I let my kid bring Whiskey to school. It didn’t go well.
To be clear, Whiskey is a cat — a stuffed cat.
I had reservations about Gigi bringing Whiskey to school, but apparently not for any of the right reasons. I was worried that her favourite doll might get ruined, that her long soft orange fur would get dirty from playing outside during recess, and that if I had to wash her she wouldn’t be as soft and shaggy as she is now.
I wasn’t worried about kids teasing her. I wasn’t worried that they would take her doll from her and yell at her and call her names.
Gigi is in second grade. Apparently, other second-graders did NOT appreciate that my kid had named her stuffed bestie after an alcoholic beverage. They made fun of my daughter and gave her a hard time.
We talked when she got home that night. The conversation didn’t go the way I expected. I thought she was going to tell me about all the fun Whiskey had at school, instead, I got to hear about how she was teased all day.
Did you explain to the other kids WHY her name is Whiskey?
“Yeah, I told them it’s because she’s the colour of whiskey.”
Wait… you WHAT? What colour would that be?
Sweetie, have you ever even seen whiskey? What does whiskey look like?
Why would you say that? That’s not where her name comes from.
“But I didn’t want to be stupid.”
You named her whiskey because of her whiskers, right? Why didn’t you tell the other kids that?
“Well… at first I tried… but Mom, she doesn’t even HAVE any whiskers!!”
I know, but that’s what you named her.
“So I just told them she’s the colour of whiskey… because that sounded better, and I didn’t want to be stupid.”
You’re not stupid.
“But everyone said I was.”
Because of your cat’s name?
So did lying and telling them that you named her after a drink help?
“No. They made fun of me and told me whiskey is bad.”
We bought the cat last summer at the Magical Menagerie in Diagon Alley at Universal, Orlando. It took two visits to the store, and much deliberation to decide on this furry orange cat, which I’m pretty sure is designed to look like Crookshanks. For the record, I tried to talk her into one of the many cool owls that they had, or a gryphon, but she insisted on the cat.
She immediately christened the doll Whiskey. We paid for it and had it sent to our room so we wouldn’t have to carry it around the park all day. My daughter kept asking if Whiskey would be in her room waiting for her when we got back to the hotel, or loudly proclaiming, “I wish I had my Whiskey with me right now!”. I quickly realized that it sounded bad out of context.
She made up an impromptu song about Whiskey, something along the lines of, “Whiskey you’re so frisky, I’m happy when I’m with youuuuu. Whiskey you make me frisky, frisky toooooo.” Again, out of context, not great. I had a hard time not laughing the first time she sang it. I had some second thoughts. I wondered if I shouldn’t talk her into a different name, but my daughter was innocent, happy and oblivious, so I let it go.
Should I have talked her into a different name? At the time I worried someone would think we were a family of lushes, given that my daughter was singing songs to herself about whiskey. Never in a million years did I think it would lead to her peers giving her a hard time.
I am 99.9% certain that when she named her cat my daughter had no clue what whiskey was. (We’re not teetotallers. She’s seen her Dad, or I, drink a beer or two on occasion, but that’s about it.) Should I, as the parent, have stepped in and told her, “Hey, whiskey is an alcoholic beverage — so that’s not an appropriate name for your doll.”? It’s definitely not something I thought I would find myself feeling guilty about eight months down the road.
Should I have stopped her from bringing Whiskey to school? Instead getting her to take another doll? Ugh. Mom doubt. It’s the worst.
(And for the record, if anyone ever offers you a glass of whiskey the colour of this cat — which would be bright dirty orange — I’d suggest running the other way.)