Naming the Animals

I’ve always thought it weird that the first thing we teach babies is to name the animals. I mean, really, is that at all practical for a kid in the suburbs for whom a duck sighting is seriously big news? Why don’t we teach them to identify food items they might want so badly they’re willing to throw a tantrum. I, for one, would benefit from that kind of baby knowledge.

I was thinking today, though, about how beautifully linked my daughter and Adam are, both new to this human thing and both lining up the animals, picking favorites, categorizing and naming.

Maybe we parents aren’t so much causing an animal fascination with books and plastic figurines. Maybe we’re born with it. Maybe it’s in us as a species to connect with creation, to identify with the created, to find our place in the lineup of cheetahs and elephants and polar bears.