I am afraid of birds. (and mice, those jumping spider things in the basement, and bones…) But birds is a big one. One I have to deal with very frequently. I mean – pigeons are everywhere. All the time. Flying, shitting, pecking… UGH. I hate pigeons.
Sometimes I can see some fancy looking bird and think “Ok, at least that one has some pretty coloring.” And then it up and spreads its wings to fly. Or stretches a weird, feathery, taloned foot out. Or pecks at something. Then I remember how horrible and terrible and terrifying birds are.
But I really didn’t want my fear to affect my children’s attitudes towards birds. So I have been really conscious of my fear and hatred of birds in front of the kids. Or so I thought until we went to the Santa Barbara Zoo last week.
Laura flipped. out. over some ducks and flamingos. The ducks (which Gavin loved) were innocent enough… until they started bathing and splashing water all over us. Laura lost it. I thought maybe it was the cold water drops on her legs? But then we got to the flamingos (which Gavin loved) and she started shrieking. I mean, they didn’t smell very good. And they are huge offenders of the weird, feathery, taloned feet problem… and they have those feathers… and beaks… and wings… OK. There’s a LOT wrong with flamingos, and I wasn’t thrilled to be watching them either. I did not flip out, I swallowed my panic and said “oh look how pink they are!”
Hours later, nary a bird in sight, Laura asked my mother:
Grammy, are flamingos birds?
Yes, they are
Well, I’m not fond of flamingos… Grammy, I’m not fond of birds.
But in my head, pushing aside my own bird issues, all I could think was “crumb buns!” Have I inadvertently passed along my fear to my daughter? I so wanted to shelter Laura from my own anxieties, to raise her strong and fearless. But I guess maybe I flinch at pigeons a little too often. Maybe I balk at touching shed feathers found on the ground. Maybe I’m not as good as I thought about hiding my own fears. Let’s just cross our fingers that Nate doesn’t have to start cutting the meat off the ribs and wings for the children as well as for me!