I say flamingo, you say flamango

Montessori teachers and Scrabble junkies just can't help it. We see a group of movable letters, and we have to make new words. The sign originally had birthday wishes for the recipient of the shocking flamingo flocking, "WE FLEW IN FOR ____'S B'DAY".

A movable alphabet

The children were thrilled to find a pink flamingo flock in front of the school when they arrived. Some really believed the flamingos flew to school. Some fell in love!

A few plastic flamingos migrated from the front lawn to the playground. One preschooler wrapped her arms around a bird's neck and proclaimed, "mingo baby mine!"

The second morning we rearranged the sign letters to spell, "WE BIRDS PLAY NOW". We fixed a group of plastic birds inside a sparkly hula hoop. Plans to have jump-roping flamingos met technical difficulties.

"Mingos play!," the preschooler shrieked with glee. Usually we worry about baby birds imprinting on human rescuers. This time we were concerned that our little student had imprinted on the plastic flamingo. Would she be distraught when the birthday birds were collected by the rent-a-flock folks?

We didn't get a chance to arrange FLY BIRDS NOW on the sign this morning before the plastic flamingos were gone. Heading out to the playground for a session digging in the garden dirt, the preschooler lamented, "mangos gone, mangos gone". So sad, so sad. Mango must be the past tense of flamingo.

My sons never fell into a zoo flamingo lagoon, not even Danger Baby. Quite surprising, come to think of it. They had no accidental close-up encounters with roseate spoonbills or scarlet ibis in any aviary either. We were lucky to live near good zoos when the boys were little, and to receive family zoo memberships from generous grandparents so we could visit often.

The boys drew many maps of the zoos they knew so well in Omaha, Oklahoma City, and Dallas. They also designed some fantasy zoos based on their preferences and the need for frequent pit stops. They knew to put the picniks by the Aveary, Ellafuts, and Zeberas, but not too far from the rest rooms. The KagaRoos and Crokadils and Pigs should definitely be close to the Gift Shop (and more rest rooms)!

The Mingos and Mangos should be placed close to the playground and petting zoo! Should you need to draw a flamingo, the recipe is raindrop+S+4. Try blending purple, red, orange, and white with your pink for feather variations.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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