On New Year's Day I was lucky enough to go to the zoo with Monkey, her parents, her aunt, uncle, cousin and Nana. (By the way - great adult to child ratio there - 6 to 3!)
Anyway, Monkey's 16 months old now, and she's beginning to put things together. And, I saw one of those moments. When something she'd learnt in the abstract - or pictorial - came to life and she KNEW.
She's been learning animal noises (good job by her parents). So, we spent the day hearing various rahs, and oo-oo monkey noises as she identified animals. Sometimes - interesting choices: the siamang was called 'teddy' and the sealion 'shark' (said with relish - just how her dad says it). Not bad for 16 months, and entertaining thinking through her thought processes to identify unfamiliar animals through her worldview.
Her dad said 'look at the elephant' - but Burma was a bit blending in with the background, as she was towards the back of the enclosure, having a mud bath. But then she came closer. And, Monkey got it. 'Ella!' she said, very excitedly. 'Ella! Ella!' When she was standing, holding on to the fence railings, she was so excited, she was rocking back and foward, shaking the bars.
I apologise for the photos - and upcoming lack of them. Didn't check the batteries before I left. Idiot.
So, there's no photo of Monkey standing, face and hands pressed against the glass, looking at the cheetahs RIGHT THERE, saying 'rah'. Cuteness.
It made the zoo experience very cool. Not that the weather was cool at all!
Another aside - how do children recognise all those different things as 'ducky': eg plastic rubber duck toy, picture of said toy, real duck, picture of real duck, photo of real duck, duckling... The human brain is an amazing thing.