IT's Half Term. My house is full of three screaming maniacs and their myriad sidekicks. Those eccentric characters who looked so respectable at first, yet now only ever appear naked, or dressed in borrowed finery, their hair sticking up in clumps. Most of the time when you look for them, they are either lying face down in the middle of the kitchen, or you just see their leg, sticking up at a crazy angle from behind the curtain. Other times they are all lying in a heap in your own bed. It's like being at a student party, all the time, none of the time. And the names - I can hardly keep track - they change them so often. I have often wondered what it says about the namer, this child who seems so adorable, yet insists the only possible name today for their elephant is Mr Cupboard. So I have compiled, as I see it, a guide to Toy Naming Types.
The earliest stage of Toy Naming begins as soon as they can talk. You'll say 'What's he called, your Rabbit?', and he'll answer with his own name. Go easy on him, he probably doesn't know any others. Besides, his is the best, in fact the only real name, right? right?
Another common early name is the most obvious choice, Rabbit, Big Rabbit. Whatever. Say What You See, as the man on Catchphrase says, Say What You See.
Probably the cutest versions of early naming are the mispronounced ones. These often stick because enchanted adults insist on repeating them and perpetuating them. We know that our lisping darling will soon be back-chatting us or at the very least telling us we are wrong with nearly every word, so here's to retaining that childhood magic one 'Babu' at a time.
The Copy Cat
The older children get, especially once they are at nursery and having play-dates, the more the influence of other children creeps in. At least now they begin to know and remember that many possible names exist. I have seen many toys renamed at this stage either because the little friend has a favourite toy with a cool name or because the little friend needs worshipping and Bingo! Big Rabbit is now Lucy. I also know a lady whose younger child named his special friend with the same name as his older brothers toy. Imitiation is the sincerest form of flattery?
The Clever Clogs
This naming trait lasts until adulthood. You know that guy with a cat called 'Chairman Miaow'? He has this. It's the classic 'class-clown' desire to have everyone think you are clever and funny, and toy naming is a first attempt to exert this. Usually there's an element of parent baiting in it, but go easy, after all, playing with words and language is great for literacy! Unfortunately pre-school humour being what it is, Mr Cupboard may well be replaced with Mr Poo Poo, and they'll be crying with laughter as they tell you. Literally.
Gradually the toys will all settle into time-worn names that seem to work. A name sticks, be it Rosemary, Bappa or Croc Croc, but one thing is for sure. You will keep finding them under the refridgerator, wearing Barbies swimsuit as a glove, no matter what their name.