by Jane Curtis
Learning to laugh at yourself is a valuable lesson. It will serve you well through any age.
My grandmother's older sister had given her a Cuckoo clock for Christmas. I was fascinated by it. The little bird would come out every hour and tweet the hours. I loved watching it.
I had learned in preschool one day that eggs come from chickens. Now, at the age of 6 that was exciting news. You really do not think about where your food comes from at that age. Someone had brought some baby chicks to the school. I loved watching them and they tweeted too... just like the cuckoo clocks did.
I had a brilliant idea ...in the middle of the night. I was so excited about it. I just knew everyone would be so proud of me. You see I had not yet reasoned out how it all worked. I knew cats had kittens but could not understand chickens having chicks. Chickens had eggs.
I gave no thought about where the chicks themselves came from. I ate eggs. I ate chicken. I did not put the two together. However, there was a bird in that clock. I did not reason it would take two birds for babies.
I got up. Sneaked into the hallway where the clock was hanging. I got up on a six foot ladder and waited. Finally, the little bird came out. I snatched it off its perch and put it in a shoe box. I went out to the back yard, and cut grass with a pair of scissors to help build the proper nest.
I had decided I would have to wait until morning to find worms for the bird to eat. I had seen a cartoon and knew that is what birds eat. I scooped up some of the bird seed in the bird feeders so the little bird would not be hungry until I could get the worms.
Now, you must understand. All the grown ups in the house were asleep. I was very quiet and focused on my mission. I decided the thimble in Grandmother sewing kit would be perfect for a water bowl. I even got the heating pad ready. Grandmother had used it on me when I was sick once so I knew it would work to keep my new pet warm.
I built the nest. Propped up two thimbles; one for seed and one for water. I put the little bird in the nest, put the lid on the box, and put it on top of the heating pad and slid it under my bed.
I then proceeded to close and put away the ladder. That was hard task for a six year old. I then made sure the back door was closed and latched after making sure the bird feeder was closed up. I was very excited about my new pet.
Morning came. I had been up late... so I slept in. Squeals and shouting woke me up. Grandmother and Mommy were running around looking everywhere for something. It finally dawned on me what the problem was. They were looking for the bird in clock.
I was so proud of my surprise I ran and got the shoe box from under the bed.
I grinned from ear to ear as I proudly took the lid off and showed them how I had fixed up the little fellow with his own nest.
I announced... I am going to raise Koo Koo clocks. I could not believe the laughter that suddenly exploded from both of them. My mother and grandmother looked at all the things I had done in building the nest. They took the box and put the little bird back in the clock. I started to cry. They kept hugging me and giggling.
Grandmother explained to me that the little bird could only sing if he was inside the clock. Then she helped me understand this was a Rooster or boy bird. Only mommy birds could have babies. She also helped me understand that cats had kittens and birds had little birds.
I was so disappointed that I was not going to be able to raise clocks. Learning new things can drive a kid just a little Koo Koo. None of it made much sense until Grandmother explained that Koo Koo clock birds could only tweet the time. They knew only how to tell time not how to build a clock. That made sense to me. I asked her if I was soupid, (my word for stupid) she gave me a hug and said no, I was just being six.
I did not get into trouble until they realized I had used the ladder, the sewing scissors, and the shoe box from Mommy's new shoes. We were doing just find until we got to the ladder... I did not know it was dangerous to play with a ladder. I hated going out to pick out that switch. I was glad I got hugs and kisses before and after the little smack on my bottom. Mother and Grandmother both took pictures and told everyone that would listen about my adventure.
They even saved the nest to show the other relatives. That was when I learned to laugh at myself. I guess that was the best lesson of all.
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