Trust Your Daddy
I purchased a parakeet recently, and have been having a heck of a time training him. Tavi (short for Octavius) just doesn’t act like my past parakeets did. He doesn’t like millet, for example. He also refuses to stand on my finger. He prefers my forearm instead, and looking like a small blue hawk.
Yesterday, I let him out of his cage when my kids were around. My youngest, who is almost eight years old now, ran over to try to coax the bird onto his arm. After several minutes, and a little coaching from me, he managed the trick. Tavi hopped onto his arm.
My son was elated.
“It’s my first time,” he said. “It’s the first time he’s ever been on me!”
Tavi flew to the top of his head and walked back and forth a bit.
My son started giggling. “It tickles!”
Tavi hopped down from his head to his shoulder and stretched his body out so he could look my son in the eye.
The big guy flinched.
“Don’t be scared,” I said quietly. “He won’t hurt you.”
The little guy tried to relax, but didn’t get very far. He ended up with a frozen face of fear, eyebrows up, eyes squinted, and teeth gritted behind a wide-lipped smile.
Tavi reached up and bit his eyelid.
“Whoops,” I said. “Watch out for your eyes. I forgot about that. He likes to bite eyes.”
“What?!” my wife said. “He likes to bite eyes?”
“Ack,” my son shouted. He covered his eyes with his hand and tilted his head away from the bird on his shoulder. “You said he wouldn’t hurt me.”
“He won’t now,” I said. “Really, just relax.”
Tavi looked at me, cocked his head, then stepped over and latched his beak firmly onto my son’s ear.
“Ah,” he shouted, laughing. “Get him off! Get him off!”
I couldn’t, though. I was laughing too hard. My wife was too. There’s something funny about being terrorized by a parakeet. I don’t know what it is or why, but it’s definitely funny.
In retrospect, this may not have been the best of trust-building exercises.