The Toddler and Silly Mummy are early to a Saturday morning kids’ club, and are waiting for it to open. Being early has never happened to Silly Mummy and The Toddler before. There is confusion in the Silly camp about what should be done now. The Toddler has resorted to socialising. She has found a couple of other children: a girl of about six, and her little brother, who is around The Toddler’s age. We will call them Maisie and Jake (because those are not their names).
The Toddler has so far offered to kiss Maisie. Her offer has been politely declined. They are now playing hide and seek using one of those holiday scene boards with the holes to put your head in. Jake is wandering around in the vicinity. He is not playing hide and seek. He would like it to be known that any appearance he may make in the game is purely accidental, and no indication that he is playing hide and seek with the girls. He just wanted to walk there, okay?
During one such accidental appearance, Jake puts his head in one of the holes. The Toddler points at him: ‘What’s that?’ Jake appears unconcerned by the rudeness of this address. Nonetheless, Silly Mummy sets about reaffirming meet and greet etiquette to The Toddler: ‘We say “who’s that”, not “what’s that”, don’t we? If you want to know what someone is called, you ask them their name. Can you say “what’s your name”?’
The Toddler dutifully says, ‘What’s your name?’
Maisie helpfully supplies, ‘His name is Jake. Mine is Maisie.’
The Toddler considers this information…and rejects it.
‘No, not Maisie.’
Silly Mummy sighs. Further points of meet and greet etiquette need to be covered. Namely, whether you can refuse to accept somebody’s name. You can not.
No-Not-Maisie’s parents are sniggering in the background. Be advised, punctual people: this is exactly the sort of thing that happens when you go around being early to things. Say what you want about us tardy folk: you turn up late for everything, your children don’t have time to be disagreeing with people’s names.