Little bird

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We pulled up in the driveway about 5pm, and Oliver was fast asleep after a full afternoon of doctor’s appointments (we wait for his referral to a surgeon; as a bonus, Callum has pinkeye and an ear infection), pharmacy/grocery store, library, etc.  Callum was fussing, but I left them both in the car so that I could carry in my much-needed coffee and the mail and my bag before one of them filled up my arms.

I noticed a tiny yellow and brown bird sitting outside the door.  He appeared to be okay, but the fact that he didn’t fly away as I approached meant that something was obviously wrong.  I put my stuff in the house, and came back out to see him.  He was breathing, looking around, but just not walking or flying.  I left the kids in the car, and called Mark to ask what the heck one is meant to do with a hurt bird.  We figured the cat might have got to him, but I didn’t know if the cat was outside or not.  Mark didn’t have any suggestions.

I realized Callum was now freaking out about still being in the car, so I went and grabbed him and put him in his highchair in the kitchen.   Oliver was completely passed out, but knowing the boy loves animals, I thought I’d wake him up with the interesting spectacle of a bird that we needed to help, somehow.  I tried to rouse him, but he was really, REALLY asleep.  So I undid the car seat straps, picked him up, and starting telling him about the bird.  I tried to get him to stand up, but he sort of fell over.  I picked him up again, and he starting responding, and wanted know where the bird was.

We went over to the bird, and I put Oliver down on the ground beside me.  I told him that I didn’t know what was wrong with it, but he wasn’t flying away, so he must be hurt.  I decided, in that moment, that I might put him on top of my still-warm car, because at least he’d be out of the way of the cat if he turned up, and if he was just stunned by flying into our door or something, he might recuperate and fly away from there.

Oliver does love animals.  One of the best things we’ve done in the past few weeks is feed the animals at the farm, which I’ve discussed previously.  He also worries about random things like balloons caught in store rafters, like they need saving.  He’s very quick to tell morality tales about other kids at daycare, or to tell Callum what he should and shouldn’t be doing.  But yesterday, I had to question whether or not we’re raising a sociopath or a serial killer or something.

I tried to pick up the bird, carefully, as I could feel how fragile he was, just ounces of feather and bone.  He kept jumping out of my hands. After he jumped out the third time, Oliver picked up his rain booted foot, and stamped on the bird.  Hard.  With intention.

We both immediately burst into tears.  And I think I pushed him out of the way.  Or he fell on his own.  I don’t know.  “Why, WHY did you do that?” I implored.  The bird now no longer had a chance to get up and fly away.  I think its neck and wing were probably broken, but it was still alive.  I couldn’t stand to look at it, knowing that Oliver had done that to it.

I scooped him up and pulled him in the house, both of us still crying, and tried to get him to explain, while explaining that he really hurt the bird, that I thought the bird was dead, but knowing that he probably doesn’t really know what dead means.  I didn’t know what to say to him, how to discipline him.  He kept crying, saying he was sick and tired, and asking for Daddy.  I put him in his room and asked him to calm down, that he could come out when he stopped crying.

I called Mark who said he would talk to him when he got home, but neither of us knew what to do.  I am still just so shocked that he did it, and it was one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know that he knows what he did.  He told Mark, when they talked later, that he touched the bird, and said it happily.  I don’t even know if he was awake.  I don’t know if it was because he was scared.  Or maybe he can really be that malicious.

The cat came to the door, to ask to be let outside, and I directed it towards the poor bird, knowing that he could put it out of its misery.  Which he promptly did.

I still don’t know what I should or could have done.  What would you have done?

2 Responses to “Little bird”

  1. tami Says:

    I’m so sorry, Em. I don’t know what to say. I have heard that if you come across a stunned bird that ran into a window, to tip a saucer of water over its beak.

  2. Suburban Mum Says:

    Oh no, what a terrible thing to witness. I’ve seen ST push the cats down the stairs through the bannister and also kick them, and as much as I hate him doing it and shout at him (when I saw the push down the stairs incident I actually pulled down his pants and smacked his bottom, I was that shocked and stunned that he could intentionally do something like that), I honestly believe he just doesn’t realise that what he’s doing is wrong. To him the cats are just toys that move about. Perhaps to Oliver, because the bird wasn’t moving, it was just a toy? I’m almost positive it wasn’t intentionally malicious though.

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