Did you ever see the George Carlin routine where he plays a baby, opening his eyes for the first time and discovering his fingers? It's a lovely bit, innocence and surprise and startlement all in one place, and I once saw a real-life version of it.

With a baby elephant.

It was at the Portland Zoo, where they've been successfully breeding elephants in captivity for generations. The baby was named Chang Dee (Thai for "Good Elephant"), and he was small and fuzzy and deeply involved with learning how his trunk worked.

He'd explore his toenails with the tip of his trunk, fingering each in turn, then step on the end and not understand why he was stuck, stretching and tugging until it came loose with a pop! And then repeat.

It was adorable.

I was reminded of that moment this last summer, when I came across a photo in a set of baby animals showing a very happy and excited baby elephant. I decided to try to replicate it on a platter, with delightful results. I've since migrated little elephant onto serving bowls, pastas, teapots and cookie jars, dinner and dessert plates and even the occasional tall mug or cream pitcher. So many baby elephants...

Trunk-loads of them.