From the source of all current knowledge, aka Wikipedia: A totem is a being, object, or symbol representing an animal or plant that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, group, lineage, ortribe, reminding them of their ancestry (or mythic past). In kinship and descent, if the apical ancestor of a clan is nonhuman, it is called a totem. Normally this belief is accompanied by a totemic myth.
Although the term is of Ojibwe origin in North America, totemistic beliefs are not limited to Native Americans and Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Similar totem-like beliefs have been historically present in societies throughout much of the world, including Africa, Arabia, Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the Arctic polar region.
Ender’s is a Bear. “You’re sure it’s not Cthulu?” Flora asks—I shake my head, “A Bear, for sure, I know this,” I say. “No!” Ender interrupts. “My totem animal is a reindeer.” “Really? A reindeer?” I ask. Yup. He’s sure. Reindeer. OK. Flora’s might be a unicorn. Or a frog? A frogi-corn? (“Mom! Stop writing now! I’m still thinking!”). OK. She’s still thinking. And Cinder doesn’t want anyone to know what his is, although he knows. He gives me an evil grin. I bet it’s something venomous… or stinky… Probably both…
Sean’s is… a whale. “Really?” “Yup. A humpback whale.” “How do you know this?” “I just know.”
Me, I’m with Flora. I don’t know. I’m not sure. I think… maybe… um… no. I don’t know.
“Blue-green algae?” I ponder.
“Mom! That’ not even a plant!”
I feel rather primitive at the moment. And it doesn’t have to be an animal, does it?
But. For the game, it does. So—go. What’s your totem animal? And why?
And if you think you know me well enough to hazard a guess—tell me what you think mine might be.
And look how low I’ve set the bar. Blue-green algae? You can all do better than that.
Happy Friday. Hashtag #whatsyourtotemanimal if you’re tweeting.
P.S. My IRL friend Dr. Christopher Gibbins, a psychologist who specializes in the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders of early childhood, was on CTV news last week talking about tablet use and young children. If you’re a thinking parent, you’ve thought–and overthought–this subject ad nauseam, and probably feel guilty non-stop about whatever it is you’ve chosen to do. Have a listen to what Chris has to say: Interview Clip. Key line: “Parents don’t need to be perfect.” Chris’ other qualification: he’s a daddy too. So nothing he’s telling you is just theoretical. (Although it’s always backed by research…)
P.P.S. YYC Floodster? You’re looking for this: After the flood: Running on empty and why “So are things back to normal?” is not the right question. I’d encourage you to read the comments… because see, it’s not just you and me. It’s all of us.
P.P.P.S. Two of my cyber-friends have put together, and more are featured in, The HerStories Project, Women Explore the Joy, Pain and Power of Female Friendship. Sarah of Left Brain Buddha reviews it, as well as a few other “end of the Mommy Wars” initiatives here, if you want to have a gander.