September 09, 2015
The Good Mother

When our first child was born, I was always concerned with being the best mother I could be. If something happened out of my control, I really struggled with it. As I had my second child and then my third, it was less about control and more about survival. Literally. 

Like every parent, my first and foremost job is keeping my kids safe. Then comes making sure the are behaved, clean and well dressed. That last one (well dressed) started out serious, but only lasted until I realized that children can be VERY destructive on clothes.

So, one summer afternoon when Owen was about 2 years old and Nell was about 10 months. They were sitting on our deck in Chicago, in a blow up pool filled with freezing hose water. I was in the house (less then 5 feet away) watching them from the kitchen widow, as I did the dishes. All of a sudden I heard Owen say "No Baby! No!" . I looked closer and saw Nell chewing on something. I rushed outside and reached into her mouth and pulled out what I can only imagine fell from the tree above our deck; a baby bird. 

Yep. A tiny (dead) pink baby bird with a beak and feet. 

From that moment on; I cannot tell you the order of how the next few minutes passed by, if I dry heaved or screamed first. I just remember throwing the bird over the deck and grabbing Nell and running inside. I made several phone calls; animal control, poison control, the pediatrician and my mom.  No one knew what to do because -and I quote poison control "Well ma'am, this has never happened before, so we don't know what to tell you." This however sound to me like " You are the worst #@^%*&! mother on the planet and no mother has ever let this happen to their poor innocent child!!!!!!" All of the places I called all gave me the same advice to keep and eye on Nell, but that she was most likely just fine. I swear all of them were trying to stifle a laugh as they gave me this advice. SO, after wiping the inside of Nell's mouth and down her throat  a hundred times, I began to calm down. Sort of. 

Owen, never a  toddler of few words, just sat in the  plastic pool wide eyed and mouth hanging open watching the entire scene unfold. I know he was probably just in awe of the situation, but a part of me thinks he had his mouth open to show me that HIS mouth was empty. 

Maggie Allen