シ, ス, ツ, こ, こ, ね, い, き, ぎ, く, け, ねっ
child, sign of the rat, 11PM-1AM, first sign of Chinese zodiac
JLPT5 G1 S3 F72
子 is the single remaining form of two distinct oracle bone depictions of a small child. One shows a small child, while the second shows a child with rapidly growing hair → *child*; *son*; *boy*; *person*; *suffix appended to small objects*. Conceptually, a child was understood as one of a figurative pile of offspring. *Rat* (as the first sign of the Chinese zodiac), *north*, and *11 P.M. to 1 A.M.* are borrowed meanings. The Old Chinese readings of the two glyphs featured different vowels.
[Full Kanji Etymology List]