My friend visited recently with her adorable little baby. As I was entertaining the baby while mom went to the restroom I started pointing to the animals on her bib and saying “that’s a lion!” “that’s an elephant,” etc. And out of sheer habit I asked her what the cow said and then I mooed. We went through the usual suspects, dog, cat, sheep.
It seems that everyone teaches babies animal sounds, with some urgency, as if they can’t succeed in life if they don’t know that a lion roars.
Sure, there is the alphabet and numbers and putting the right shape into the right hole (I still can’t get that one) and a million other things for their sponge-like brains to absorb. It’s true that animal sounds write over the data in the little crevice in the brain that houses geometry or rocket science or some other useless information.
Is there a better trade-off for valuable brain real estate? What if parents filled that crevice with useless trivia instead? Information that will be handy at cocktail parties and pubs. Imagine asking baby “Who won the Oscar for best actor in 1956?” or “How many people have climbed Mt. Everest? How many died trying?” Now your baby is the best conversationalist in his or her play group.
So enough with silly animal noises. Moo is so last week.