Sometimes it really can be more the merrier and other times, NOT. Sometimes you may THINK more the merrier only to learn, NOT.
My girl decided that she had saved enough allowance to get her beloved parakeet a cage mate. We needed to get a bigger cage, so our first step was to search Craigslist for a cage. To our pleasant surprise, there was a cage and 2 parakeets right within her budget! We did some research and found that this would be great for our little bird–our very own flock.
To increase my girl’s independence, we talked about buying the cage from the seller; looking at the condition of the cage, seeing if the birds looked healthy, asing some questions, etc. She got her money counted and was ready to go!
At the lady’s house, she didn’t ask any questions but said they “were good”. She gave the lady her money and took the birds.
We got home and settled all the little birds in her room. The book said that there was no need to acclimate them, they are flocking birds and welcome new comers with no problem. All was well–lots of chirping and singing.
A few hours later, my girl came out of her room in tears. She was so sure that her original bird, Jordan, was sad and that he just wanted his own cage back. I tried to convince her that really the bird was happy but she continued to cry.
Hmmmm……a reflection of her own need for solitude and not handling change? This is the child that cannot sleep if ONE thing in her bedroom is changed. Was it her own need for routine and same-ness causing this mini-meltdown?
I tried for a little longer, but she was getting more and more convinced that Jordan was “miserable, mad and scared”. As we put Jordan back into his little cage, she looked at the new birds and said “get them out, I don’t want them in here.”
I think what the heck am I going to do with a set of parakeets??? And the allowance for the month is gone.
The win-win-win: Evan got a set of parakeets for his birthday (much desired), Lindsey got her allowance back, is loving having her single bird in her room and I avoid needing to get some video game thats novelty will wear out in days. And the greatest win is Lindsey felt EMPATHY for her little bird, maybe not accurate, but empathy.
Lesson learned: for kids with autism change–even GOOD change—can cause tears and stress. Not always is it “more the merrier”.