It's a brightly colored plastic knife with a cyclopean smiley face in the handle, which occasionally he pretends to feed morsels from his plate. It's from the Ikea children's department, of course. Where else could you find a child-safe knife with an one-eyed alien smiley face?
I wondered, at first, how he came to fall in love with the knife. He already had a lovey for naps and bedtime, a very charming plush puppy. What did the knife have that Doggie didn't?
Doggie wasn't allowed to run in the sprinkler, stomp in mud puddles, sit on Gareth's high chair tray at meals, or splash in the bath. The knife was allowed to do all those things, was a lot smaller and lighter to carry around, and was handy for flinging soil out of the tomato pots on the back patio.
Gareth has made a perfectly rational decision about one of the deepest, least rational bonds of his young life. The knife is an excellent companion on adventures, even if the child care people at the gym (also perfectly rationally) won't let him bring it into their play area.
I suppose it'll be good preparation if he decides he wants to be an astronaut xenolinguist or a barbarian warrior when he grows up.
Meanwhile, I find a mighty inner struggle is necessary to resist naming the knife Mack.