" proudly cooed Stella, Tommy's mom.
"Imagine, just eleven months and he could say so many words."
"C'mon, Bobby...say MAMA," persisted Lisa, drops of envy forming on
her brow. She couldn't get it. Night after night she'd pray for a
miracle, hoping that her toddler would soon be as talkative as
her neighbor's Tommy. She read to him every chance she got and
wordily described every object they saw. Lisa must've run out of
adjectives in just a few months.
Boy would she love to wring some necks if Stella so much as
showily sighed one more time.
"There's grandpa," pointed Stella. "Ampa..." mumbled Tommy, amid
squeals of delight from his now hyper mom. What followed was a
barrage of "what's this" to which Tommy proudly burbled bower
(flower), doh (dog), kah (cat), and mee (milk). Lisa mirthlessly
clapped just to keep from whacking Stella, who was this close to
"Oh Tommy, Tommy, Tommy!" gushed his mom as she folded him with
"Please Bobby... say MAMA," begged Lisa. Bobby just compassionately
looked at his mom when she suddenly stood up, exasperated.
"You have such a bright Tommy," muttered Lisa as she rubbed her
"Don't worry, your son will be talking in no time. Just read to
him often. And don't forget to describe everything you see, "
lectured Stella. Lisa just glared at the smug smile.
What the heck, just let the kids play, she thought. All they need
is time. Maybe it's not yet time. That's all. Yes, that must be
it, rationalized Lisa.
Between cold drinks of kalamansi and stories of the latest
showbiz news, the moms watched their kids play in a corner of the
dining room. During a lull in the conversation, Bobby suddenly
"What did you say?" gasped Lisa. "I have got to call your
Dad...Honey, come quick!" screamed Lisa as she searched for Ramon.
Stella quickly gulped her drink while Tommy glared at Bobby.
"What did you say?" whispered Tommy. "Has earth's gravity
affected your mind?" hissed the eleven month old.
"I can't take it anymore. Lisa just cries every now and then. And
your current mother...what's with the constant moon face, huh?"
"It's not yet time! Have you forgotten the past? If you come
ahead of your time, you'll end up hung on a tree, or worse. Wise
up, Ariatel... It'll take a while before the motherships get into
position. No use jeopardizing the Plan, ok? And don't you ever
talk about my mom that way again!" gibbered Tommy.
"Ok, ok, Elhuatek. Just shut up. Stella's coming this way!"
yammered Bobby as he hurled the nearest plastic block into a
"Look, the two boys seem to be talking. They appear to understand
each other! I guess my son's talent has rubbed off on young
Bobby...finally!" pointed Stella.
"Listen, Ramon...our son has finally spoken! And what a beautiful
word...mother! Yes, I'm sure I heard it. No, the heat hasn't gotten
to me!" cried Lisa as she excitedly tugged her husband into the
"Ok, son. Say MOTHER or MAMA. Say anything," prodded Ramon.
But Bobby remained silent.
Thirty minutes and a hundred say-this-requests later, he still
kept quiet. His parents thought he was getting angry so they
resignedly backed off. Lisa whipped out some Kleenex and silently
blew her nose while sadly thinking that it still wasn't the right
Bobby looked at his depressed mom, remembered the sacrifice of
previous mothers, and started to open his mouth. But Tommy
quickly stood up and chanted: "Da pan...da pan...berber da pan."
"Oh, Tommy! You want something from the pan? Is that it? You're
hungry? Or do you mean bread? As in pan de sal? Oh, my bright,
genius of a son! You clearly took after your mom," blabbered
Bobby and Tommy just went back to their primitive terran toys,
ignoring the mindless stares of the impatient parents, the
clueless adults, the unsuspecting earthlings.
After all, it still wasn't the right time.
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From The Mouths Of Babes
Updated April 1998
Copyright © 1998 by Manuel Viloria of http://www.viloria.com
Email: manuel AT viloria DOT com