Monthly Archives: June 2021

Birds do it, Bees do it…

I was thrilled she asked to run to the bathroom, being newly potty trained and in the middle of playing with toys at my house she doesn’t see at her own. Mostly she chooses cars, well, always cars.  No dolls.  Just cars.  If you hand her a doll or a stuffed animal, she drives it across the windowsill as though it has wheels making a “vroom vroom” sound.  Our little Danica Patrick.

Still clutching a firetruck, she hopped onto the toilet as only a two-and-a-half-year-old can. When she finished, thinking she would ask me to flush, she leaned forward with the cutest nearly imperceptible lisp you have ever heard and said, “How do you like my dress? ” I swear.  Those words.  Her mother is a stylist, but I have to think it was me being her fashionista Yaya, she just had to share.  I had admired it all day.  The pinkness of the flounce.  The ink black print against the pale cotton but I had not thought about what the tiny creatures were until she asked.  I tidied the skirt a bit and said,”I love it!  Are those squid?  Octopus?”  She looked befuddled.

About that time,  her 6′ 5″ dad walked in, lifted her off the toilet seat like a papa bear grabbing its cub with one paw, and said matter of factly, “Jellyfish, Yaya.  Can’t you see? The tentacles?”  Gathering up her blonde curls and retwisting her scrunchy onto her whimsical little ponytail he scurried her back to the family room with a “play ball” pat on her bottom. Tucked behind a chair in a corner, her brother had hoarded all the cars in the three-minute span she had taken for her potty break. And who wouldn’t?  Who wants to give up their first born status to a sister who not only is the first granddaughter but prefers his cars to dolls and ballet lessons?

Oh, this new world of basketball dads that do scrunchies and moms that pitch baseballs. And children that pick toys and sports they love, not ones we program them for. Gotta love it.

I was out of town for nearly a month and in my absence a couple of robin pairs must have thought my home was an abandoned property because they built not one but two nests right outside my front and back door.  I mean at eye level and touchable.  Well, I think it is two couples unless one male lets these nest-bound ladies think he is on a business trip as he darts from front to back feeding them both and now their babies.

I say babies but in the last week I have become confused if it is the mom or one of the kids giving me the stink eye when I come in or out the doors.  Robins are so good at the one eye west death stare with their beady black eyes. These babies are now indistinguishable from their parents and I wonder if teenaged birds are “Gen Zs” now, too?  I mean, if you are big enough to fill the nest, get off your fat white speckled robin ass, stop the selfies, drop the phone and get on with it. Go from virtual to actual and get out in the world. Get an education or get a job digging worms or a degree in twig choices for nest building and move the hell on.  Make a contribution to your society. These parents are wearing themselves out feeding, guarding , swooping, squawking and keeping the danger at bay while this brood just sits there waiting for DoorDash to fly up with a fresh stack of mealworms or cicada meat.

Watching them I realize that nature has so much to teach us about life in general. And like the world we are raising our children, grandchildren and budding Gen Z’s in, birds in particular not only model admirable shared parenting skills but they are also gender neutral. Many birds raise their babies in same-sex partnerships. Barn owls, house sparrows, even chickens often prefer the company of a same-sex partner. Actually the chickens are easily understandable if you have ever spent any time watching a rooster strut around the barn.

Flamingos are also often in committed same-sex relationships that involve living together and raising their young together. One fifth of all swan couples are gay.  Scientists gave a female penguin couple an abandoned egg and they raised it to adulthood, all a blur of black and white bliss waddling into the sunset.

So to come full circle from my car-loving granddaughter and the shared household and child-rearing duties I watch all my children demonstrating in their marriages, I am impressed. As confusing and often confounding as this brave new world can appear to our generation, I think it is great progress.

Maybe, just maybe, they know more about the birds and the bees than we do.