The morning began with my space at the table decorated like that of a Queen. There were silks on the chairs, flowers foraged from the yard, candles lit and little presents on the table. There was a tiny, cold cup of espresso in a hand-painted cup. Bananas and apples were cut into torn pieces scattered with sprinkles of dark chocolate shavings. Gifts of paintings, felted soaps and a poem. My oldest says somberly and hungrily that there is no breakfast because nobody knows how to make breakfast, but that is another story.
Next, I did 712 loads of laundry and then we went to the Dog Park to celebrate Sophie's 2nd birthday. If this weren't enough, our diamond doves gave birth to an unexpected squab. Squab. I had to look up what to call a baby doveling.
Here is how I got into this predicament. I needed to find a bird to use in this photo for my website after my husband found this beautiful Ethiopian girl in a restaurant. So, I tried very hard to borrow a bird given that we already have a predatory household that includes a whippet, a gerbil, an indoor cat and an outdoor cat. My friends offered chickens, roosters, snakes (!), goats (done that), but no tame little bird.
How silly was I to take my girls to Petsmart 'just to look' and ask questions about what kind of bird I could rent. I was secretly planning to return the bird after the shoot if I held on to my receipt, but noooo.... I have kids! So, I hold this little dove and it sits in my hand, coos a zen-like coo, and is just as beautiful as it can be. Just as I say I'll take the bird, the little man says that they are attached creatures and must be in pairs. In fact, they mate for life. That's beautiful, I say, but 'what do you mean MATE?' . The man looks at me and then down at my kids and cocks his head to the side as if to say surely I know about the Birds and the Bees.
Ok, well, I might as well get two, now that I have to get a cage and all the accessories, but is this one a girl or a boy? Oh!, the little man says. You can't really tell what you're getting unless you have a minor surgery done to determine the gender. I'm now thinking this isn't a good idea and I'll take the chickens or even the snake, but my KIDS are standing there and there is no way I'm getting out of this. One of them is now bending over as if she might pee on the floor she's so excited.
He says, the environment has to be absolutely perfect for them to lay an egg and then to actually HATCH the egg is next to impossible. He says people that breed these have a very difficult time hatching a bird and so I really shouldn't worry. He also tells me the lifespan is five years and we know that five years goes quickly. The handbook he sold me, I later found out, states that Diamond Doves live 25 years.
I buy the birds, my awesome photographer takes the photograph and within a month we have AN EGG! It's so tiny. It's about half an inch big. So soo sweet. They discard that egg as they obviously don't know they are supposed to sit on it. A few weeks later another egg! This time they incubate it. For the next few months, they are always sitting on an egg. Or two. But, nothing comes from any of them and we've long forgotten to expect a baby. We've named them Violet and Sabine, and I presume they are lesbians.
We were out of town this weekend, celebrating our 12th anniversary (with kids in tow) in a cabin in the woods and when we returned the first thing I did was check the birds who stayed home alone with the Cat. I gasped when I saw a fuzzy little being about the size of my thumbnail! It was just sitting there alone on a piece of felted wool and I feared it was dead. I watched for a long time and finally saw a hint of a breath. The parents then scooted over and sat on its head! They left its butt sticking out but sat on his head and this did not seem right to me and I had to look it up. It's ok, they have no other way to keep them warm. So, I have a dove factory now if you want one. Seems I'll have more. I may add them as an option to add to the shopping cart on babybearshop.com.
To all mothers, I wish you a beautiful day. Be strong, be patient, cherish every wonderful, magical and insane moment. It's the most important job in the world! "Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life." - Buddha
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