Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Parakeet Tale


The other day, I wrote about it being Angel Baby's 13th birthday.  When I decided to share our latest news, I couldn't resist starting it off with this picture, taken while shopping for supplies for Angel Baby's party.  She wouldn't let me buy her that hat, and she was in fact (if you can't tell by her face) rather embarrassed that I even made her put it on long enough to take a picture.  I just had to share it because a) her expression is priceless and b) it plays a role in our news.

When I was growing up, I had a number of pets.  Our family had a dog, Sandy, who was one of the family.  We had a number of mice, gerbils, lizards, hermit crabs, turtles, and fish (all at different times).  My dad had two cockatiels (one at a time at different times).  And I had two parakeets.

We got the first one, Pebbles, from a neighbor when I was about nine or ten years old.  Pebbles was mainly green, with a little yellow on her face and some black and white on her wings and tail.  If you've ever watched The Flintstones, you know that Pebbles needs a Bamm-Bamm, and that is exactly what my Pebbles got when I was about eleven or twelve.  Bamm-Bamm was yellow with a little orange on his cheeks and black and white on his wings and tail.  I loved my birds!  We played music for them whenever we weren't home, always making sure they weren't lonely (and sometimes even when I just wasn't in my room, where they stayed).  I can still remember listening to them happily chirp away while the music played.  My parakeets bring back such great memories.

Angel Baby has wanted a parakeet of her own since she was about six or seven years old.  We decided that she had to wait until she could show us she was responsible enough - doing better about helping with chores and especially with keeping her room clean.  As she got older, the responsibility also had to include doing better about taking care of herself.  After all, if she couldn't take care of herself, how could she take care of a parakeet?  While waiting for her parakeet, she was given the opportunity to practice with several goldfish and betas (at different times, of course), which gave her practice at making sure her pet was fed and the bowl stayed clean.  Still, until recently, we were in doubt of whether or not she was ready for a bird.

About six months ago, Angel Baby decided she was going to start saving up for her bird.  If we weren't buying her one, she was buying it herself (with our permission, of course).  We knew she was getting serious, and that she was really almost ready for her new friend.  Taking the initiative to get prepared and to work to help pay for everything (she even made potholders which she sold to teachers, neighbors, friends, etc to help her earn the money she needed) showed us that she had matured a lot from the little girl that had originally asked for a parakeet.  She had some ups and downs with her quest to save up for the bird - temptation leading her to spend a large portion of her money and then need to start over on her savings.  Still, she worked hard with one goal in mind - getting the parakeet she'd wanted for about half of her life.  She even managed to get a cage, bowls, and food given to her or purchased at a rather low price.  Santa must've seen that she was getting prepared, because she got some bird supplies in her stocking this past Christmas.

As Angel Baby's birthday drew near, friends and family started asking what she wanted for her birthday.  She mentioned to a few of them that she was saving up for her bird, and that she'd love to have the supplies or money toward getting her bird.  When her Grammy asked us if she'd be okay with a gift card for her birthday (not having talked to Angel Baby previously about what she wanted), we suggested one to Pet Smart.  We didn't know that the gift card would actually be for more than enough to get her parakeet.  Just imagine Angel Baby's delight when she found her Pet Smart gift card and realized what it meant!

We had a couple of hitches in the plan, the main one being the cage.  It turned out that the cage she'd previously gotten was in much worse condition than we realized.  It was going to need sanded down, have rust removed, and then be repainted.  It was also missing the slide-out tray that would hold newspaper, bird litter, or whatever we chose to use to catch bird droppings.  We'd thought it just needed cleaned until it was actually time to get it ready (it had sat in our basement and had barely been looked at since we'd gotten it last fall).  Georgia Boy not only bought her a new cage, but he got her a bigger cage than I was looking at, knowing that she'd eventually want to get her parakeet a friend.

Last night, we took a trip to Pet Smart.  We picked up the cage (a starter kit that had bird litter, a toy, food, and treats inside), a few extra toys, and Angel Baby's new friend.  I haven't seen my little girl so happy in such a long time!  She was thrilled to finally have the parakeet she's been dreaming about and working so hard toward getting.  And I must admit that I am more than a little excited myself, especially with memories of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm coming back to me as I look at our new family member.



This is Bubbles.  Bubbles is a dark teal blue with black and white.  Angel Baby has had the name picked out for about as long as she's been working to save up for him (and long before she was told the one she'd picked out was a boy).  He's a very pretty bird.  I'll have to see if I can get a better picture of him later, once the lighting is better (I didn't want to scare him with the flash on my camera).

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