An Ode to KOTA the Triceratops


In the late 2000’s Hasbro Inc brought out a toy called KOTA the triceratops. It was a super cool toy that toddlers could sit on, feed, and interact with. It was three feet tall, and pretty awesome. My husband and I happened upon one in a TJ MAXX super cheap at Christmas one year, so we bought it for our then young nephews. In 2013, my Brother-in-law snuck KOTA into the back of our SUV while we were visiting them, and he made the trip back to Florida with us. At the time, we didn’t have any children, so he just hung out in the garage, until I passed him on to a friend for her son’s 3rd birthday.

Fast forward several years, and with an almost two year old at home, KOTA gets passed back. We were super excited to give him to our kiddo.  Though he had been passed around and loved, KOTA looked as if he came straight out of the box. He still growled, wagged his tail, and his eyes blinked. This is where everything went wrong. My little one took the blanket off the dinosaur and lost his ever loving mind. We didn’t even have to turn it on. He was absolutely terrified of it. So, KOTA went into a spare bedroom, where he was found months later in a closet, and then again to the garage where he couldn’t scare anyone; per my now three year old’s request. 

Then, my kiddo started having nightmares; he would wake up screaming No KOTA, no. We couldn’t reason with him that KOTA wasn’t real. He was distraught. So, KOTA left our home and found a new home with someone who would appreciate him. 

Fast forward almost two years, and now my almost 5 year old is in the stage where he is scared of everything. He’s constantly asking what that noise is, requesting to leave all the lights on, and doesn’t want to be left alone even for someone to walk out of the room. Intellectually, I know this is just a phase, and he will get over it with reassurance, and (parental) patience, but man it’s frustrating. We are up to 4 nightlights, a hallway light, 4 blankets, and 7 loveys. He was doing better, and then one night he woke up screaming. “Buddy, what are you afraid of?” “A shark, bears, and KOTA. They came in my room from the garage.”

What now? KOTA? The toy dinosaur that has been gone for years? Really? 

We went out to the garage, I showed him around, and let him lift up tarps, and move containers. “See Buddy, no KOTA, or sharks, or bears.” 

“But, Mama, where do they live?”

“Well, KOTA went to live with her family in the Saharan desert years ago, and the shark lives in an ocean in Germany, and the bears are in Montana. They are all far, far, away.” That was the best I could come up with on the fly, but he nodded his head in understanding, so I assumed it worked; and it did. Until this week. 

This morning he got up and said “Mama, I’m tired. KOTA and the shark were here last night, and I was scared. Will you make me a sign for my room?” 

“Awe, Buddy, I’m sorry you were scared, but you know home is safe. There is nothing to be afraid of. But, yes, I can make you a sign, what do you want it to say?”

“My Room, no Sharks, KOTA’s or Bears. ONLY Family, Kids, Babies, and Mario Kart Friends. That will make me happy, and keep out the monsters.”

Oddly specific, but I did it.  I got some stickers, made the sign and it went on his door. Fingers crossed, but I feel as if it’s made a difference, and he loves it. It was a small thing, but  I guess sometimes you just need your mom to make a sign to ward off evil animals. Who knew? And it goes without saying, but I seriously don’t want to see KOTA the Triceratops ever again. 

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to calm or make your kid happy? Tell me in the comments, I’m always looking for new tricks. Happy Parenting!