Apparently at the age of two or so, I began calling my parents by their first names as an experimental venture. I assume that I would have stood in the kitchen and said;

“Jan. Jan? JAN!! Get my cup down from the bench, I can’t reach it!”

Or, alternatively…

“Ray. Ray? RAY!! Read me another story, and stop giving me that Phenergan…”

My sister did not have this phase, as I distinctly remember walking along the beach with her when I was about five or so (her being three-ish) and writing my parent’s names in the sand. I told her what I had written and she looked blankly at me. “Who’s Jan and Ray?” she asked. “Their names are mum and dad.”

For the past month or so, Small Z has been calling us ‘Dadda’ and ‘Mama’ less regularly, preferring to refer address us as ‘Gordon’ and ‘Henry’, respectively. And herself? She is, of course, ‘Tootle‘.

“Ah Zoe,” I say to her, “You look gorgeous in that hat…”

She pouts. “I’m TOOTLE.”


We just played with some fantastic Thomas the Tank Engine stickers that we were given, and there was one of Henry – the green train.

“Look Henry!” said Tootle to me, “It’s a copper of you!”

“A copy?!” I said, “How amazing! It looks just like me!” It was extraordinary.

Small Z has not yet come up with a concrete train name for Small D, but has referred to her as B’Doon – probably in relation to the moon, and similar to what she has named her large wooden train – G’Dain… which has been so pimped out that it is now hard to tell what exactly lurks under the multiple layers of multi-coloured frippery.