Curious Kids


Leftover relics of our home’s previous owner are two bird houses that still hang in the back of the garage. They were built long ago and have license plate roofs from a pressing design type that no longer exists.  Generations of nests have come and gone. Sparrows and finches win the roosting war every year, so we get some very friendly small birds flying around the patio area. New bird parents dance across an unused, but still connected, telephone wire and chirp. And chirp and chirp. All in an attempt to tell us nearby humans to stay far away. They have chicks in the old houses. 

This year’s newbies came about within the last week or so and it was with nothing more than a keen ear that my wife even knew the houses were in use this year. Wandering by the boxes she heard the tiny yet quick chatter of hatchlings. I am not sure if that is a term applied to birds now that I type it.  The freshly hatches chicks (hatchlings is so much quicker) were pleasing for food quite loudly. At that moment I realized there are only subtle differences between parenting in any species. 

My firstborn wanted to hear what was happening to. This was not done so much out of curiosity as it was to just take part in the moment, but i cannot complain. Many of his nature books tackle the egg hatching process, so to hear the result in real life was pretty cool. The big lesson of the day was to not bother the wee ones. Mommy and daddy birds are not very kind to mean little human boys that mess with a neat. He may have glasses to protect his eyes, but birds find a weak point. In the end, even the Death Star had a vulnerable point. 

He asked if he could see inside. There’s a outdoor table with a bit of distance between the house and its bench, so attempted to take a look. I hoisted to my shoulders and he was given his first dash of cold hard reality (that day); sometimes Dad is just not tall enough. We never stood a chance of seeing inside the bird hut, standing on a table or not.  

He decided listening was good enough and found himself bored. In the battle between kicking a nerf ball or listening to the faint sounds of a few otherwise invisible finches, nerf is going to win out. He’s curious when it is fun. The big lesson of my day. Finding ways to keep things fun and “education-ish” are going to rule the next few years. 

As for kid two, well, he’s curious in a different manner. 

Today he was curious what he could knock over. The answer is most things he can knock over most things. I think it is all about the ankle height approach combined with pure determination to see things topple in his wake.


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