To Kill A Mockingbird

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
To Kill a Mockingbird
Miss Maudie Atkinson to Scout, Chapter 10.

There is something keeping my baby up at night. She will wake up, suddenly disturbed, and cry as if she is so upset and annoyed to be up for no reason at all (my similar emotions follow shortly behind). I will race to check on her...sometimes every 45 minutes...ALL. NIGHT. find out what in the world is the matter. I'll enter her room, see her standing up in her crib with her arms out, tears down her puzzled face. I'll hold her and in the silence...we hear it. The shrieking. The squawking. The unbearable squabbledygook (new word) dominating the quiet. What is this hideous creature, you ask? What could be so heinous as to wake a sleeping baby again and again with the torment of it's blaring noise?
A mockingbird.
That's right. A mockingbird has made his home in a tree outside of Matilda's room. Of all the creatures to ever exist, this one Adam coined with the moniker of unfriendly perfection. This mockingbird doesn't sing. It beeps, and whistles, and I swear it is holding up a little birdie bullhorn to its beak and winking to his mockingbird buddies with each little shrill of his voice. Evidently this bird has recently travelled from a rather risky area of town, from the other side of the tracks so to speak...somewhere where apparently a car is being broken into every minute of the day so that while he resided there he was able to precisely pick up the exact rhythm, pitch, and verse of every kind of car alarm known to man. That's right - our mockingbird doesn't just make random nonsensical noises. No, no, lucky us, we got a mockingbird that perfectly imitates the sound of a car alarm going off. ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
The first few nights it happened I wasn't even sure what it was. "Surely that is not coming from nature," I thought to myself. "God would not be so cruel." (Mockingbirds are clearly in the category of brown recluse spiders and hairless cats in my book, that is, products of the Fall). After rocking Matilda back to sleep for the umpteenth time, I was determined to find that sucker for myself. Hush little baby, don't say a word, mama's gonna go kill that stupid mockingbird! I snuck outside at 4am, pacing our sidewalk, trying to determine in which tree this wicked being had taken up residence. Aha! It didn't take long until I tracked it's racket to the top of a nearby tree - the sound was like a laser, piercing the darkness with a bright beam of blaring bothersomeness (yes, that is a new word too). I could hear it! But alas, I couldn't see it!
The next night was worse. It was so bad that this time I brought in reinforcements: my husband. Up until now, Josh hadn't really experienced the magnitude of this feathered monster. I mean, from our bedroom you can't really hear it. However, since my eardrums are on the same frequency of our baby monitor, I can't NOT hear it anymore. That monitor works all too well, not only picking up the ramblings of our baby, but now haunting me with the outside world that is determined to torment her night after night. Oh, that bird. (cringe!)
"Josh, I'm going to strangle that bird. You've got to do something. Go get the gun."
Now, now - calm yourselves. We don't own a "gun"...we own a NERF GUN. And get it he did.
Josh begrudgingly drags himself out of bed and finds himself on our front sidewalk at 3am, in his jammies and members only jacket, armed with a flashlight and bright yellow Nerf gun. If he ever had doubted my dramaticism (new word #3) of the situation before, all questions were hushed in his mind and quickly substituted with the overwhelmingly loud fowl communiqué. He flashed the light up into said tree, and the little squawker stopped. Whew. A moment of relief. The only problem was, with the scare of the light, Josh could no longer follow the sound to determine right where he was in the tree. Frustration abounds!
We've told our landlord, who (though he doesn't have an 8-month-old waking every hour) empathizes with our frustration. He is going to try and have the tree trimmed to see if that will give the intrusive bird a hint-hint that he is being evicted. Our neighbors have complained about the noise as well, so we know we're notthat crazy. This is just getting a little ridiculous! If you have any suggestions of how to shut this creature up, please let me know. I'm thinking if I can silence the mockingbird, then maybe I can get my baby to sleep other words...killing two birds with one stone! ;)
Perhaps Miss Maudie Atkinson (see quote at the top from To Kill A Mockingbird) was a bird-watcher, a nature-lover, an appreciator of creation...but I bet she never slept next to a tree with a mockingbird in it. If it's a sin to kill a mockingbird, then I'd better start repenting now. One way or another, that bird is going to meet it's doom (or at least the demise of it's current home). Hell hath no fury like a mother's scorn for a bird that keeps her baby up at night. Let me tell you.

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