This morning about 5am I heard a thump. My gut reaction was that a cat must have knocked something over, so without even putting my glasses on I stumbled into the kitchen figuring I'd just trip over whatever it was I needed to clean up. Since I didn't land on my face or step in anything sufficiently squishy, I went back to bed.
Then Chris came back to bed, which was a little unnerving since I hadn't noticed that she was gone. She flopped down and said, "The kids say they saw a bird." I could feel what little brain function I had fizzling out trying to decrypt what that sentence was supposed to mean. "A small bird," she added. I guess subconsciously I expected her voice to trail off, but it didn't. She was quoting one of the kids and 'small' was important. It was the kind of detail that was going to keep me awake.
See, the kids, especially Habtamu have figured out that they don't need the correct word for something if they can just get close enough. The other day, I heard one of them use an Amharic word that I know I'd heard before. I asked him what it meant and he said, "little umbrella" and put his hand close to the ground. It took me a second, but then after a head slap moment I figured out the word was "Mushroom."
Small bird... small bird... what stupid small bird would be flying around at 5 in the morn... OH CRAP!!!
"Really?" I mumbled.
"Who knows. I couldn't find it, but that explains why the cats are at DEFCON 4" She said into her pillow.
See, the other problem is that H enjoys telling stories. The stories get more interesting the more times he tells them, so you actually get the most reliable facts the first time around. Unfortunately, the first telling was at blurry o'clock this morning when everyone was kind of in a stupor. And remember, this is from the boy who claimed the black cat scratched his face the first night home. That would be the same black cat that hides under our all day bed until they go upstairs at night.
Anyway, by the time I got home from work, his account of the morning's events included the small bird landing on his face and him waking up screaming. I'm sure that's how he'll remember it. Chris said there had been no more sightings of the bird and asked me to double check while the kids were distracted with the Olympics. So I went upstairs and poked around all the bedrooms but came up empty. I was about to head back downstairs when I did indeed find 'the bird' dangling upside-down behind a valence in the hallway. Using my friend Dan's swat-stun-and-chuck technique (the secret is in how you fold the towel!) the house was bird free in about 30 seconds.
"Eyeses bird?" I was asked by H when I came back downstairs. "Yes," I replied. "Finished?" He said, sticking his tongue out to the side making his dead face. "No, but it's gone," I responded.
Chris and I kind of shrugged at each other, just glad that our kids first bat experience wasn't particularly traumatic. There's sure to be more.
I'm no Olympian, but I get by.