When I was a child, I had seven children…or so I believed. They may not have actually walked or talked, but I loved them unconditionally in spite of these limitations. Some of you international Berries may not know what I’m talking about, but you American Berries who were children of the ‘80s and ‘90s understand what I mean when I say that my Cabbage Patch Kids were my babies. This American line of dolls has been going strong since the late 1970s, each one coming with a unique set of features, clothing, and best of all, birth certificates, complete with first names, middle names, and birth dates. They were, as the legend goes, born in a magical cabbage patch presumably located in some supernatural corner of America that is birthing plastic-headed, soft-bodied babies to this very day.
As I said, my Cabbage Patch Kids (CPKs) were my babies, and I had seven. I held them, clothed them, took them for walks in little doll strollers, bought them each pairs of handmade CPK-sized underwear from a local flea market, and I was even able to give one of them baths because she was a special variety of CPK made to go in water. I owned the special CPK baby carrier, and put my dolls to bed each night on wooden doll-sized bunk beds made my great-grandfather (yes, I did fit all seven of them onto one set of bunk beds…and they slept just fine stacked on top of one another, thank you very much). They were my babies in every way but one: I did not name them. Apart from the one that I bought second-hand without his birth certificate, and another that came with a horrid name that absolutely had to be changed, I felt obligated to keep the names they had borne since their emergence from the magical cabbage patch.
I do not know who is responsible for the name combos that come on Cabbage Patch Kids’ birth certificates, but I can tell you this: It is not a Nameberry. Don’t get me wrong, some of these dolls come with names as magical as the land whence they came, but many of them feature odd, rarely-heard name combos that clash stylistically and rhythmically. My little plastic-headed family was saddled with one or two such names, though I was particularly lucky in that most of mine came with lovely name choices:
Abigail Sarah became just Abby to me. Her name might flow just fine to the average person, but to my childhood ear it was a disastrous clash of my best friend’s first name and my sister’s first name, like mixing water and oil.
Collette was my very first CPK, and I was too little to read her birth certificate myself or to care what her middle name was. Thus her middle name has long been lost to me.
Daniel James was named by yours truly, as he was rescued from a consignment shop in an abandoned and naked state. I was not a name nerd at the time, and simply gave him the name my parents would have used if any of their daughters had been a boy.
Nana Vicky’s name takes the cake. Nana. They named my baby Nana. I was about eight years old when I got her, and my maternal grandmother was my Nana. I was appalled at this choice by the Cabbage Patch gods. I immediately changed her name to Ashley Joy—an unsurprising ‘90s first-name choice with an unsurprising filler middle name, perfect to an eight-year-old.
My sisters had their own Cabbage Patch Kids, and although I don’t remember some of their middle names, they had:
Truth be told, I didn’t give much thought one way or the other to my Cabbage Patch Kids’ names. What can I say—I was not a Nameberry at the time. There was only one doll name that ever caught my attention, worn by one of my few non-CPK dolls. She was a generic doll that I never played with much, but her brown eyes and calico dress of brown, orange, and cream always caught my eye. She came with the name Jamie—a sound that, to me, replicated the sound of tinkling wind chimes and was, I believed, the most beautiful sound in the English language. With no real-life friends named Jamie and with parents unwilling to name my youngest sister Jamie, I determined at a young age to one day have a Jamie of my own. And who knows…maybe I still will.
So let’s hear your dolls’ names—CPK or otherwise! Did you keep your Cabbage Patch Dolls’ original names, or did you override that birth certificate and choose something all your own? Did your dolls inspire any of your current name loves? Let’s hear them!
Donna Davenport has been a name addict since her adolescence, and has been a Nameberry fan since discovering it last year. She and her husband are currently trying to conceive their first child, whose name changes daily.