April 29, 2012

Nine Steps To Happy Hygiene

I'm an evening person. I don't wake up well in the morning and I usually have trouble waking up. Two alarm clocks is the minimum (strategically placed out of reach) and I snooze about 5 times on average.

Here's the morning routine that follows:
Step 1: Final snooze. I'm awake just enough to realize that I have to turn it off and sit up
Step 2: Getting out of the bedroom with some bare essentials, so my girlfriend can continue to sleep a bit more, if she doesn't need to get up. Primarily my glasses and my phone, that is.
Step 3: Find my way to the bathroom for my usual 'first order of business'
Step 4: Find my way to the office while waking up a bit more
Step 5: Sit at computer, check email, news and blogs for 10 minutes
Step 6: Getting mentally ready to continue the morning routine and get ready to leave for work
Step 7: Find clothes and a towel
Step 8: Take my morning shower. Getting reminded of something by a loud squeeky noise.
Step 9: Forgot the bird. Go back and get him.

Yes, I take my morning showers together with Vinny. I don't have any trouble with him seeing me naked, as long as he doesn't say stuff like 'Size Matters'. After all, I do see him naked all the time.

The first few times we took him to the shower, he was reluctantly undergoing the whole process. Since then, we've managed to figure out a few tricks that make it a bit more fun for him and now he likes taking showers very much and is definitely a happy bird when he comes out, soaking wet.

Usually he sits on the shower curtain rail while I shave and wash my hair. He usually makes a few soft scratchy sounds during these few minutes, to let me know that I shouldn't forget about him. Then I turn down the temperature a bit, to a comfortable 30 degrees Celsius (about 85 Fahrenheit). I turn down the power of the water a bit, let him step up on my hand, and get him soaked. Wash off any dirt that might stick to his feathers, and let him drink some water. He likes catching a tiny stream of water with his beak that comes from the shower head.

During the next phase, I let him sit on the curtain rail again while I finish showering myself. This is when he's starting to get playful a little bit. He makes funny noises (sometimes) and plays with the toys that hang from the rail.

By this time, we're in the bathroom for over 15 minutes. I used to take 5-10 minute showers, now I have to reserve almost half an hour for the whole process. But it's all fine and dandy, it's a fun ritual.

When the formal part of the showering is done, that is, the actual cleaning, it's play time !!

I set the shower head to the misty power spray setting, take Vinny on my hand, and give him a good steam bath from all sides. He sneezes a bit when he gets a few drops in his nose, but other than that, he's visibly enjoying it. Once in a while he's so happy that he actually spreads his wings and takes in the water as much as he can.

At some point enough is enough. I'll be in a hurry to make sure I'm not late for work, and Vinny is letting me know that he's starting to get hungry. So we get out, I place him on the top perch of the cage and give him some food. As soon as we leave the bathroom, he starts shivering. Well, actually, it's not shivering. His chest muscles contract rapidly, which is a bird's way of creating extra heat to to dry off the feathers faster.

Before leaving, I check his cage and put some clean paper in the bottom tray. I open the blinds to a little crack to give him some daylight, and leave him in the trusty hands of my girlfriend.

Do you and your parrot have similar routines, or do you take a completely different approach? Feel free to let us know by commenting.

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