When my youngest son was very little, he was not the easiest little guy to manage. Wiggly, curious, wiggly, hyper, wiggly, prone to temper-tantrums, and by the time I was able to get him to sleep at night, my own blood pressure was so high I couldn’t calm myself down enough to go to bed. Also, there was the wiggly nature I may have alluded to earlier. With the wiggles.
He had a constant need to be on the move, and to have something in his hands at all times.
This was around the ages of 3-4 years old, and he had a habit of naming EVERY. SINGLE. THING. Ever. In the Universe.
And he named them according to physical attributes.
There was Blackie, and Spotty, and Brownie, and Stripey, and Squishy, and Softy. And so very, very many others, the names of which I can no longer recall, although at the time, I had quite a knack for it, as it was required that I call each toy or item by name in order to play any of the bazillion-ty-million imaginary games he made up.
Early on, Brennan had a speech issue that required some speech therapy, as well as occupational therapy for some sensory and fine motor skill delays. We were encouraged to repeat and repeat words he could say properly and go along with any conversation he initiated, in an effort to build his vocabulary.
That was right around the time he was given a little Beanie Baby as a gift from his grandmother. Small and squishy enough to fit right into his hand, he developed a deep and abiding love for this Beanie Baby.
It was a rhinoceros.
He named it Horny.
Falling asleep each night, Horny would be clutched tightly into his small fist, curled up to his slightly-sleep-sweaty baby cheek.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner had to be eaten with whatever hand wasn’t clutching Horny, and the little rhino went everywhere, and I mean everywhere, with us.
As it was his most favorite thing in all the world, we were kind of forced into developing conversations and games around Horny and his activities. Horny the Rhino became such an intricate part of each day, we sort of forgot how funny it sounded.
Of course, Horny had to go with us to occupational therapy, and I still remember the look – and it’s been about 7 years now – on the therapist’s face when Brennan ran up to her, waving the rhino in his hand, screaming, “Kiss me, I’m Horny!” and shoving the stuffed toy up to her face.
(Stumbling, stuttering explanations hurriedly ensued.)
Three of my children have a medical disorder that requires a monthly infusion. When they were little, each poke was rewarded with a treat from a prize box.
On one such day, Brennan’s veins weren’t cooperating, and he had to get two needle sticks in a row, so he went in search of TWO new toys from the prize box.
Digging to the bottom of the big box, he came up victorious. Brennan had found not one, but TWO (what are the odds?) rhinoceros Beanie Babies!! One was very tiny, and the other one was extra large.
Turning joyously to his nurse, he shouted at the top of his lungs, “Now I have a Horny baby, and a Horny daddy, and at my home I have a Horny mamma!”
I’m not positive what that peculiar shade of purplish-red is called, but both the nurse and I had simultaneously turned the same color. Our eyes locked over his head, her mouth opened and shut, opened and shut, the look on her face clearly communicating, “I know there must be a valid explanation for what this little boy has just said, but I can’t come up with anything.”
I tried to explain, but I was choking and hiccupping and trying valiantly to swallow the horrified laughter rising from my throat, my hands fluttering somewhere around my face like butterflies on speed.
And Brennan? He was oblivious, sitting happily on the floor and introducing the new members of the Horny family to one another.