Hello, My Name Is _______?


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October 8, 2016

Some words have many meanings.  Aloha is a great example.  It can mean hello or goodbye.  It can also mean love and affection.  Aloha can be added onto other words to express good morning, good afternoon and dozens of other expressions.  Aloha means so many different things that I could stand in downtown Honolulu, scream it at the top of my lungs, and either be hugged or arrested depending on how someone chose to interpret my tone.


(Sure, Hawaii is the Aloha State but with so many meanings can we be sure they’re not telling us to pound sand up our ass?)

My sons, Arthur and Charles, are about 17 months old and have no idea what their names are.  I say their names hundreds of times a day to no response.  They’re not deaf.  If they hear Elmo’s voice their heads snap in that direction quicker than their bodies can even adjust giving them a Linda Blair in The Exorcist vibe.



It’s possible that they’re aware that their names are Arthur and Charles but aren’t crazy about them.  They might just be ignoring me until I call them by names they prefer but I think that would be giving them way to much credit.  I don’t think they’ll start being passive aggressive until they’re two.

At any rate they hear the words Arthur and Charles constantly so I have to conclude that they think these words mean something.  And I believe they think that “Arthur” and “Charles,” like “Aloha,” has many different meaning.  I’ll attempt to get in their minds and translate.

  • Using their names with a question mark attached

Arthur? – Translation – “Hey there, Sport.  Do you think you could pull the Apple TV cords out of the TV and start chewing on them”?  (ALT) “If I turn my back for a minute can you try to drink the liquor I hide in my ‘There’s A Chance This Is Tequila’ coffee thermos”?


(Another fantastic gift from my friend Kirsten.)

Charles? – Translation – Buddy, your brother is holding something he’s enjoying very much so can you take that away from him right now”?

If I say their names with an exclamation, they never interpret it as a warning.  They think of my tone as pure support and enthusiasm.

Arthur! – Translation – “Great job taking all that dog hair and putting it in your mouth and swallowing it!  Let’s find out if they have competitive eating competitions for that like they have for hot dogs in Coney Island.  You could be the Joey Chestnut of Golden Retriever fur.”

Charles! – Translation – “I couldn’t be prouder or more impressed that you’re standing precariously on top of the tall bureau.  So many people would be frightened they’d fall to their death but not you, you brave little idiot!!” (ALT) “You go run away now and don’t look back for either of your parents at any point!  No one steals kids these days!”


(Charles, always on the search for new parents)

Of course they hear their names most often in a defeated tone.

Arthur – Translation – “Please pull my arm hair.”  (ALT) ” “Thanks for taking a dump in the diaper I put on you ten seconds ago.” (ALT) “Thanks for putting my iPhone in your mouth.  You’re right.  I DO need to unplug.”  (ALT) “I don’t know if that will fit in your nose but you should give it a shot.”

Charles – Translation – “You’re right. Dressing people while they sit still IS boring.” (ALT) “Good call.  It’s more fun for everyone if you to try to escape while I put you in your car seat.” (ALT) “Yes, putting children’s Tylenol in a moving target is much more rewarding.” (ALT) “Sure, I think someday you’ll achieve your goal of smashing Arthur’s hand in a door jam.”

**Charles is more active than Arthur.

I feel I’ve become fluent when it comes to the language of Charles 101 and Beginning Arthur.  They’ve taken the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” and turned it on its head.  For these guys one word is worth a thousand meanings to fit whatever it is they feel like doing at that particular time. I thought I had lazy mastered, but these kids teach me that I’m a novice every day.

Least Favorite Child Results

Yes, I was on a blog sabbatical as I went on vacation in Catalina and had a busy week of catch up at work, so I can go into the detail of every single day.  I’ll break it down for everyone’s (mostly mine) convenience.

  • 8 days of vacation. Charles was least favorite 3 of those days and Arthur won the honors 5 times. Highlights for each included Charles taking a dump in the hot tub and Arthur drinking an unknown amount of tequila when I wasn’t looking.   I handled the tequila the same way I would handle it if I drank one tenth my body weight in booze.  I gave him some pizza and water before he went to bed.


(Kudos to Arthur who had his first shot without a lime or a chaser.  I expect his first chest hair next week.)

  • September 26 through October 2.  The boys had a 3-3 split last week.  Arthur ran out to a quick lead, but Charles caught up if for no other reason than putting his shoes on every morning is an effort that makes beads of sweat fall down the crack of my ass. (Sorry for the visual)

October 3 – Least Favorite is Charles. The one bright spot about having kids is that you know a day earlier when you used to that you were going to be sick.  Charles is always the first one to catch a cold and when I spot his runny nose I know I have 24 hours to get to the CVS and get my meds.  Of colds always start with Charles.  I may change his name to Patient Zero.  He may answer to that.  **99% of all cold come from blue ball pits.


October 4 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur caught Charles’ cold but of course my wife and I have it now as well.  Don’t whine to me Arthur.  Look at your brother is you’re in to assigning blame.

October 5 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Arthur likes a late night snack.  So do I, but I can manage to take care of my snack needs myself while Arthur needs me to bring him a bottle of milk.  Can’t he just quietly get a Snickers bar and turn ESPN on low like Daddy?

October 6 – Least Favorite is Charles. Wiping the nose of a reluctant and fast toddler requires more athletic ability than I ever displayed in high school.

October 7 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Charles is feeling much showing off his obnoxious dance moves while we are all still dealing with coughs and raw noses from generic kleenex.  Glad you’re feeling better Patient Zero!

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 65

Charles – 59

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 422





4 thoughts on “Hello, My Name Is _______?”

  1. Todd Duffey Writes on Things said:

    You make people smile through the back of their necks. Like Guy Smiley, but happier. Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Todd Duffey Writes on Things said:

      p.s. – email me. Let’s get a beer. Can’t find your email address (a friend’s kid came over and deleted all my old emails – you know the drill).


  2. I’m twenty-eight and I’m being out-drunk (out-drank? out-drinked?) by a toddler. Fantastic. Hope his hangover wasn’t too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s time for another buzzfeed quiz! Surely they must have something snazzy and borderline serial killer descriptors regarding name meanings and personality development/career paths/sexual prowess (Although, I think infants with the nipple tweaking kinda have that last one in the bag.)?


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