Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chicken Chickens!

The day before Easter, my husband fulfilled a notion he had to start our own backyard sustainable farm. Ok, not completely, but, he did end up getting us 12 tiny chicks of varying breeds. The idea is to raise them for eggs, not meat, most likely.

The kids took to the chicks right away and have already spent countless hours playing with them, feeding them, watching them, attacking them...

Wait, right?

Yeah.  So, after the little peeps grew into teenage chickens and got themselves some serious B.O.,we banished them into the shed which my handy husband re-purposed into a chicken coop, complete with an outdoor pen.

Every morning, the girls would go out and open the door to the coop to let the chickens into their little yard. Then they'd attempt to catch one or two to "snuggle."

(Yes, I know... we need a bunny or something).

Lexi began to name them... so far we have Snuggles, who apparently bit Lex but has since developed into quite a snuggler; Bitey, who... bites; Keysa... Caly named this one... it's little and who knows where the name comes from; Giraffy, who has spotted feathers that reminded Lex of a giraffe; and Feisty, who is the suspected rooster and by far, the largest chicken we have.

Lex has become slightly attached.

Fast forward to a few days ago. The kids were in the coop, giving the chickens the tops of strawberries. I was in the house attempting to throw together some lunch. All of the sudden, I hear Lex shriek,

"MoooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaMMMMMMMMMY!  CALY KILLED A CHICKEN! SHE KILLED KEYSA!" Followed by hysterical crying.

I looked out the window to see Caly with a large stick in her hand, a guilty look on her face, and a chicken on the ground, suspiciously still.

I ran outside and ordered the kids out of the coop so I could assess the chicken. She wasn't concious at first but roused enough that I figured she wouldn't croak for the time being.  I set her up in a box and put her back inside the barn.

Then I turned to Caly, who said, "I don't want to tell you what I was doing."


She eventually spilled and confessed to playing "spank the chicken" because apparently, Feisty was being well, feisty to the other chickens. Keysa got caught in the crossfire.

(An aside, I dearly hope I don't end up with weirdos dropping by now with the name of that transgression).

I had to exercise every ounce of self-control not to laugh outright at her ridiculousness. The things we never think we have to tell our kids not to do are the exact things that certain numbers of them will automatically do. It's a cosmic law of parenting.

Caly has been henceforth banned from entering the chicken coop. This may sound harsh, but the day before, I had to tell her and Sayer that chickens did NOT belong in buckets, no matter how much you wanted to see if they would get dizzy. And days before that, I had to ban her from throwing the chickens to see if they would practice flying.

She's a force. A force that I want supervised during chicken time.

As for Keysa? She's back to normal.

And the chickens have a short memory, because they're willing to let Caly snuggle them again. Or they're too scared to run away.

(Cell shot, sorry for the quality)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kid? Or Kitty?

Zoen's coming off of a week of being sick with various things and as a result, he's become "sick-spoiled."  You know, when you break any pretense of trying to stick with routine and just do whatever the heck works to make the kid feel well enough to sleep.

So, there were several evenings where he slumped in our lap to watch TV at 10:30pm so we could monitor whether his fever would break. Then in the wee hours of the night, he'd wake up and we'd repeat the process over and over.

So, last night before bed, he was still running a considerable fever so, right before I put him to bed, I gave him some motrin to attempt to stave off the inevitable night waking.

All went well until a bit before 1am when he woke up. For the first time in days, he woke up fever free. So, I nursed him and attempted to put him back in his bed, thinking, "Woot! He's starting to feel better! More sleep for us all!"

Hah. Hahahaha.

Apparently, Z was a fan of his nightly Food Network viewings and wasn't about to go down without a fight. First? Tears. And since he was still rather congested, I tried rocking him, bouncing him, and doing gymnastics to hopefully lull him back down.

I could almost feel his body trying to will me into the living room. If he could summon objects with his mind, he'd have that remote in his hands, no doubt.

He was MAD.

But, considering how I'd like to sleep halfway decently at night again, preferably before he turns twelve, I wasn't giving in. Shaun and I alternated between patting him/holding him and trying to stuff our heads under a pillow so we couldn't hear the other person's unsuccessful efforts in getting him to sleep.

Yeah, no one was getting much shut eye except for the three big kids who apparently could sleep through an earthquake happening during a hurricane.

(Small blessings, yes).

After about 2 hours, Shaun asked if I thought Z would fall asleep next to me. At this point, my brain had disintegrated into mush, so he could have suggested putting Z to bed in the bathtub and I'd probably have tried.

I pulled Z into bed between us. Initially, he was again, MAD.

But he warmed up to the idea of being next to me and snuggled his head on my belly. Then he flipped to my leg. Then he sat up and crashed face first on the mattress next to me. Then he headbutted me in the knee. It was like trying to sleep with a possessed pancake.

The kid's eyes were closed for most of this.

After a bit, the talking began. He chattered and chattered and sang. Shaun gave a halfhearted, "SHHHHHHH" and I swear Zoen laughed at him.

I was so tired that my eyes wouldn't stay open despite being paranoid that the kid was going to catapult himself off of the bed. I tried to keep a hand around his ankle to squelch any daredevil moves he would try to attempt.

I felt him lean against my chest and he got very still. I figured he finally crashed and opened my eyes to check.

He was inches from my face, eyes wide open, STARING at me like some sort of crazy person. When my eyes opened, his got wide and he stuck his finger in my nostril and giggled.

So much for sleep. I closed my eyes again. Z wrapped his body around my head like a cat.

And remarkably, he stilled yet again. I would have left him to sleep there, except I couldn't breathe. So I peeled him off of my face and tried settling him next to me.

He seemed ok with the relocation. So, once again, I closed my eyes.

You know how you get that weird spidey sense thing when a projectile is about to land on your face? Maybe it's the wind, or something. Either way, my eyes flew open in time to see my youngest child's head about to make excellent contact with my teeth. Like a ninja, I threw my hands up and caught his head.

And he bit me.

And laughed.

At 3:15am.

I started laughing too. You know that hysterical laughter that you can't stop no matter how hard you try? Yeah, that. Of course, Z thought this was wildly amusing and started chortling too. And honking my nose.

And with tears of laughter streaming down my face, I plucked him out of the bed, grabbed his blanket, and rocked him back to sleep in about 3 minutes.

He is VERY lucky that he's cute.

OK, that's not the cutest picture I have, but that certainly is the best personality shot I have.

Silly Baby.

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