Monday, September 22, 2008

This Time Mom Particpates In The Death And Torture

Alternate title 1: I never volunteered at the Bird Rescue Center in college. Maybe I should have.

Alternate title 2: I used to think you should deal with issues like death with kids directly. Now I know I am a big chicken.

Alternate title 3: Today I squished a hummingbird.

When we drove into our garage today, a hummingbird flew in with us. I left the garage open all day, thinking the poor thing would find his way out. But he didn't. We have really high ceilings in our garage, so there is a good 3 feet above where the door opens, and he just kept flitting around the ceiling, bumping his little nose and not knowing what to do.

So as the day wore on, I decided to try and help him get out. After a few bumbled attempts with a broom, I decided he needed to be caught and released. So I found a big box, a tall ladder, and 3 witnesses, and went to work. I trapped him once, and he was buzzing around the box, but before I could get a lid and get him down, he escaped. No biggie- the first time was pretty easy, so I tried again. This time I trapped about 3/4 of him. And heard some really heart-wrenching tweets. He fell into the box, and the kids let out a heart breaking 'oh NO' all in unison.

I knew the poor thing was hurt beyond repair. I knew the humane thing would have been to finish him off and alleviate the suffering. But I looked in the eyes of 3 really, really sad kids. "Poor honey-bird" "he dead mommy?" And I couldn't do it. I lied through my teeth. "No, kids, he is ok. Just really tired from all that flying. He needs to rest". And we watched him flop around a little. I kept up the illusion "look, he moved his wing. He is getting better". Then we put some leaves in his box in case he got hungry. One more death preceded by torture.
Then, after they were in bed, we got rid of the honey-bird. I guess he "flew home to his family". At least, that is what I will tell the kids in the morning. I felt so terrible that he was suffering for so long. But not terrible enough to suck it up and tell my kids that Mommy killed their honey-bird.

If you would have asked me 4 years ago, I would have said "Oh, a situation like that is a perfect opportunity to teach children about life and death, and see for themselves what happens when things die". But today, I just couldn't face the tears of 3 little kids, who so sweetly loved this little honey-bird and would have been crushed to know that he was dead. I'm a big chicken.


Mary Kate said...

So sad for the kids isn't it!! I did the same thing trying to trap our gerbil Sammy....half in the box and half out. Oh the tears that were shed that morning!

Astarte said...

No, no - if you had told the truth, today's lesson would have been, 'Sometimes you kill things by accident', not 'The Circle of Life'! Lie like a rug, honey. It's the only way in these situations.

Sorry for your loss, by the way. You must've felt like so much crapola.

Opp Family said...

Wow! It is so hard to even see hummingbirds, I'm sursprised one was in your garage! How sad for the poor little birdie - I would have done the exact same thing!

Rebecca said...

I'm another who would have lied. It's so hard! And I had to laugh at the picture of "The" Big Chicken. Haven't seen that in awhile!