February 17, 2011

Sympathy for Others

There's a game I like to play with Mom called "chase the bird." You see, we have a pet cockatiel, and sometimes Mom lets him perch outside of his cage. When it's time for him to go back in his cage, though, he isn't always cooperative, and sometimes Mom ends up having to chase after him. She tries to convince the bird to step onto her hand or shoulder, then she tries to whisk him into the bathroom, where she can close the door, grab the bird into her hands in the darkness, then take him to his cage.

When Mom is at the point of chasing the bird, I join in with the game. As she runs between the living room and kitchen, attempting to entice the bird into stepping off the stovetop or a lamp, I run with her. As I run, I laugh and scream, and I skip around. With my endless energy keeping me going, I never tire of the game, and I'll play it as long as Mom and the bird.

Today, the bird was particularly stubborn and Mom started getting tired of running around. Realizing that the bird wasn't going to cooperate, she had to come up with some new tactics to catch him. At one point Mom reached out as the bird took flight from the kitchen countertop and caught him by the tail. The bird became angry, bit Mom, flapped his wings harder, and started to squawk loudly. Mom almost immediately let him go again, and he flew to safety of the top of his cage. But hearing the bird's cries of distress, I got upset and began to cry. I felt so badly for the bird, and I was afraid he had been hurt. Mom assured me that the bird was okay, but I just could not calm down.

Mom eventually chased the bird upstairs and into my room, where she was able to corner him and grab him from behind. She carried him against her chest, brought him downstairs, and placed him in his cage. I stood next to the cage watching him for a few moments, just to be sure he was okay.

Games are always fun until someone gets hurt, then I feel bad.

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