Monday, June 08, 2009

Bits and Pieces from Today

I discovered a small fledgling in the back of our car today when I went out to, what else, retrieve the kids' shoes. I think by far the most likely scenario was one in which the bird got folded up in our stroller, left out for a few hours btwn the afternoon walk and the final load-up after our weekly Sunday dinner at my parents' house. They have lots of wrens.

If I had known at the time that it was a baby, I would have reacted differently. I placed calls to several different places: Fx County animal control and two Wildlife Federations in the area. Left messages everywhere but the County. I had a feeling that I should just wait for the Crazy Bird Lady to coach me (she was actually a lovely woman, the epithet was pre-conversation and shorthand for those people out there who love very specific types of animals and know everything about them. Wildlife Rehabilitationist is the formal title for these wonderful people. I wish I had waited for Nora, the area Songbird Rehabilitationist (as opposed to a Rehabilitationist for other types of birds).

The animal control lady came and frightened that tiny little bird out of my car and under it using her retractable baton. (I guess she and Andrew were on a similar wavelength; he wanted to use his plastic sword. Why is it that I could reject his suggestion but acquiese to her?) She had the air both of a brute and an expert. Maybe it was a combo of the gun and the "animal control" insignia on her uniform. The masculine authority with which she pronounced the bird perfectly fit and ready to just hop off to his business reassured me just enough to ignore by better judgment. "Just scatter that birdseed by it and it will be ok," s/he commanded from behind reflective sunglasses. So I did. The poor little thing just cowered and chirped his heart out. I took courage in the chirping; it showed he was strong.

It was all the more heartbreaking when Nora called and explained that the chirping was a desperate attempt to call to his mother. She was able to determine over the phone by my description and the sound of the chirp that the bird was a wren and a baby. The lack of tail that I had worried was a sign of injury was actually a sign of babyhood and lack of ability to fly. Worst, it is also a sign that he is not yet ready to feed himself, either. His chirping was a cry of hunger.

If you find a baby wren, they can be feed watermelon, peeled grapes or blueberries. Hold the fruit on a toothpick over the bird's mouth. Never attempt to give water, as you will drown the poor thing. Just call me and I'll get you in touch with Nora.

The birdseed was worthless; it would be like putting a cup of milk in front of a day old baby and expecting him to drink. The thing to do was to catch him and bring him back to my parents' house where his mother could find him. But as she explained this, the bird flew three feet away onto a low branch of a tree, which he then hopped up and up and up until I couldnt see him anymore. A few hours later I didnt even hear his chirps any longer. The babies need to eat every hour.

The worst part is that he almost beat all the odds. He survived being inside a stroller as it was folded up. He made it through the night in the car in the summer. He even hopped into the car of a person who was ready to call anyone and do anything necessary to help the bird. I even had him in a box at one point and was going to return him to McLean. But I listened to the wrong person. It is worse than the nest full of little birds that feel down onto our patio, our gruesome Sunday morning discovery.

Andrew went on a safari to find the bird, bringing along his little "binoculars!" (two toilet paper rolls glued together).

At dinner, I told the boys about the canker sore on the left side of my mouth and the cut on the right inhibiting my ability to eat. Will insisted that I had gum and was jealous. Andrew pitied me. "Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that!" Such genuine concern from the boy who often tells me, in all sincerity, that he prefers his father.

I have had a few sweet occassions lately to hear my own words come back to me from Andrew's mouth, like yesterday on our walk (the Iceberg stroller growing in stature, grace and hue to meet our poor Titanic wren) when Andrew took Will's hand and said, "Oh look what I found! A little cute baby hand!"

It makes up for Will throwing things and then shouting, "damaged!", reminding me of my attempts to cover for an instance of cursing (the stroller fell down the steps of our front stoop with 12 month Will strapped inside!) and Andrew seizing upon this new exclamation repeatedly. Telling him that I said "damaged" was the best I could think of to remedy my foul-mouth toddler. When did Will pick up on this? I am just glad he picked up on the red herring word.

