For the Birds

Last night Annie was in particular rare form. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth and not even Matt the Baby Whisperer could get her down without a fight. The adults collapsed on the couch around nine too exhausted to even talk to each other, and I was asleep before we got halfway through the episode of whatever we were watching.

So it was with certain dread that I woke up to Annie's frantic screaming. Again. This child has GOT to sleep through the night. But on this particular evening, she was nuts. Wailing, thrashing, throwing herself out of our arms. I tried holding her, Matt tried picking her up, girlfriend was insane.

Sometimes taking her outside will calm her down, snap her out of her crazy and get her to stop screaming long enough to listen to our soothing, zen-like voices desperately bargaining her back to dreamland. So Matt decided to give it a shot. He opened the door and stepped outside...

... just as two winged shapes darted inside and start fluttering black wings in circles over my head. I froze as my brain took an extra 20 seconds to process what had just happened. Bats? Some belated Halloween joke gone awry? Not a minute later Matt cautiously opened the door again, holding a now mercifully silent Annie. "Did a bird just fly in here?" he asked, sounding just as gobsmacked as I'm sure I looked, with my mouth hanging open, frozen in the foyer.

So apparently two birds had taken up residence in the lovely burlap wreath on my door and Matt opening the door scared them enough that the poor things flew into the house. But there wasn't even time to think that process through, because before either of us could formulate a plan for how to evict these nighttime visitors, our cat took matters into his own paws. And jaws. One bird down. I grabbed Annie and took her to our hopefully bird-free bedroom while Matt chased Gus, who quickly let go of the bird. Bird flew off. Gus got locked in the bathroom. Tiny feathers rained down like an old-school pillow fight scene.

Two birds, loose in the house. We reacted, even as our brains tried to process what was happening. We walked around, flicking lights, clapping hands, hoping to scare them into giving away their location. I cleaned poop off the interior front door. There was no sign of our invaders. Then suddenly, a black shadow whirling overhead. One was upstairs. Matt shooed it into the bonus room, opened the window, did a crazy blanket flapping dance, and the bird escaped. One down, one to go.

We started checking under furniture, on top of bookshelves. Was it the bird Gus attacked? Was it injured? Should we let Gus out to finish the job? These were the desperate questions of the severely sleep deprived, over-adrenilinated parents who could not even fathom what was happening. "One day this will be funny," I remember remarking. This wasn't that day. Not yet.

Upstairs, Matt suddenly ducked as wings thudded past. He rapidly closed doors, narrowing the bird's options. I was suddenly very thankful Annie wasn't up in her bed yet, as the bird took the only escape route left, the one that led straight into her whirring ceiling fan. Oops. Stunned bird, on the ground. Matt wasted no time throwing a blanket over it, scooping it up and tossing it out the window, where it landed on the roof. And stayed there. A brief debate followed: was it dead? Injured? Going to be there when we woke up? The feathers continued to drift down like snow. We decided we didn't really care; it was over.

And then at 3:30 Violet came downstairs to announce she had just thrown up all over her bed. The fun never stops around here!

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