Identity Crisis Among Ducks

January 12th, 2010

As I watch Miss Mouse discover and name the things in her world, I’ve been puzzling over the nature of object identity. By that I mean: how do we define what something is and how do you teach that to a small person?

When speaking to a toddler, what are the defining attributes that make a cow a cow and make it possible to recognize them in their varied forms? The size? The four hooves? Horses have those. The attractive black and white patterning? Not all cows have that. See, it’s tricky.

Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that we ever figure it out. Take ducks, for example. They’re everywhere in kid books and toys and products, but honestly, why would you ever assume that these things are the same species?


And don’t even get me started on dogs. Miss Mouse knows that Riley is a doggie, but I seriously doubt she’d pick a chihuahua out of a dog identification lineup. Then again, I don’t know that I would either. They don’t really count.

One response to “Identity Crisis Among Ducks”

  1. G'Mom says:

    I never ever thought about that!! Must be rote memory for a while – as in – if Mommy says it's a duck, it must be a duck, no matter what it looks like.

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