My doctor won't give me drugs unless I see my therapist regularly, so every once in awhile I go and we shoot the shit and laugh about my weird life and she tells me what's new with her and then I go away and fill my prescription. It's a win-win situation for both of us. Anyway, my therapist started telling me about taking her granddaughter berry picking and it reminded me of the first time I took Little Vlad berry picking.
When Vladimir was little, he wasn't a big fan of animals. He was always somewhat nervous around animals, especially large ones, because they are so unpredictable.* Trips to the zoo were highlighted by Vlad avoiding most of the caged animals and staring at the fish in the aquariums. Fish are generally pretty innocuous because they don't charge at you or anything, like man eating tigers or rhinoceroses do. And you can forget about pony rides... that just wasn't happening. (In fact, Vlad was so disenchanted with animals that he took a stuffed Thomas the Tank Engine to bed every night instead of the typical teddy bear.)
But getting back to the berry picking...
We had gone strawberry picking with some of our best friends when Vlad was three. It was a beautiful day and we were having great fun watching Vlad and his little friend Maggie eating berries as they moved along the path. They just looked so gosh darned cute with strawberry juice dripping down their chins!
We finally got several baskets filled and took them up to the farm wagon to pay for our bountiful harvest. Sitting on the wagon was a cardboard berry basket with a tiny bird inside. Apparently the owners of the field had found the bird abandoned under one of the strawberry plants. And believe it or not, Little Vladimir was fascinated by the wee bird. He just kept staring at it. I was amazed and very heartened by his interest in a real live animal... finally! Could my child actually be forming a relationship with a living creature? I was even more excited when he said....
"I want to take that bird home!"
Oh, be still my heart! My child likes an animal! I was ready to go buy a bird cage and start making up names for the little critter. The lady told us the story of how she found the baby bird and how they were hoping they could feed him and nurse him back to health until he could make it on his own. Vlad didn't make eye contact with the nice farmer lady as she spoke, but continued to just stand there and just stare at the bird. He even asked if he could climb up on the wagon to get a better look at it.
It was so sweet I almost cried. Then, as his eyes remained glued to the bird, he said...
"I want to take that bird home and eat it for dinner!"
Where did I go wrong?
And just in case you were wondering.... We did not have fowl for dinner that night.
* * * * * * * * * *
*Vlad was 9 before we got our first pet... Hickory the Wonder Dog. Vlad had finally begun to show an interest in animals and I figured a dog was a better bet than the slug he brought home and begged me to keep.