Andrew grilled me over the nature of God and the creation of man as he ate his Scooby Macaroni and occassionally demanded if a given shape were the Mystery Van. I could never give a noncommital response. Even though I often don't know an answer, and want to build a reputation for unflinching truthfulness with him, he detects evasion in my "It looks like it is" and challenges again, "But is it? Is it?" at an increasing decible until I just lie and agree and promise and reassure.

"How did God make our bodies?" I try to answer. "How do people make bodies?" He immediately follows it up with some hypothesis of God pouring water on a magic table to create people. Is that from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? "I just learned it myself."

"Can God destroy people?"


Gasp of air and look of fear combined with elation, "So He is dangerous!" His eyes are dancing with excitement! Will starts talking about King Kong. Is that what the boys think God is like???

"He can, but He usually doesn't." Wondering if I am preaching false doctrine.

"I belive that Jesus is real."

I just felt grateful we take him to Church every week.

And grateful that he is aware of even the sparrow falling from the sky.


quadmom said...

Hi Allie! It's so good to hear from you! I love your post. You are such a great writer. Andrew sounds like quite the character. What will that be like to have four of those his age. I guess we'll find out! I hope that you're doing well. Love ya, Jayne

Katie Cannon said...

I'm so glad you have written again. I love it when you write on your blog. I really enjoyed reading this passage and miss you so much. I can't wait to see you in July. I hope everything is going really well. I love you.

Jacqueline Auna and family said...

That's so sad! Maybe he'll persist and survive. I love the way you write - and Aaron & I laughed when I read the "damaged" part aloud. That was quick thinking, Allie. : ) running this Sat? i believe gina is game.

Sarah said...

That is so sad about the bird! I am just impressed that you did so much to help it. And what a precious converstation to have recorded! This was such a nice post to read.

Gina said...

I love that you gave him "damaged". I wish I had thought of that when faced with a similar circumstance. Although, I don't think my swear word was as justified as yours. We used to always take care of injured animals growing up and never thought to callany experts. I am impressed that you made such an effort. I now know who to call for any info!

Eliza said...

I love this post. It reminds me of my brother at age 9 or 10, devastated when he found a bird in the street that was "injured." He put it in a shoebox and showed it to me later. The bird was clearly dead. He had already called the Humane Society, though. (And contracted who knows what diseases.) Random memory. That is my "prodigal son" brother who is pretty deeply lost now at age 21 but has always had a yearning to reach out to others in need, a very sensitive and empathetic side that could only have come from the Heavenly Father he no longer believes in.

Anyway, only somewhat related. Thank you for this post. I hope my comment wasn't too much of a downer--it wasn't meant to be! I love the hope in the phrase about the sparrow. He cares for the sparrow (even sending help for it) whether the sparrow is thinking of Him or not. Neal A. Maxwell: "God has known you for a long, long time. He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars; He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys!" Certainly one all-encompassing way to embed that truth in our souls is to know our own small children, caring for their needs and teaching them all day long.

Sarah said...

And one more thing. That's hilarious that your boys run around saying "damaged" now. You're pretty quick to have thought of that!

Oh, p.s. I'm at now. I changed it.

Alexandra said...

Eliza, I love your comment. Your brother sounds like he has a wonderful heart. I believe that a good heart has got to lead you to the right place in the end.

I loved that quote you included. Equally quotable, Eliza, is your final line. Beautiful.

Ever since our dog died, I have taken a lot of comfort from that scripture about knowing every sparrow that falls from the sky. I know it was meant to underscore His love for people, but I am grateful that the Bible explains it with an example that also shows His love for all creatures.

brooke said...

If I found a bird in my car or stroller, I think I would have a heart attack and I'm not even exagerating. But I'm terrified of birds. I had to stop reading this post. Forgive me.

Momo Cannon said...

I really enjoyed your blog today. It sounds like daily life at your house is a lot of fun with some sweet moments in between. We love you all! Love, Momo