Parenting Confession #1:
Two years ago I accidentally let my daughter’s new budgie bird escape out the window (and presumably into the jaws of a nearby cat). Yeah, not my best day.
She was beside herself with distress. So I came up with a Plan. I spent hours making panicked phone calls to every budgie breeder in the area, then told her that her budgie had been found and I was going out to pick it up.
I made my husband, her sister and all my friends swear blind that the budgie I returned with (bigger, with totally different feather patterns) was definitely 100% hers.
I explained to her that the Budgie Catcher Man had caught it by driving his special Budgie Catching Van (complete with radar and budgie tracking equipment). And that its feathering had changed because it must have lost some by getting caught in hedges. And that the feathers that had been black but were now white, had changed because (I’m SO going to hell for this) they must have turned white with shock, the same as in human hair.
It took five days of barefaced lying from five adults to convince her it was the same budgie. Then the fucker dropped dead a month later.
Parenting Confession #2:
So after my daughter had recovered from her impostor budgie dropping dead, we went to get budgie #3 (which of course she thought was budgie #2).
She spent hours taming it and talking to it and it got tame enough to be let out of the cage to fly around the room. I was fastidious about checking the windows were shut after the tragic escape of budgie #1.
One day I let it out to stretch its wings, first ensuring all doors and windows were shut. It didn’t want to go back in its cage so I left it, figuring that she would be able to do that when she got home from school. A while later the doorbell rang, so I went to answer it, ensuring no budgie escape took place.
Unbeknownst to me, next door’s cat had slipped through undetected, and I was altered to a noisy kerfuffle and an alarmed squawking. To my horror, I spotted a green and yellow feathery mass sticking out of the cat’s mouth, and as I leapt to grab it, the cat sprinted out of the front door.
Cue me flinging myself after it, screaming like a banshee to my neighbour, “your fucking cat’s got the fucking budgie!!!!” The next few minutes were a blur of the cat doing laps round the garden, with myself and tash in hot pursuit. Finally, my neighbour extracted a decidedly ex-budgie from the cat’s indignant jaws.
Horrified, we wondered how the hell we were going to explain this to my daughter. There was no way I was going to admit to being responsible for another beloved budgie’s untimely demise. I decided there was only one thing to do.
I put the corpse back in its cage, carefully arranged to look like it had dropped off its perch, and hid in bed. Upon my daughter’s return, I steeled myself for the inevitable bereft wail from downstairs, and swore blind that I had no idea what had happened, and that the budgie had definitely been alive and well last time I had checked on it.
The cage was duly disposed of and the incident never mentioned again.
Ami Philips is a domestically disinterested mother of three with a fruit bowl that is full of everything except fruit and a washing pile so big it deserves its own postcode.