I was changing Isaac today, getting him a dry diaper and clean clothes (and if you need to know why I am helping my 14-year-old son do these things, you can read his story here).
I was saying the usual things I say to him as I go through our routine. On most days it's a running one-sided dialogue:
"Alright, here we go!
"Wet pants off. Wash, wash….ooooo, it's cold. Brrrrrr.
"Ok. Rolly-Olly, dry diaper on. Rolly back.
"Don't pinch Mommy! No! Ouch! Stop it, Isaac!
"Here, this foot in. Other foot. Now rolly again. Pants up.
"Are you ready to change your shirt? This arm out first, good job, over the head now. Whoop! And the other arm. All right!"
And then from the living room I heard our African Gray parrot, Poppet, talking.
"Very nice. Very niiiiiiiice.
"Good job, Isaac! Good joooooob!
"Here we go! Here we go!
"Verrry nice! Good work!
It's nice to know that I've said the right things often enough that the bird has memorized them.
I've been encouraging in the past. I've sounded sweet and kind to Isaac many times. I've talked him through dressing and eating and therapy many, many times.
So, on that one day when I feel like a failure, when I know *for a fact* that I'm the world's worst mom, I'm going to remember the day I was encouraged by the bird – a bird who only learned the things that it heard.
Do you have a bird who talks? If you did, what kinds of things would it be learning to say???