Solstice: The story of our ODD bird. Really.
I never planned to have a bird. Birds hate me.
One time, visiting an upscale bird store with Cole, I was invited to pat an African Parrot. I was curious. As the store owner scratched behind the bird’s ears, he promised me Alfred was a very friendly parrot. I was curiouser, yet still a little reluctant as I eyed Alfred’s large beak. So I said what any smart mom would say, “Cole honey, don’t you want to pat Alfred?” Cole, being a dumb little kid, confidently reached out his hand, and gently stroked Alfred.
“See?” the store owner promised, “Alfred even loves kids.” Being a good sport and wanting to keep my pride intact, I slowly reached out my hand to pat Alfred. At that moment, Alfred squawked the most awful sound. I jumped and he bit me really hard. “Alfred! Bad bird!” the owner admonished. Cole, hoping to comfort me, looked at my hand and said, “Mommy, Alfred did not bite me.” The owner continued to assure me Alfred was usually a nice bird and even suggested it might be my scent he was offended by. With my throbbing hand, I grabbed Cole and we made a bee line for the door. No bird.
Three summers ago, Cole and I made a Jewel grocery store run after he reminded me that we “always fondue outside on the summer Solstice.” It’s true. We “always did.” However, summer was off to a barking start, and I was hoping “always” might not include the summer of 2007. Wrong again. We ran to Jewel to pick up fondue stuff, and when we came out to the car, a yellow bird in a dirty cage was sitting in the parking spot next to mine. A note was attached to the cage: “Please give me a good home.” No, I thought. Just No. Cole said, “Hi bird!” and without missing a beat, opened the side door of my van, picked up the bird’s cage and suggested we make a run to PetSmart for bird food. Fine. We would find her a good home.
We walked into the house with the bird. Joe took one look at the cage, the bird, and the birdfood, toys and supplements Cole was unwrapping and said, “I thought you were just going to Jewel for some fondue stuff.” “Shut up Joe.” Cole inquired what we should name her (as he had identified by her beak that the bird was a “she”). I’m a sucker for naming things. Perhaps you have noticed. Gilley, our Bagel Cutter, Sally, my iPhone holder, and … Solstice the bird.
“Solstice, you can live in my room.” Cole said as he carried her and all her newly acquired bird stuff to his room. If you have kids, you know the offer to let Solstice live in his room did not extend to cleaning her cage, feeding her, or providing her fresh water.
I read the bird book. I talked to bird owners. I tried, really, but it was clear from the get-go that Solstice had a bad attitude – an attitude of entitlement. Okay, she hated me. ME – the person who insured her very existence! Cole, the kid who has no idea where we keep the bird food, could pat her and she might even indulge him by sitting on his finger. My finger, she tries at every opportunity to bite as hard as she can.
Recently, when I went to pick up bird food, the lady at the local pet store suggested a bathtub for Solstice. I wondered if a small container of water might work just as well. “Oh no,” she said. “Your birdie might not be able to get out of the tub and could drown.” Really?? The lady starred hard at me and with a sigh, I added one pink bird bathtub to my basket.
Oh don’t worry. Solstice, the bird with the bad attitude, has a forever home, even if she doesn’t have one grateful feather on little bird-body, and trust me, she does not. I guess we will continue to have a love/hate relationship – which just sounds better than what we really have: a hate/hate relationship. I do have to admit, it’s kind of fun to get down really low not too far from her cage and go, “Meow, meow,” and then stand up and wonder loudly, “Where is that damn cat?”
Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!