I remember my first day of kindergarten clearly. It was terrifying. I grew up in a small town, population 1700, but that made no difference the moment I walked into a room full of kids I knew from church, festivals and mom's tea and lunch afternoons. It made no difference because this was a new room, with new rules and one adult in charge of everything. I didn't know if she was nice, fair or would talk to me. I didn't know if the other kids would talk to me. I didn't know anything except my mother's last words.
"It's going to be fun! You will make new friends!" Which was irrelevant. I was the oldest of three girls. I had two friends already. I knew their expectations. I knew where to go to play and get toys and I already knew the rules in that place.
Every other kid in that kindergarten room was thinking the same thing. Where do I belong in all this now?
And that is the question that gets asked every day by our companions. Parrots are simple. They have just a few drives. Food/Water, Flock, Location and Materials. The result of all the parts is a flock family and knowing where to belong in all of that.
Humans, we like to add a few elements to our life. Careers, finance, status, envy, doubt, fear, rationalization, suspicion and a bit of delusion. We like to feed our additives with streaming content, social media and television programming. Just in case things weren't confusing enough. We like creating unreasonable expectations and calling them goals. We like wrapping our goals with the confused messages of the consumer world driven by envy and fear of loss. Our brains are so full of chatter it's a miracle we can think straight and walk without tripping. Finding the honest friendship with your parrot is easy for the parrot. It's the human that complicates the friendship and changes the rules without notice. Which confuses the parrot who thought everything was going great yesterday!
Problems arise in new parrot friendships and old parrot friendships when we bring the world's chatter into the friendship. Parrots feel stress, or they feel no stress. You can't go into a room after a hard day at work emotionally charged without first, reclaiming your space in the world, and remembering you are now at home with your parrot, not at work. Your bird has no clue why you are tense, because when you left you were not tense. They do not rationalize and they do not create excuses in their heads for your behavior. They either feel stress or do not.
I work from home. I like quiet, balance, and have created simple routines inside a timed schedule. Inside this dynamic I have 8 very quiet parrots all day long. When Dad get's home they all go bananas. Dogs, birds, Guinea Pig. Dad comes in after a day of stress and humans, greets every birdy with their names and a few minutes of interaction. They are feeling his elevated energy and continue to go bananas. And then dad goes upstairs to reclaim his world. We all do some form of routine after work. A change of clothes, a few minutes of putting things away, using the physical world to reboot our mental world.
The birds know this and wait downstairs. They wait for the light in the hallway to go on. That light says, "Okay! Dad's back! Come upstairs!" Butters and Snickers drop their toys and food and go rambling and scrambling upstairs like two kindergartners. Kirby positioned himself upstairs an hour before Dad's arrival. He's smart like that.
Kindergartners are like parrots. Or maybe parrots are like kindergartners. Their concerns are simple; Where do I belong in all this now? It's up to us to clear the room of unnecessary emotions and words to give our companions the simple space they need to communicate with us. And that simple space we've created allows us to communicate better with them.
I've taught art to kindergarten kids. I brought only 3 things into the room for these children. My patience, a smile and materials to create together. The objects, emotions and laughter that came from those three elements were vast in number every day.
An honest friendship only needs the simple truth, necessary elements of patience, a smile and the appropriate emotional materials to build from, no more; no less. Companion Parrots are not complicated. We must always apply this truth whenever possible. Humans are complicated beyond measure. And parrots can never assimilate our complications. To expect them to react properly to our irrational human driven natures is unreasonable, and unfair.
Leaving all that irrational human complication at the door leaves both of you happier, together.