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.
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.
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?