Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I must confess, I never really understood the mammoni.

"Mammoni" in Italian, means mama's boy. And, in Italy, they are as common as gnocchi gorgonzola. More than half of the single Italian men in Italy still live at home with their mothers. It has caused the birth rate in Italy to decline so much that it has become somewhat of a national crisis.

Blame the mammoni.

The mammoni are not all in Italy. This tradition has spread to the shores of America. You've seen them. You know them. Perhaps you are one yourself.

Not sure about the signs of a mammoni?

I had a friend who refused to shop for clothing without his mother by his side, well into his twenties. Mammoni.

My cousin claims he'll live at home in his mom's "compound" until he's at least forty. Mammoni.

I have a brother-in-law who insists on sitting next to his mother at the dining room table, even if that means booting a small child out of "his" seat. Mammoni.

My husband "conveniently" stops by his mom's house in the morning, just so she can make him her delicious eggs, hash browns, and creamed chipped beef. Mammoni (or possibly just hungry because we all know I'm no Julia Child).

The whole concept of the "mammoni" used to make me laugh, scratch my head, tease friends and family.

Until I had a son.

Now, I get it.

I totally get it.

I may not be Italian by blood, but through marriage and spirit, I have somehow created a little mammoni of my own.

I cannot go into the bathroom alone. Even for 10 seconds. If I try, I hear the pitter patter of little feet, bringing me a race car or a light up drum. (Both of which make the bathroom experience much more enjoyable, actually).

My little mammoni says the word, "Mama" at least 400 times a day, with various degrees of excitement and intonation.

He has accompanied me to the eyebrow waxer, the dentist, and, yes, even the gynecologist (where, in a paper gown, I tossed yogurt melts across the stark exam room to him in his stroller, while singing and dancing along to the radio playing, "Heat Wave"). A true mammoni goes where Mama goes.

On rare nights, when he sleeps in our bed, I watch him doze off, sucking his thumb, while rubbing his monkey's ears not only against his nose, but mine too. He curls up so closely to me, if he could "unzip" my belly and crawl back in, I swear he would. Every single night. When he wakes up, two centimeters from my face, he waves at me and smiles sleepily, "Ma-ma."

What can I say?

I've changed my view on the mammoni completely. To you skeptics, I say, don't knock it, 'til you try it!

I've gotta run . . . my mammoni is calling!

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