Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Descriptive Naming Syndrome

My children have an ailment that they inherited from my beloved in-laws. This condition, which shall henceforth be called Descriptive Naming Syndrome (DNS for short) forces the creativity center of their brain to freeze up whenever they are in a position to name a stuffed animal or toy. I cannot relate to DNS because I was the queen of thoughtful names as a child. My cat had kittens once when I1351109_008
was 10 or 11 and I carefully studied each of the kitten's behavior to come up with the perfect name. There was Balboa the fighter, Hanz and Franz, the twin chocolate colored kittens, Butch, the big, fat tabby and Nanook the calico (named after the dog in the movie, The Lost Boys because of my mad crush on Corey Haim). I did not take naming animals, even the stuffed variety, lightly. I resented Xavier Roberts for pre-naming Cabbage Patch Kids and took it upon myself to make up nicknames for each of mine, refusing to give credence to the ones on the birth certificates. Yeah, I was a rebel.

My kids, not so much. Each of them received a Webkinz in their Easter Baskets and their names are simple descriptions of what the animal is. My son, who received a reindeer (thank you clearance aisle!) named it, "Deer," even after my repeated attempts to make descriptive, yet creative suggestions.

How about Rainy? It tells everyone that it's a reindeer but still makes a good name.

What about Dasher or Dancer? Prancer or Vixen?

My suggestions fell on deaf ears and the poor animal was dubbed, "Deer" officially by the resident Webkinz adoption agent. My son's two other Webkinz are Puppy and Kitty, respectively. Try to guess which is which. Just try!

My daughter received an adorable little white terrier in a Webkinz purse (thank you consignment sale! What can I say, I'm an Easter bargain hunter!). After careful consideration, she named her Puppy Girl. I made some desperate pleas in the form of upbeat suggestions:

How about Fluffy?

What about Pinky? Cutie Pie? Cinderella? Tinkerbell?

She didn't fall for my tricks and her dog was aptly named, Puppy Girl, birth certificate and all.

My husband finds this behavior perfectly acceptable. Growing up, his pets had such fantastically creative names as Black Cat, White Cat, Brown Dog,
Spotted Dog and my perennial favorites, Dog and Cat. Come on Hales! Throw a Mama a bone, no pun intended. And stop passing on the DNS gene!


  1. Did you know that Chris had an imaginary horse before Sean was born? His horse's name? Oh yes, you guessed it. . . HORSE.

  2. In college, I had a hamster named Hammie. HAHA!! DNS strikes there.
    We had a Golden Cocker Spaniel named Doobie ~ We were listening to the Doobie Brothers on the way from picking her up. We had another Cocker Spaniel named Ginger because she was that color.
    My beloved stuffed animal tiger was named Tiger and now my son wants to sleep with him.
    I guess we can't be creative all the time.

  3. It must be a mama thing, cause I go through the same thing with my kids. Cody's black cat from Webkinz, is named Blacky..go figure!

  4. My husband's (last) cat was named Bone Head. So enjoy the simple, uncreative names. However, is it self-centered that my son names his after himself? hmmm...

  5. Just be grateful that you were coherent enough after giving birth to fill out the birth certificates. Had Sean been left to his own devices, you might very well be the proud mother of "Boy" and "Girl" Hale.

  6. Or Female and Male. I've heard many an urban legend about those names!

  7. We have the same problem here. Zach's fav dog is named puppy dog. Garrett's fav is cow pillow and it's a cow pillow. Elizabeth's fav is also named puppy dog and the other is baby. Crazy kids!
    I am lucky are dogs already had names when we got them or they would be called big dog and little dog :)

  8. I have a friend who was asked to name his brother's new born twins, he named the girl Denise, the boy, Denephue, Yeah, I know, LAME!!!, I guess I got this name game started, I used to have a coon hound named Damit!, because everytime I took him for a car ride, he took a crap in my car, open the trunk, and yell Damit!! After that, when Chris was little, we tried the cute names, Fat Fred for the Irish setter, Buttons for the miniature Eskimo Spitz (white with very black eyes and nose), and socks for the black cat with white stockings, that was the end of that. Then we got Black Cat, and White Cat, the rest is LEGEND!!

  9. I'm not sure at what age the DNS stops. My 10-year-old niece bought a stuffed penquin at the aquarium and named him...Penquin. Sheesh.

  10. We have a case of that here too! My son's Webkinz spotted frog is Froggy and our fish was Swimmy.
    Luckily my daughter is more creative with her naming!
    Caramel, Choclate Kiss, Midnight, etc.

  11. Yes, we have that syndrome too - Puppy and Bear and Baby Doll all live at our house - oh, and Froggy (who survived the famous decapitation incident) and Moo-ie (a moose - see, there we got a little creative, right?) and Kitty, of course...

  12. When we got a newest edition, he is supposed to be a Boxer/Bull Mastiff mix, huge paws is all I got to say. Anyway, I can't recall what Trey wanted to name him, but I am thinking it was a crazy name. So, my FIL told Trey about his favorite dog, a bulldog growing up, "Bob". So that stuck w/ Trey, so Bob is our Boxer/Bull Mastiff's name. Fits him well- Trey will say "here Booooobbb", cute!
    Now Dusty and I named our Brittany mix "Whiskey", go figure :).

  13. I'm not sure if you're aware, but DNS is epidemic. You must have had an innate immunity to it as a child. My children had DNS. A purple colored stuffed bunny was named "Purple." A rather large chick was "Big Chick," and when they did take a stab at being creative, a Dalmatian was named "Dan."

  14. My granddaughter (3) named her stuffed bunny "Hello Kitty ". Go figure !