The Name Game

Growing up I had a teddy bear named Forley.

Forley was like My Buddy, without looking like a creepy midget wearing overalls and a ballcap. I took Forley everywhere I went from about age three to age eight or so. And his tattered look showed.

I had Forley in my room until about middle school and then retired my old friend to the closet as I hit my teens. During various moves in my life, Forley met his demise in some attic somewhere and eventually into a landfill.

The thing is, I have no idea why this unspectacular teddy bear – average looking for all intents and purposes – was named Forley.

Which is probably why I cannot explain why my daughter has taken to naming her animals, both inanimate and real, with unique names.

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This is our new female fish, Patrick.

Last weekend we bought her a beta fish, figuring a three-year-old could learn a little responsibility with a pet – feeding it, watching it grow, ultimately the circle of life. She has really enjoyed having this fish in her room and loves to feed it and watch it swim.

The beta fish was labeled as a female. Naturally my daughter named the fish “Patrick.”

For the record, we don’t know a single person named Patrick in our lives. Not even as a last name (Danica Patrick and Dan Patrick, as sports celebrities don’t count). My kid doesn’t even watch Spongebob Squarepants which would maybe help explain the name “Patrick” as Spongebob’s trusty sidekick.

And yet we now have Patrick the female beta fish living under our roof. At least Patrick is a normal name.

As part of her Easter basket my daughter received a small stuffed baby chick doll. It now is part of her “family” that sleeps with her at night – joining the ranks of two baby dolls, Minnie Mouse and a stuffed Easter bunny. It’s a pretty cramped twin bed.

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This is Baby Chloe, the given name out of the box. Yet, when her eye fell out I started calling her Carl. You’ll understand if you’re a Walking Dead fan. My daughter now calls her Carl as well, which is hysterical.

The baby chick, though, needed a name.

Me: What should we name this animal?

Daughter: Tata-tooey

And the legend of Tata-tooey was born.

It’s probably a good thing that humans under five cannot bear children or else we’d all be walking around with names that came straight out of Star Wars and have to fill out business cards and resumes and not have people laugh at us if we were named Jar-Jar Binks.

The big question is where the hell does this come from? It’s not like she’s a sheltered kid. She goes to daycare and has regularly named children in her class – Layla, Joey, Isabella, Victoria, Taylor and so on.

But I suppose that Tata-tooey makes as much sense as Forley so why try and figure it out?

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