Friday, July 10, 2015

Group therapy costs less.

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Today I traumatized my preschooler, six chicks, my dog, and the guy painting the outside of our house. And I did it in under 5 minutes flat. That's a record! So proud!

It started out with good intentions, as all the best Crazy Mom induced traumas do. We had a glorious morning that involved a trip to the playground, the library, walking to the deli for sandwiches, and then walking back to the playground for a picnic lunch and more playing. We came home, the toddler practically put herself down to bed, Miss V sat down to do a puzzle and I, in an amazing rare moment of silence, cracked open one of the books about chickens we checked out today. There was a suggestion about acclimating new chicks without a broody hen to the outside in tiny little bursts on hot days. Great! I have a wire fence that will hold them and is easy to set up, a willing preschooler, and ten minutes! I can do this!

I set up the fence and put all the chicks in a plastic sand pail. They were transported to a chemical-free scratch-and-peck paradise in the glorious heat of the day. I let them out and thought how much fun this would be to watch them explore. 

I've never raised chickens before, but I have brought my kids to the beach as infants. I've watched as a magical, relaxing, healing place turns into the stuff nightmares are made of. An infant isn't calmed by rolling waves, they are terrified by the crashing, fast moving ice-cold liquid you are trying to get them to touch. They aren't enjoying the sand between their toes, they are wondering why you are sticking their delicate feet into hot, gritty earth. You would think I would know better. But there I was, gently tipping my bucket-o-chicks onto the springy earth with a ridiculous grin on my face and clap-happy preschooler. 

The first to cry was Mama Hen, formerly known as Sadie Dog. I might as well have tossed them into the fiery core of the Earth. Her reaction would have been the same. She ran in circles, crying because her chicks were out and she couldn't touch them, while all six chicks tried desperately to follow her. 

Once I managed to get her to lay down (she's very well trained, but this tested her listening) the chicks came to her. 

Of course there was a fence, so they couldn't get to her. Then the chicks began to cry. They were so loud, the painter came to see what was going on. I had promised to pay him, and so I offered to grab the check I had left inside if he would just watch the chicks. 

This is when they started to stick their little heads through the fence, not realizing the rest of them doesn't fit. Our painter will likely just wait another day to get paid if anyone tells him to just watch the chickens while they get their checkbook. 

Sadie resumed running, the chicks started to escape (how?!) and Miss V started to get crabby because in all their panic, the chicks had ignored her offers of leaves and sticks.  

I had to shut it down and bring everyone inside. The noise was deafening, the chicks looked like they were going to pass out from fear (except our one brave chicken, Little, who decided to peck around a bit) and Sadie was nearing a heart attack. 

I went inside and decided to offer them a special treat of ground oats, which they absolutely love. They have had oats three other times, and after the first time they would come running when they saw the jar and I called "chick chick chick!" But not this time. As you can see, two have forgiven me (or love oats that much), one was on the fence, and three are actively ignoring me.

All in a day's work, people.

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