Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Conquering Fear

Part of being a parent is getting over your fears for your children. You have to let go of the fears that they will get hurt, that they will cry, that they will hate you, so they can actually grow up and experience life. You also have to let go of some of your own fears so they can have the fun experiences that make up childhood.

This is my story of how I let go of my own fears for Bunny's sake.

I am afraid of birds. I hate their beady little eyes. I am scared of their beaks. I am terrified of their claws. I also think they are dirty and disgusting but that is neither here nor there.

I can appreciate them from a (safe) distance. In fact, I even have a bird feeder so we have lots of birds in our yard. I like seeing the cardinals, gold finches and sparrows flitting about (from a distance). They are pretty. I know that.

But they are also creepy. Especially when they fly. Especially when they fly near me.

Why yes I saw The Birds during my formative years. Why do you ask? Oh because seeing people pecked to death can totally contribute to a fear of birds. Yes, that is part of it.

But I had my own experience with birds when I was younger. On a Spanish club trip to Spain we visited a plaza where you could buy seeds to feed the birds (mostly pigeons, enough said). The birds would land on you and eat the feed right out of your hands. They would land on you even if you didn't have feed but had raised your arms. At first it was cool and then it wasn't. They wouldn't leave you alone. Their claws left scratch marks all over your arms. It totally sucked. And it was very reminiscent of The Birds.

So that in a nutshell is why I am afraid of birds.

Bunny on the other hand, loves birds. Of course she does. She loves going into the aviary at the zoo. There is a room there where the birds fly free. I hate it because they are flying around, swooping over your head. They could attack you at any time. I know they probably won't, but they could.

So I do my best to avoid the aviary. Or we run as fast as possible through this room to the area with the pretty birds behind glass. That I can handle. Most of the time this is no problem.

Until now.

Because our zoo has an exhibit where they have cages of cute (but deadly) parakeets, parrots and cockatiels. And then they give you a stick with feed on it and send you into the lion's den. The birds will then fly to you, hop on your stick and eat the feed. So there are birds everywhere, flying around, landing on people and there is no escape. Well I mean there is a door but you are still in a cage with the little buggers. And no matter how cute they are, I am sure they are one empty stick away from pecking someone's eye out.

Most of the time, Bunny's dad takes her to the exhibit to save my sanity. But we made the mistake of saying to Bunny this was the last week for the exhibit and she demanded to go. During the week. So I had to take her. I could have been mean and said no, but I didn't.

I got over my fears and walked into the cage of death. I even had my own stick. Birds flew past me and over my head. Birds landed on my arm and on my hand. Birds landed on my daughter. And I didn't hyperventillate. I freaked out on the inside but on the outside I looked like a normal sane person who isn't afraid of birds. And Bunny had a blast.


Kate Coveny Hood said...

You remind me of my mom. She has a bird phobia. Her grandfather had a chicken coop when she was very small and she wandered in one day and got a serious pecking. It's great that you are able to do that kind of thing for Bunny - but know your limits and respect them. My mother tried so hard to overcome her fear that we actually owned birds. Several parakeets for me (they're sweet - but yeah, the little sharp parts can hurt) AND a few different parrots (all at different times of course) for my dad. Parrots and highly intelligent and kind of vicious - not a good combo. They are also one owner pets so if you aren't the perferred human, you should keep your distance. NEVER own a bird - it's not worth it. Mom still has her phobia and it's probably worse after years of being terrorized by the parrots in her own house. But you have the perfect excuse, "Bunny - we can't have a bird, the cats might try to eat it."

Christy said...

Congratulations! My sister in law is terrified of birds too - and there's NO WAY she would ever enter a cage of them, even for her kids. Kudos. And even more impressive that you took your camera in and were able to snap a cute shot!

Heidi said...

You are a good mom! I, like you, have this weird fear, phobia? of birds. I like them at a distance, but if their wings beat anywhere near me...I kinda lose it. I've had to control it over the years so my kids can't smell my fear. Anyway...good for you!! I'm impressed!

Kelly's Ideas said...

I know exactly what you mean! I have a huge fear of heights and my kids want to go on the ferris - I let them go with daddy when I am no around. lol

Karen said...

I'm definitely going to have to post my bird story now -- the one where a bird tried to bite my finger off. It just happened a few months ago and ever since then I'm thinking birds are not so cute...

Issas Crazy World said...

Good for you. Mine is snakes though and I will never, NEVER get over it. *shudder*

Course my girls are fascinated by snakes. Sigh.

rachel said...

Good for you! I have a similar phobia about the petting zoo, but it's not the goats and sheep so much as the germs...

I wish you posted a pic of you with all the birds flocking to you!

mommygeekology said...

Well done! That's a forever memory right there.