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spirit animals

“You see? This is exactly what I meant when I said her spirit animal is a raccoon,” S said, nodding in the direction of Junebug, who had snagged an entire chicken drumstick before scampering to D. Content with her acquisition, Junebug sat perched on D’s lap, gripping the drumstick tight in her little fist, making content nom-nom noises, and happily wagging her head side-to-side while chewing through her mouthful of chicken.

It is true that Junebug’s mannerisms — and her obsession with food — evoke a small, furtive varmint. D did not like the raccoon comparison, however, and suggested that another, less disagreeable animal might be a better fit. A koala bear, perhaps, or a lemur — both come to mind in light of Junebug’s clinging posture. During the frequent times she demands to be carried in our arms, she immediately clasps her legs around our torsos as if they were tree trunks.

Upon further reflection, however, a wolverine would seem to be the best fit of all. For one, wolverines are sometimes referred to as gluttons. Also, they are known for their ferocity, and Junebug is nothing if she is not fierce. Not only does she shrug off her own falls and pains, but also she is turning into a bit of a bully, pulling other kids’ hair and poking at their faces. The latter she does more out of curiosity than malice, and she does it to us all the time as well. Still, the end result tends to be the same. The more we intervene to rescue a playmate on the verge of tears or the more we chide her and tell her that no, she can’t do that, the more fun she thinks it is.

“What about him,” D asked, nodding in Munchkin’s direction, “What is his spirit animal?” The little man had been listening attentively to our conversation while studiously ignoring his dinner and immediately piped up. “Mine is a dragon!” Unlikely, given that dragons are typically associated with balance, grounded energy, and indomitable spirit and strength — traits that with the exception of the indomitable spirit do not spring immediately to mind when we think of our son.

At first blush, we thought that a cat might do for Munchkin, given the fickleness of his emotional attachments and his love of free play and repetition. Upon further reflection, a monkey might be an even better fit, as monkeys traditionally symbolize fun, activity, charm, an energetic nature, natural curiosity, self-indulgence, and rebellion. These are all characteristics we easily see in Munchkin. But, of course, they are also common to many kids his age, so the jury on his spirit animal is still out.

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