our budding birder

a few weeks ago mdh got a bird feeder.  but not just any kind of bird feeder–it’s the squirrel buster bird feeder.  miss e waited by the window with much anticipation, but for two days we didn’t see any birds come by to take a morsel.  she even had her little east-west all the backyard birds guide book on hand.

finally, on the third day we started seeing some house finches show up.  but that’s all we kept seeing, red headed male finches, spotted female finches, and nobody else.  i was getting bored (yes, already).  certain ones kept coming by so frequently i was able to identify them individually.

on the morning of the fourth day as i was in the bathroom getting ready miss e comes running in to tell me she saw a “small grey bird with a crest.”  and then she made a crest by putting her palms together on top of her head.    she even found the titmouse in her guide book and showed me, “this one.”  i didn’t believe her, since all i saw were the house finches.  i thought maybe she was pretending to see a different bird since it was getting a bit boring with only the finches coming to the feeder.  she went and told her dad too.  he didn’t believe her either.

then mdh went to have some breakfast and while he was sitting down to have his cereal he saw the titmouse at the feeder!  miss e did actually see the titmouse and so very accurately identified it.  so now you can imagine mdh’s excitement in seeing some other bird other than the house finches, and even more excited because his daughter had identified a bird even before the adults saw it.  the titmouse is a skittish kind of bird so i didn’t get to see it for myself until the following day.

the titmouse is a cute bird, and yes, it’s small, grey, and has a crest.

so far we’ve seen house finches, titmouse (would the plural be titmice?), chestnut-backed chickadees, scrub jays, mourning doves, house sparrows, and california towhees visit our backyard.  oh yeah, and busy squirrels trying to get to the bird feeder.

titmouse

chickadee

(this post was requested by mdh, because he’s a proud papa and he wanted to record this moment.  he’s been talking about training our kids to be birders even before we had kids.  he asked me to write this down a few days after miss e saw the titmouse, but i kept putting it off.  since today is father’s day it feels like it’s a good day to tell the story.)

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be strong and of good courage

Be strong and of good courage,

Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed,

For Jehovah your God is with you, wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9

this afternoon while miss e and i were having lunch she announced to me that she wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore.  she used to use a nightlight in her room.  but ever since her little brother (“di di” in chinese, d.d.) started sharing her room with her she had to stop using the nightlight because it was at an angle that shined right into d.d.’s crib.

she hadn’t been using the nightlight for almost a month now.  at first we gave her a little flash light, but the switch was finicky and sometimes it wouldn’t turn on no matter how hard we pressed the button.  i made her a little glow jar (from our ever growing collection of baby food jars) which seemed to comfort her a bit, but every now and then if she’d wake up in the middle of the night and noticed that the glow-in-the-dark light had faded she’d get up and let us know that it had stopped glowing…that got kind of annoying too.  but we just kept telling her that we’re right next door and d.d. is in the same room with her so there’s no reason to be afraid.

so this afternoon she explained to me that she wasn’t scared of the dark because God is with her wherever she goes.  she had learned the verse joshua 1:9 as a song from her children’s meeting singing time many months ago and would often sing it at home.  i was surprised that she actually understood the meaning of the song.  she couldn’t tell me for certain whether she discovered the meaning of the words on her own or her children’s meeting teacher had explained it to them.  in any case, i was quite encouraged and comforted from her explanation of why she’s not afraid of the dark.

miss e is only four AND A HALF years old and i can help her through many of her daily difficulties.  this afternoon’s little interaction reminded me that as she grows older there will be more and more “fears” that i can’t help her through and that she will need to confront them on her own but my role is to be there to remind her that God is with her wherever and whatever she has to go through.