12/04/2013 04:42 pm ET

Why Babies Fear Plants

easonliao via Getty Images

There is a picture I have in my mind that captures an important facet of childhood. Its caption reads: "Small Human With Marble In Nose." We trot this image out at family gatherings—there is surely a relative on hand who was once such a Small Human—to illustrate the pleasant idea that children, at their most endearing and most exasperating, are explorers/inventors/geniuses in miniature. By this school of thought, jamming a small object up one’s nose is just a foray into The Scientific Method gone a bit awry.

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