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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Danger in the Animal Kingdom

Theo's most recent animal obsession is Komodo Dragons. A few weeks ago, we visited the Pittsburgh Zoo and his imagination was captured by "Noname"*, the 16-year-old dragon on exhibit there. This was followed by day after day of his insistence upon playing zoo...with him playing the role of the dragon and yours truly as zookeeper. We checked out a few books from the library and searched for videos online. When this kid gets into an animal, we immerse.
This past weekend, we returned to the zoo for "Zoo Boo", a costume party and trick-or-treat adventure through the exhibits. Theo nearly ran to Noname's enclosure and was met with disappointment and a large sign explaining that the animal has been moved for the duration of the season, to return with warmer weather.
Lucky us, though, we found a very detailed Komodo Dragon toy in the gift shop. Of course it had to come home with us. Theo named it "Danger", and the two have been inseparable. Danger has been taken on several trips (to the woods, the playground, the grocery store) and has its own special bed. He is the Special Toy of the moment. It hasn't been long, but with the intensity of Theo's love, he has a good shot at being made Real.
Danger is also featuring heavily in imaginative play. Imagine my delight (not only as a mom but also as a word-nerd) when I came out to the living room to find this little arrangement on the castle playset, and Theo announced, "This is the Animal Kingdom!"
I love double-entendres. Danger, naturally, enjoyed the role of King of Animals...protector of all within his realm. He is assisted by a loyal group of crocodile cousins and a motley group of assorted other soldiers.

*True confession: When I first read the signage at Noname's enclosure, I mentally pronounced it "no-NAH-mee" and thought the name quite exotic. It wasn't until later that it dawned on me that it was far more simple than that...

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