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Amâ and baby Maia

December 3rd, 2005

My wife Bambit posted in her blog a photo of my baby Maia and myself in an animated conversation. In our dialogue, my baby calls me Amâ (pronounced in tagalog phonetics with a “maragsa”, having emphasis on the last syllable with a glottal stop). Although at the moment, my baby is only able to pronounce the ending of the word, mâ. In the same way, my baby calls her mom, nâ, short for Inâ (with the same pronunciation).

When we decided that our baby should call us Amâ and Inâ instead of the usual parental titles, many were delighted while other friends couldn’t hide their bewilderment. In good faith they worry that we might be making the life of our baby miserable by not using the ordinary parental address like Daddy or Mommy or Papa and Mama. They say our baby might be alienated and will find it difficult to interact with other children later on. Other people simply find the words weird.

I don’t see any problem about my baby calling me Amâ and Inâ to her mom. We decided to use it as an affirmation of my cultural heritage and a living legacy of my roots. By birth I am a Mindanawan having a Moro ancestry by my mother’s Maranaw lineage. Almost all tribes of the Bangsamoro uses Amâ and Inâ in addressing parents and even to grandparents. My baby is growing in a place and environment far from the land of my birth and somehow one thing that will mark her identity and tie her to her roots and ancestry besides our tarsilah (traditional genealogical history), is by calling us Amâ and Inâ.

If some people find it weird, that’s their problem not ours. We will be the proudest of parents when the time comes when our daughter is the one explaining to people why she calls her parents Amâ and Inâ.

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  1. the caterpillar
    December 4th, 2005 at 23:14 | #1

    that pic is cute. it reminds me of my father and myself.

    i appreciate that you’re sticking to ama and ina (maragsa) as parental addresses. you’re right, “if some people find it weird, that’s their problem.”

  2. December 5th, 2005 at 15:55 | #2

    Whatever the consequences, deciding how the child class us parents is such a prerogative that none than the parents themselves should make or decide upon–so I guess, there is really no reason for any apprehension Sam. And more so if the way of calling is coming from and due to a rich heritage, then it becomes a “beautiful” prerogative.

  3. December 5th, 2005 at 16:34 | #3

    i love the idea of maia calling you and Bambit, Ama and Ina.


  4. December 5th, 2005 at 22:24 | #4

    @ Caterpillar: Indeed, some people are culturally bankrupt or simply ignorant.

    @ Major Tom: Precisely. Whatever the parents want their children to call them is solely their prerogative.

    @ Ayeza: Astig dyud, sariling atin di ba?

    Thanks for your comments.

  5. December 6th, 2005 at 00:19 | #5

    hi, Sam! i admire your determination to stick to your cultural heritage up to the point of how your kids will address you. i find it unique, too. that makes it more admirable.

    people create issues from trivialities, as if teaching a child what to address her parents would affect the child’s upbringing. i know of a family where the kids call their parents by their first names but one can tell that they respect each other.

  6. December 10th, 2005 at 03:46 | #6

    yes, ama and ina (the meranao way) is cool!:)

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