Tag Archives: nature

Here Birdy, Birdy, Birdy…

If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen this picture I posted on Sunday.

(If you don’t follow me on Facebook, why not?)

This happy little grey butcherbird has taken to spending his mornings on our back patio, singing happily and watching us as we enjoy the spring weather. The boys love it. Every morning they race out of the house and look for the birdy. They ask me constantly if they can feed it, pat it, and take it inside to keep it as a pet forever and ever. Of course, none of those things are any good for the bird (or them!), but that doesn’t stop the boys from asking.

Little Brother is particularly fond if the little butcherbird. So on Monday morning, he was excited to come out of the house and find our butcherbird sitting, not in one of the trees, but on the back of a chair.

“Birdy!” he said, pointing excitedly. “Birdy!”

“Yes, birdy,” I agreed.

“Birdy!” Little Brother watched him quietly for a long minute, then raced over to the garden and picked up a leaf. He carefully walked back to where the bird was perched and held the leaf up towards the bird.

“Leaf, birdy.”

The bird looked at him.

Leaf, birdy.”

“Leaf, birdy.”

“Leaf, birdy.”

When it became apparent that the bird wasn’t going to fly over and eat the leaf, Little Brother took a careful step sideways and lay the leaf on the table. Then he took a step backwards and pointed at the table. “Leaf, birdy.”

The bird looked at him.

“Leaf, birdy.”

“Leaf, birdy.”

After another few failed attempts at “Leaf, birdy.”, Little Brother cast around for another idea. On the other side of the paved area he spotted a bright red bucket.

“Bucket!” he yelled and raced over.

“Bucket, Mummy.”

He grabbed me by the hand and led me over to the tap. “Bucket, Mummy!”

“Would you like some water in the bucket?” I asked.

“Bucket, Mummy.” He pointed at the tap and then the bucket. “Bucket, Mummy.”

We filled the bucket with water, and then he carefully carried it back to the chair where the bird was still watching him. He put the bucket of water down near the bird and took a careful step backwards.

“Bucket, birdy.”

The bird watched him, nonplussed.

“Bucket, birdy.”

“Bucket, birdy.”

“Bucket, birdy.”

Strangely, the little fellow didn’t immediately swoop down and have a drink of water from the bright red bucket. But Little Brother was unperturbed.

“Bucket, birdy.”

“Bucket, birdy.”

“Bucket, birdy.”

Until finally, he’d had enough. Clearly, the bird needed to be encouraged to have a drink.

Little Brother took a careful step forward and rested his hands on the chair. He looked up at the bird and grinned widely.

Then he shook the chair as hard as he could. “BIRDY!”

Tell me it’s not just me who has to deal with this!

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Dear Mother Earth

Big Brother was busy. More importantly, he was productively busy and quiet at the same time. He was sitting at the dining table with craft stuff spread around him and a palpable air of excitement surrounding every snip snip snip with the scissors.

I didn’t ask what he was doing. (Like I said, he was productive, busy and quiet. If you don’t have a five-year-old, you have no idea how rare a thing that is. I didn’t want to ruin it.) I just peered over his shoulder and saw him cutting a piece of paper into the shape of a heart, and jumped to all the wrong conclusions.

Oh, he must be making me a card. That’s so sweet. And then I went back to cooking dinner, humming happily to myself.

A few minutes later, he was finished. “Mummy! Look what I made!” he called, barely able to stand still in his excitement.

“Awww. That looks lovely. What is it?” I asked.

He smiled up at me. “It’s a message for Mother Earth,” he said. “It says: Dear Mother Earth. I really love you. I really love you so much. I hope you are having a nice rest in the winter. Love, Big Brother.”

You know, I wasn’t even disappointed it wasn’t a message for me. He was so sweet and earnest. “That’s beautiful,” I said, meaning every word.

“But how am I going to give it to her?” he asked.

That stopped me for a moment. Then I did what I always do in these situations — I referred him back to songs and stories. “Well, when the Winter King’s gnomes gather seeds for Mother Earth, how do they give them to her?”

His eyes lit up. “They bury them underground! I can bury this for Mother Earth!”

And so out came the shovel, and off to the garden we went.

Once it was positioned just right (which took almost half an hour), he looked thoughtful. “But how will Mother Earth know it’s here?”

“I’m sure She’ll know,” I said with a smile.

But just to be on the safe side, he made sure not all of the message was covered by dirt and leaves. It wouldn’t do for Mother Earth to miss his message.

We went back inside, and that was that. Or so I thought.

The next day, Big Brother went outside to play. He was back within a couple of minutes. He looked miserable. “Mother Earth didn’t take my message,” he said.

Right. Apparently I hadn’t done my part.

“I’m sure She will,” I said soothingly. “Maybe she was just busy last night. We’ll check again tomorrow.”

The next morning when Big Brother went outside, not only had Mother Earth found his message, She had left one of her own.

 (For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you may be surprised by my complicity in this story. After all, I’m all too happy to tell my children the truth about Santa. But even for me, the idea of telling my son that Mother Earth isn’t “real” is just… wrong. Wrong in a way I can’t even describe. I hope you understand.)

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