At about the same time we returned to our house in Seattle, I noticed Peanut referring to me as (and occasionally addressing me as) "Okaasan." I find this interesting because I've never referred to myself as anything other than "Mama" and most of Gboy's relatives in Japan did the same. Gboy was probably the only person that she heard refer to me as Okaasan and that was maybe 50% of the time, the other 50% of the time he uses Mama when talking about me. And yet here we are with Peanut using Okaasan quite often when talking about me to Gboy or when she's by herself in her crib for example.
What I find most conflicting about this is that it was hard enough for me to adjust to being "Mama" in the first place. The whole idea of being someone's mother, especially since we had to wait for a while to have her in our lives making it almost unreal when she finally was, seemed foreign to me. Add to that the idea that I think of "Okaasan" as Gboy's mother since that's what the whole family calls her, and we have a strange mix. I don't think of myself as Okaasan at all. Peanut may as well be calling me Fred. I tried to explain this to my husband and he was really surprised to hear this. I reminded him that while the name "Okaasan" means something quite familiar and perhaps comfortable to him (having grown up with it all his life) it's unfamiliar to me. Furthermore, there's something frustrating about having someone else (or some other culture) dictate the terms of part of my relationship with my daughter which is sort of how this whole thing feels.
I'm able to see that there's something sweet about the fact that she's attached to me such that she'll call me both Mama and Okaasan to see which will get her the results she wants - i.e. me. I'm also able to see that this is just one of many of the interesting situations we're bound to run into in a bilingual/bicultural family. And for that I'm grateful; I'm grateful that Peanut has been exposed to both languages so much that she has a broad vocabulary of both English and Japanese already.