Age of Nomenclature

Today’s post is brought you by CJ, maker of fine, authoritative children since 2002.


A few weeks ago at bedtime, I tucked Lucy in to her crib and whispered “Good night, princess,” only to get a response bordering on outrage: “I not princess! I’m big girl! I’m Lucy!”

This was my first warning that we had entered that particular phase – where everything must be named precisely. And woe betide any adult who does not identify an object or person exactly in the manner prescribed by her majesty the big girl named Lucy because a very authoritative toddler is waiting to correct them.

For example, take birds. Lucy knows exactly three types of birds

  • robins – because her sister talked about them and watched for them every day for the months of March and April as a sign of spring
  • owls – because they’re on one of her favorite dresses
  • bald eagles – because an episode of Little Einsteins had a bald eagle steal Leo’s baton

Since she knows that robins have red breasts and owls have big eyes, every other bird is therefore a bald eagle.  For example:

“Look, Lucy! A hawk flying in the sky!”

“That’s not a hawk, that’s bald eagle!”


“Look, Lucy! What do you see on our deck?”

“I see the bald eagle, mommy!”

“I thought it was a sparrow.”

“No, it’s not. It’s a bald eagle!”

And then this morning she was playing with her Fisher Price Little People with the peacock. She knows it’s a peacock because that’s what Mark and I have called it, but that’s exactly what it is – no more, no less. When another Little People character walked up to the peacock to say “Hi, bird!” the peacock indignantly replied, “I’m not a bird! I’m a peacock!”

Don’t call it princess, either!