At Carly's preschool/daycare, the kids have a playground just outside the door of their classroom. The focal point is a large climbing structure that looks like a fort/treehouse. When the kids are in the top portion of the structure, they can see over the privacy fence that borders the playground. There is a small wooded area just past the fence; shockingly, somehow nobody has developed that land as of yet.
Since last fall, Carly has told us several times about the "flamingos" that are in the woods next to the fence. She says she can see pink flamingos in the woods. Since flamingos are not native to northeastern Ohio, I always chuckled at these stories. I figured the kids must be looking at a tree stump or something resembling a flamingo somewhere among the trees.
During the winter there were no sightings of the pink birds; I guess they migrated south to escape the snow. Then last week Carly mentioned them again. But this time the story was more sinister... she told me that the flamingos didn't have legs anymore. I asked her why not, and she told me that "the bad men" cut them off. When I asked how she knew that, she said that her classmate S had seen "the bad men" perform the amputation. Wha?????? Carly and I agreed that one day when I picked her up, she would take me out to the playground to show me these legless birds.
The kid has a good memory... the next day when I arrived in the afternoon, she asked if we could go outside to see the flamingos. I told her teacher why we were going out to the playground and received a puzzled look in reply. After I followed Carly up the steps to the top of the play structure, I looked back at the glass classroom door, where I saw several small curious faces peering back at us. I could almost see the question "Why is Carly's mommy up there?" hanging in the air.
Carly pointed out into the woods and said, "See it, Mama?" At first I only saw a discarded basketball, but then... sure enough, there was a pink flamingo! It appears to be a plastic lawn ornament, laying on its side in the leaves. I could only laugh... she wasn't making things up, she wasn't seeing what she wanted to see... there really is a flamingo in the woods. I asked her if the flamingo used to be standing before S told her about "the bad men" and she said no, it was always laying down. As we walked back toward the steps, Carly pointed out a second flamingo. It was actually the original flamingo, just viewed from another angle, which I explained to her and she accepted.
When we returned to the classroom, I explained the situation to Carly's teacher. She was a bit surprised about the "bad men" story but otherwise laughed about it with us.
And so concludes The Mystery of the Pink Flamingos.