An Animal Education

This is the first fall since we've been married that neither Jeff or I have been starting a new semester of school. This has been a weird feeling, but I've been glad to discover that learning is a lifelong endeavor and has not abandoned us. Or we haven't abandoned it, I suppose.

Here is a report on my recent education in the subject of Animals:

1. I was reading a lift-the-flap book to the cub about animals and turned to this page.

I realized I actually didn't know what we were going to find under the flap. My first thought was the farmer's wife, looking at a stubborn spit-up stain that hadn't come out in the wash, shrugging her shoulders and saying "Meh" before hanging it up anyhow. (Could be drawing from my own recent life experiences.) I realized that probably wasn't correct though.

It was a goat, everyone. Goats don't care much about anything. They say 'meh' and eat your sock.

Sometimes I tell Jeff that I wish I could go back and read Harry Potter for the first time again, and re-experience that magic. This was almost like that, expect I went even farther back in time and got to experience the wonder of having no idea what was under the flap of my board book.

2. The cub has a giraffe wubbanub which we've christened Jeremy the Giraffe (also known as Germy Jeremy the Giraffe) that she adores. She mainly ignores the pacifier part and prefers the giraffe-y part. You know how you narrate things to babies? Much of my day goes like this - "Oh, look at you, chewing on his feet." "You love chewing on Jeremy's ears, huh?" "Aww, you like to chew on...on...(do giraffes have horns??)"

So I looked it up. Those things on the giraffe's head are called ossicones. Now you all know. They are indeed hair covered horns.

3. In the cub's new room there is a wall full of beautiful big windows. Several times every morning there is a thud and a cardinal crashes into one part of the window, falls to the ledge and hops up and down along it. We've named him Carl Francis and enjoy his visits, but I still found this so strange. Was he trying to come in? Was it something about the color of the room?

In "On the Night You Were Born" it says that if a bird comes and sits on your windowsill a while it is just because he's waiting to see you smile and has a picture of a cardinal, which I thought was a nice idea and that was what I told the cub was the reason he kept coming back. But I knew that (probably) wasn't really it.

Jeff pointed out that the windows have a reflective film on them to block out all the sun in the morning, that means he is probably only seeing trees. We thought maybe he was trying to land in one and hitting the window instead, but I still consulted the internet. taught me this:
   "Cardinals and Robins are very territorial birds. When birds see another of the same species in its breeding or feeding territory, it instinctively attacks the other bird. Your house or cars windows act as mirrors to the birds. When they are close enough to see their own reflection, they interpret this as an intruder and begin attacking or pecking at the window to chase the intruder away."

Okay, now we all know that he's also trying to chase away other birds he thinks are also waiting to see that smile.

So now this is a normal, untroubling thing to see in her room:


Thanks for joining me on this educational journey. It never ends, thankfully.