Animals are an integral and magical part of childhood. In a child's mind, anything can be a household pet.

"It's time, Momma," my four-year-old said to me from the backseat.

"Time for what, Sweetie?" I asked, imagining any number of things she might think she is ready for in her young mind.

"Time for me to have a pet monkey," she said with a grin as wide as Texas.

This is my animal-loving kid. She stops in the street to pet dogs, follows my friends' cats around their homes, and can gaze at a fish in a bowl for any length of time. It's no wonder that she fantasizes about having an animal that's out of the ordinary. After all, she has a stuffed monkey, why not a real one.

"Sweetie, I'm not sure monkeys make good pets," I said checking out her coy expression in my rearview mirror.

"Sure they do, Momma. A monkey would love me, and when he got big and a little mean, we'd give him to a zoo," she said with a serious expression on her face.

What I love about her age is the capacity for fantasy and joy in the simplest ideas. What I hate about my age is the inability to find fantasy and joy in simple ideas.

But sometimes adults can get at least halfway there when we immerse ourselves in their world.

I just had one question. "Why a monkey, Sweetie?"

"Because, Daddy and Sissy are allergic to cats," she said with a chuckle.

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