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This is not me but it might as well be, except I would not look so calm.
It is common knowledge in my circle that birds are one of two things I face on a daily basis that really, really scare me. (The other is heights.) The animosity between birds and I runs so deep I’m having to restrain from swearing at them between sentences as I write this. And it’s totally mutual. I think the whole bird kingdom has conspired against me using messenger birds to spread the word. Bastards. Not only have I been attacked inside enclosed aviaries on more than one occasion, I’ve been attacked just walking around out in the open more times than I can count! Each incident is so hilarious (in hindsight), I could probably write a separate post for each one. Jerks! My husband says it’s because I once shot a crow with a BB gun when I was twelve. So I guess it’s kind of like karma, only I’m Catholic so…
Anyway, I took my youngest son for a quick trip to the local zoo today while my husband took our older son to baseball practice. I had already explained before we got there that because I can’t breathe in the humid rain forest due to asthma we would have to save that for the next time Daddy could take him. He was so cool about it and totally understanding. But because we already had to skip the rain forest, I couldn’t bring myself to say no to his other favorite, the lorikeet aviary. A true testament to the things we do for our kids. I truly did not want to go in, and I envisioned myself in a full-on panic attack with no one to take care of my kid. But there was no legitimate excuse he would understand like asthma, and I refused to plant seeds of fear by telling him I was afraid, so I put my big girl panties on and walked rather confidently into the aviary. I figured maybe if they didn’t sense my fear, the little assholes would leave me alone. And they did. But my son asked so sweetly to feed them, and he had been listening so well and really had “earned” a reward such as this (we’re really working hard on earning things with good behavior), so I suckered myself into letting him feed the damn birds. This required leaving the aviary for the safety of the outdoors to walk 20 feet to the little kiosk where you had to purchase a ticket to feed the birds then walk back to the aviary entrance and start all over. Ugh.
My God… I have the whole thing on video, but it’s so heart-breaking, I can’t bare to post it. (Not to mention as a general rule, I don’t post pics of my kids on nelbell.com.) First, he screamed at the bird who pecked him on the hand, “Don’t do that!!!!” Then he swatted at another bird and yelled, “Aaaahhhh!” THEN he threw the cup of food onto the ground, flung his arm wildly and swatted at the birds with his other hand while yelling, “Stop it!!!!!” That’s when I scooped him up in my arms, yelled, “Sorry!” to the lady who was trying to carefully usher a shocked lorikeet off the pavement, and I carried my sobbing kid out of the aviary.
I held him on the bench outside of the aviary while he cried and cried and cried. He cursed the bird. “That bird was really, really, REALLY rude!” he said angrily. More crying. More cursing. “Why did that bird bite me?” he asked. More crying. More rubbing his arm. More crying. Sips of apple juice. More crying. More cursing… He finally settled down enough for me to distract him with something else. We moved on and saw the rest of the animals on our list, but he kept bringing up the bird incident. He was still very much upset with the whole experience.
In the car on the way home, he brought it up again. From the backseat, he said quietly, “I should not have done that. I should have just said, ‘shoo.'” My eyes welled up so much I had trouble seeing the road.