We have a parrot who likes to push the boundaries. In the morning, when I’m cleaning his food bowl, I allow him out of the cage. Most days he stays on top of the cage or the door. Sometimes he waddles around on the floor. He’s pretty good at getting back to his cage when he thinks I’m chasing him across the floor. The sticking point is when he’s sitting on the door. I tell him to get in. Sometimes he does; sometimes he likes to test my patience. I can either yell at him, threaten that he won’t be able to come out of the cage the next day (he really does understand that), or squirt him with a spray bottle.
This morning he was being a toddler. Most parrots have are equivalent to a 2-3 year old human in terms of behavior. I know he understands much more than a 2-3 year old even if he does behave that way. So, there he is, sitting on the door, looking me in the eye, and refusing to get in the cage. I asked nicely twice. Then I yelled. He got in the cage and made a kissing noise. I told him I love him but why does he make me yell at him? Just like a kid.
And then it hit me. Why is it so much easier to yell at the stupid parrot and punish him for being a shit than it is to punish Lion? Is it because I don’t care if the parrot is mad at me for squirting him with water? Is it because the parrot is really a toddler and doesn’t know any better (even though I know he knows better)? Is it because Lion is a peer? Is it because Lion is not really a toddler and should know better? Is it because I love Lion more than anything and who am I to punish my husband? D. Or whichever answer is all of the above.
If the bird gets mad at me, he won’t walk out the door. And if he does, I’ll miss him for a little while but it won’t be the end of the world. If Lion gets mad at me, he could potentially walk out the door. And if he does, he’ll take my entire world with him. But I’m not really worried Lion will leave. I just have a very hard time wrapping my head around the idea that I should punish him. Yes, I thought we were past this too. Maybe it’s the recent suspension of the rules because Lion’s been sick. I’m out of practice enforcing the rules and punishing him. Maybe it’s Lion wanting me to take more control so I can benefit in my own life.
One thought has been nagging me for quite some time. If I’m supposed to be changing Lion into something I want him to be, why am I the one doing most of the changing? I know Lion realizes this is a big deal for me to get to a point that I can take more power. I know he knows there’s really nothing that I want to change about him. I know he knows I don’t care if I’m forceful in my personal/professional life. I also know this is just a temporary setback. While I’ll never be as gung-ho as Lion about my power, I’ll get back into it soon. Maybe as soon as he is better. Maybe later tonight. Maybe I’m back already. Maybe I just needed to get this off my chest.