Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Flown The Coop

I have never been a huge advocate of pets. For all of you who may be pet lovers, I apologize. But let's be honest - would I be a responsible pet owner with nine children to care for? (Hint: the answer is an enthusiastic NO.)

But, Gerb, you are thinking, I remember reading about your bird. You do have a pet.

Actually, did.

But the kids don't know yet.

Yesterday Allen and Coolister flew the coop to go on a rafting trip. Not more than 2 hours after their departure I noticed that our bird was not in his cage. This is normal - he sometimes flies around the kitchen and sleeps on the stove. (I know!) But not today. So, as I stood on a chair and peeked into the bottom of his cage, there he was.

Dead.

This is not the way this is supposed to have worked out. I mean, we've had the dang bird for almost 3 years now, and his previous owner had him for at least a year before that. So as far as parakeets go, he lived a pretty long life. He was loved plenty, ate lots of enriched birdseed, he even had his own grape-shaped chunk of chalk. Does it get any better? (Hint: The correct answer is NO, it does not.)

I am not sure what led to my finding him laying there with his little birdie feet in the air, but find him I did. And Allen is gone. So as soon as the kids realize he's not happily chirping about in his cage it will fall to ME to have to somehow tell them he is now flying around happily in Birdie Heaven where the streets are paved with gourmet birdseed and the trees are all made of spinach leaves.

I did not sign up for this.

Allen agreed to take the bird in.

Allen thought it would be good for the kids to have a pet.

Allen loved the bird.

Allen is on a river trip with the scouts!

So, quickly, before my kids figure out what happened (so far no one is suspicious...), I need some advice. How should I tell my kids that Buddy is no longer with us?

Do I say that he flew the coop (lie) or just tell them he died (which is sure to bring on more questions)?

When the wee ones begin to cry, do I feign sadness along with them (lie) or ask for help in cleaning out the cage so we can sell it and take everyone for ice cream with the proceeds (bribe)?

What would YOU do?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of our pet experience. I like you am not a pet person. That is all Roman's department. We had fish for about two years. These of course were "free" fish from a wedding that turned into the purchase of a tank and friends for the fish. After our fish died we went for about a year with an empty tank. Roman finally gave in to the girls' pleading and we got guppies. Like you he then went on a camp out and of course that weekend they all died leaving me to deal with the trauma. Unfortunately, the kids were the ones who found the dead fish so no chance of replacing them before they found out. I of course did the only thing I could do and promised them a trip to the pet store when dad got home.

So in answer to your question I personally would just hope they don't find out until Allen comes home. If they do I'd go for the selling the cage and getting ice cream. Hey it could be a yearly tradition in remembrance of Buddy. Any excuse works to get ice cream right?
Kara

Rebecca said...

Sell the cage for ice cream? That's so cold! Haha!
I remember when you thought Buddy was gone for good once before. Haha! Maybe you shouldn't give up hope. Haha! Maybe he's just playing dead. Haha! That's what the really fun pets do, you know, tricks like "play dead" and stuff like that. Haha! LOL & ROTFL!

Rebecca said...

On a serious note, I think once they notice, you should peer into the cage and act surprised. It will give you a good chance to dramatize, and it will give your kids a good chance to deal with death. Don't lie to them!

Chelle! said...

I think you should take the cage out of the house--maybe to the neighbors. Then, if your children ask where about the bird, tell them that it went on the rafting trip with their dad. Therefore, when he arrives home, he can deal with it.

Gerb said...

Kara- Sounds like those free wedding fish turned into a lifetime of replacements! I'm thinking that if I sell the cage they won't ask, "Can we get another bird?"

Bec- hahaha yeah i no what u mean haha u think he's playin dead huh haha he was alwyz real fun 4 us so maybe hahaha... (thanks for that, by the way... I needed the laugh!) And I agree - I think I need to go for the up front approach. LOL!

chelle- That is a brilliant idea, actually. Unfortunately, it's too late. I'll post soon on how the news was revealed...

Anaise said...

It looks like I'm too late to offer any advice, but here it is anyway--truth and ice cream.

We've used it before . . . it works.

Chip said...

They should all write stories in memory of birdie and you should post them...

La Yen said...

Absolutely ice cream.

I think it is a good time to reinforce that PETS ARE NOT PEOPLE. And we miss them, but then we get ice cream and move on.

Tell them to write Santa and maybe HE will get them a new pet. And when HE doesn't, it is HIS fault.

Sybrina said...

Can you save him in a baggie in the freezer till your husband comes home? Hahah! If only it could wait! I would love to see what kind of funeral your family comes up with, everyone standing up to share some nice words, then go in and and have funeral potatoes or something :) And, for dessert, well of course icecream! I'm sure, knowing your family, you could all turn it into quite a memorable affair. Whatever you do, I hope you blog about it!

hintonrae said...

Aww. Sorry I didn't read this sooner. We've had some pets that it's been fairly easy to be cavalier about. Others, not so much. There was little Turtle, a fluffy tortoise-marked kitten, that we let out to go potty and somehow managed to come limping back home, mauled by a coyote (yes, there is a coyote population in VA. My husband works diligently to correct that.). Turtle was traumatic. And then there was Banjo, our beloved HUGE bloodhound whom we COULD NOT keep within the boundaries of our invisible fence--he was just too big, too smart, and too strong. He kept taking off down the road for other doggie company, and eventually the inevitable happened and he was run over.

It was too heartbreaking for us to tell the kids that Banjo was dead, and so we did, I confess, take the easy way out and come up with some cockamamie story about Banjo finding a girlfriend and taking off for parts unknown. Maybe he'd come back one day, but it wasn't likely.

They've kind of forgotten about that lovable hunk of floppy-eared dog now, although it did take the better part of a year for Lawson to stop looking for him on the road.

Can't wait to read the reveal installment.