Peter insisted on buying Matilda the parrot. Said it'll be good for her, give her the opportunity to learn how to take care of others.
Grace knew how it'll end up. The bird, like the damn dog, would rely on her. She'd be the one to feed it, change those pebbles from the bottom of the cage, probably be the one to let the bird out to fly around before spending hours coaxing it back in with a broom.
And sure enough, Matilda adored the bird, insisting the cage be in her bedroom. Grace warned her to put the blanket over the bird.
A tired Matilda trudged out of bed the next morning, growled at every utterance and finally feigned illness just to avoid school.
Peter had already gone for the day, oblivious to the pee puddle in the corner left by Tiggy, so it was up to Grace to call in sick herself.
With Dr. Phil on the tv and Tiggy and Matilda asleep on the couch, Grace went into her daughter's room to tidy up.
"Fuckin beauty," the parrot said, startling Grace.
It bopped its head up and down, genuinely looking her up and down with its small black beady eyes.
"I didn't know you could talk."
"Fuckin beauty," it repeated.
"You must be a male," Grace said. "Useless at conversation."