Feeling somewhat badly that Pumpkin’s main exposure to animals so far has been via her very colorful activity mat, we took her to the local zoo so she could see real animals. On her mat the giraffe is yellow with red spots, the elephant is purple with green dots, and the monkey is blue. It actually gets more complicated on the giraffe front because she has three other giraffes in the house – Sophie, who looks the most lifelike of the bunch (she’s the little squeaky teether that everybody raves about that I could not believe I was buying for $20 but it turns out was so worth it), and two other stuffed giraffes – one green and one pink – that were gifts, and as far as I’m concerned, are complicating the situation.
The monkey house was somewhat of a bust because Pumpkin was cranky (I’m guessing because the monkeys were being fed while we were there and she wasn’t). She didn’t seem to be paying any attention to us saying “look at the monkeys” and so I’m guessing that in her mind monkeys are still blue. She took a little nap on the way to the giraffe area but luckily woke up when we got there. There were eight of them and they were very active. Pumpkin perked right up and watched them so intently – it was the cutest thing. Daddy noted that she was probably wondering if her little Sophie had grown, and we laughed that she was probably afraid to go back to sleep after that for fear that when she woke up again, mommy and daddy would also be huge. Eventually we moved on to the elephants but they were not a big hit, probably because of their blah color that’s not very eye-catching to a baby. I’m sure there was no connection in her mind between the little purple elephant whose trunk she likes to chew and the giant gray creature behind the fence.
I knew it was time to go when Daddy started taking pictures of squirrels (yes, squirrels, the little fuzzy creatures that are all over our yard) and Pumpkin wasn’t even interested in the zebras (don’t babies like color contrast? does it get any better than zebra stripes?)
It was a fun trip but I’m not sure we clarified anything for Pumpkin. Then again, I’ve read a lot of baby books and I don’t recall seeing anything about confusion later in life resulting from exposure to different colored stuffed animals, or about any mix-up between stuffed animals and real animals. But – you can bet that once Pumpkin can talk, one of my first questions just to make sure will be – what color are giraffes?