Sunday, September 11, 2011

New pet?

I took Ashton and Isaac for a consultation with an orthadontist on Thursday.  Luckily for us on the financial front, they likely won't need braces for another year or so.  But the orthodontist assured me that yes, they were prime candidates and that Isaac has what he calls the "triple whammy" - too much space between teeth, a big overbite and his jaw is set in such a way that when he closes those chompers, the top teeth completely cover the bottom teeth.

Anyway, after the appointment, I took the boys to Great Harvest for a little treat - we got the hugest gooey cinnamon roll fresh from the oven plus free slices of bread.  We were in heaven.  As we enjoyed our food at an ourdoor table, Ashton fell in love with this cute little bird that kept begging for crumbs.  He got it in his head that he NEEDED a pet bird  I also reminded him of how we don't really buy pets, we just enjoy the animals we find for a while.

The next day, he kept talking about his dream of having a pet bird and begged to go to Petco and buy one.  I explained how expensive it would be for him to buy a bird, a cage and everything else he'd need and that he's still paying off his trip to DC this past summer. I told him birds were noisy and smelly and got birdseed everywhere. Plus we've generally had the rule that we just do "found" pets - if you can find it, and it's quiet and low-maintenance, we'll keep it for a while, then send it back to join its own kind when we head out on vacation or when the time otherwise seems right.

I really think we're good on pets. We've got a pretty cool pet snake named Stripe that the kids found in Ashton, Idaho. It gulps down whole goldfish and sort of "stands up" to do this cool swaying dance sort of thing. Stripe has been a great replacement for Fang - the 4-foot-long gopher snake we found sitting in the driveway of our old St George home when we went down to visit in June.  Fang was a very cool snake the kids could carry around their necks and brag about to their friends. Jared would get cute little white mice from the pet store every week or so to sacrifice to the usually docile snake who'd transform into a sort of scary predator as soon as he got a whiff of a mouse. All the neighborhood kids would come over to watch when it was feeding time.

But eventually Fang escaped - someone left the cage partially open.  A couple neighbors reported seeing him in the back yard. But we never found him. I hope he's off in the mountains enjoying a good life and not feeling too terribly cold in this colder climate.  We meant to let him go back in St George one day...

Anyway, back to Ashton's wish for a bird.

On Friday, as we were setting up for the Couples Retreat (more on that tomorrow - it was WONDERFUL!), a little bird flew into one of the windows of my parents' house (where we were holding the Retreat).  Ashton and the kids heard the thud and found the little guy.  He was pretty out of it. They put him in a box and fed him rice crispies and water. After a few hours, he perked up a little and they were all thrilled they'd been such great nurses.

Ashton decided God had granted his heartfelt wish for a bird and started trying to teach the bird tricks - how to hop up on his finger, how to jump over objects...

The bird came home with us last night after the Retreat. But we warned the kids that birds need to fly around and be with their own kind - so once he seemed fully healthy again, he'd need to be released. That idea brought some serious tears. I explained that birds are meant to fly and that it seems cruel to keep a bird in a cage.

The kids spent the whole afternoon today building a new cardboard home for the snake and outfitting the old terrarium the snake had been in with lots of fun "toys" and "perches" and swings for the bird made from cardboard tubes and k'nex pieces. They found out that a neighbor had birdseed and got some food for the bird. They carefully blocked off areas in their bedroom where the bird could become entrapped (under a bed, under a dresser) with bedding and turned off the fan so that the bird could safely half-fly around the room.  They attempted to prove to me that the bird could have a really great life right here in our house. And Ashton insisted that Jared and I hold the bird for a bit when we went up to his room to tuck him in, pointing out all the cute things about him.  And he is a cute bird - prettier and more interesting than most birds you see around here, and very fluffy and sweet and helpless.  Plus he hasn't made any messes or noises so far.

So what would you do????  What should we do about this bird?


Becky said...

I'm another "no pets" mom so I can totally relate. I know so many moms who end up taking care of the "kids'" pets. The bird may not have made any messes, yet - that can't last! I'd stick with your guns.

Eyrealm said...

I think the solution will manifest itself as time goes by. In the meantime enjoy that cute little guy. I can't believe that he survived! He was so wonkie when we found him I was pretty sure he wouldn't survive the day. Good for Ashton for the TLC!

jo said...

Pets, my kids are always asking for them. we have two chickens and that is enough for me. we have had dogs in the past but they are a lot of work. Of course they say they would walk the dog everyday, feed the cat and clean out the fishes but I know from experience that it doesn't last long. Mum and Dad nag and in the end Mum or Dad gets to take care of the pet. For now they have to prove to me that they can look after the chickens every day without being reminded and then we will think about more animals. So far I am not worried about it cos the chooks do not get very much attention from the fourteen year old and only a little more by the four year old.
About your little bird, as kids we often looked after sick and injured birds but the rule was that as soon as they were well they were looked after in the porch and could fly away when they were ready which they mostly did.
I feel for you with the brace thing, number 3 is now in braces. Grace 4 has beautiful straight teeth so we might get away with that one.

Anonymous said...

pets are a hard thing - lots of positives, many negatives! that bird likely let its needs known when it gains back its strength. Meanwhile, perhaps you and the kids can look into wildlife rehabilitation info to learn about what those folks do with hurt/weak birds and it might inspire your kids to release the bird if it is physically able to be released.

Tiffany said...

When Ashton brought it into the house, Mike was convinced it was going to die soon. Mike will be shocked to know it is at your house in Ashton's bedroom!!

Good for you-I'd say let him keep it for now. I was an absolute NO PET kind of mother and look now, we have a rabbit and a GOAT! (Though I have yet to lovingly touch/hold either-I am NOT an animal person, even if my kids are!!)

Cheryl said...

I think pets are a good thing for kids and I am not an animal lover by any means but I have seen good things come from our pets. We have a gecko and a guinea pig. The kids are in charge of caring for them. And if they don't do it and I have to, they have to pay me with $$ or other chores because I don't have time to care for another living thing!

mom said...

That was a fun moment in time!


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