“Is that your bear? What is his name?”
Sofia lifts her little stuffed animal friend to her face where they nuzzle nose to nose, a subconscious reflex she turns to whenever she is feeling shy or is seeking comfort.
“Bear” she squeaks, her eyes peeking up over her glasses as she peers at the curious adult.
I exchange looks with the inquisitor and nod, affirming the true nature of Bear’s identity. Her bear is called Bear. She received him as a gift when we were still in the hospital just shortly after she was born, and they have been together ever since. We tried to push for Bear to have a different name, only to be chastised for such an abominable suggestion. Bear is Bear.
And thus grew a trend in our household of unoriginal names for all of our stuffed animal friends. In addition to Bear we have Brown Bear, Little Brown Bear, Pink Bear, Graduation Bear, and the newest to be named, Bear’s Twin Brother. Her brother’s animal friends have also benefited from this unconventional naming convention. His favorite friend, a Dalmatian, is referred to simply as Woof-Woof.
I credit this to the fact that he learned to say woof before he learned to say dog. Regardless, the name stuck. We also have additional family members by the names of Woof-Woof Junior, and Christmas Woof-Woof.
I have tried to suggest more common names, such as Edward or Jacob (sigh), but to no avail. At this point I would even take names in the English translation of Native American descent, such as He Who Goes Where She Goes, or He Who Always Needs a Bath. Alas, no.
This past Christmas we showed Sofia our new Elf on the Shelf. The magic little elf, tasked with monitoring her behavior throughout the day and reporting back to Santa each night (be good…the elf is watching), was a welcome addition to our family. We explained to her that she had the very important assignment of naming the elf, and the only rule was that he had to be named something other than Elf. She picked…Banana.
Yet even though she looked for Banana every morning and marveled at his ability to reposition himself throughout the house, she never gave Banana his credit; she never referred to him by name. He was simply Elf.
When I was a child I attended a small sleep over, which instead of sleep involved over 16 hours of a mind numbing game of Monopoly. During the throws of REM deprived real estate haggling, my friends and I discussed the names of our future children. As I scarfed down Doritos and peanut butter at 4:00 a.m., I came to the brilliant conclusion that if I had a daughter I would name her Orchasia Keene. Thankfully I got over it. I am therefore trying not to be too concerned that my future grandchild, like every other doll Sofia currently owns, could eventually be named Baby.
Let the “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” jokes commence…now.