Planes, Trains, and Little Boy Names

The inner workings of Hal’s mind continue to fascinate me.

“I wish we could bring sheets to school,” he announced as we pulled away from the preschool. I correctly assumed he was referring to bedsheets being used at nap time. “I’d take my Planes sheets… becept they are still at Target.”

{Side Note: ‘becept’ is how he says ‘except’. I think he’s combining ‘but’ with ‘except’. We are sticklers for correcting grammar and pronunciation and we’ll eventually get to this one but it’s so cute that we keep letting it slide, not yet ready for it to leave his lexicon.}

I smiled at him stating ownership of sheets that he wished we had purchased at the store. He was apparently now thinking about his current Thomas the Tank Engine sheets and how they would be impacted by the addition of his imagined new Planes sheets, because he continued:

“It’d be ok for me to have two sheets. My Thomas sheets and my Planes sheets. I could have two. I could keep the Thomas ones on my bed at home and take the Planes ones to school.”

He paused for a minute, deep in thought.

“Why did they name him Thomas when there is already a Thomas in the world?”

“Which Thomas?” I asked.

“Well, there’s already Thomas the Tank Engine so why did they name him Thomas?”

“Who are you talking about?”

“The boy Thomas at church!”

“Oh. Well, honey, if we never used the same name more than once, we would have run out of names a really long time ago. Either that, or we’d have some pretty weird names now.”

“Well, they should have named him something else.”

“What should they have named him?” I asked.

“Well….Hmmm…. Let’s see…” The murmurs that indicated thinking continued on for a minute or two before he announced, “They should have called him The Alone Ranger!”

The Alone Ranger is what he calls The Lone Ranger. He can’t seem to embrace that “Lone” is a word so apparently assumes we are all saying “Alone” and no amount of discussion has been successful at persuading him otherwise.

“But there’s already a Lone Ranger in the world!” I protested.

“Well, yeah,” he responded, sounding a bit exasperated at me, “but that’s in a movie.”

“Thomas the Tank Engine is in a movie!”

“Yes, but there’s also a real one. Remember? We saw him at the train show? He just doesn’t talk.” Ah, yes. That one. How could I forget?

At no point in this discussion did it occur to him that his brother, father, and grandfather all share the same name. Nor that his sister was named after a great-aunt. I guess since that woman’s name is always said with “Aunt” in front of it, he deems it different. I think there are also two boys named Logan in his class. Also not a problem – he just adds their last names.

But the boy at church and the big blue train are both called – by him – Thomas. And that’s a problem.

I tried one last time. “Surely no one will get a little boy confused with a train engine… right? So don’t you think it’s probably ok if they have the same name?”


Thomas’s mother was relieved when I told her the outcome. Her daughter has already picked up the permanent nickname “Watermelon” due to Hal’s inability to pronounce her name. “The Alone Ranger” would be quite the awkward mouthful.

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