This Moment – The Model and The Book

A Friday ritual. 

A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. 

A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

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Baby Chicks DO Make Everything Better!

A few years ago my mom broke her arm. Of course, Murphy’s law never to be discounted, that happened to be the day her baby chicks arrived. I picked them up at the feed mill on my way to go help her out, letting them know who I was and why my mom wasn’t there herself. “You bring these right in and put them on her lap” said the woman. “Baby chicks make everything better.”

They didn’t miraculously heal a broken arm that day, but they did bring out a lot of smiles.

Ever since the woman at the feed mill put it into words, I’ve found it to be true. Baby chicks, in many ways, make everything better.

This weekend I had big plans, my brother was going to be visiting and we were going to Get Things Done. The kids had plans with other kids, John had a crazy workout challenge event, it was going to be great. And then my brother hurt his leg (he’ll be fine), the kid plans canceled because it tried to be winter again today (spring will be back soon), John did his event (and had a great time despite the weather) but I was not feeling the “great” that was this weekend.

And then I got a slightly out of the blue offer of 18 baby chicks to be delivered ASAP. After rummaging around outside (in the ice/snow/sleet/rain/wind) for supplies, hauling straw and shavings and digging an extension cord out of the ice, the brooder house was set up and the baby chicks arrived. I stood in the warm brooder house, out of the wind and rain and sleet and snow and ice, looked at my new babies peeping in the straw and suddenly everything was quite a bit better.

But that’s not really how I know baby chicks make everything better.

How I know is this…

A few hours after they arrived Clara, Jane and I all went out to check on (read snuggle) the babies. After a bit I, thinking that I should get something done, left the girls out in the brooder house and spent about an hour in the basement on various chores. I came upstairs and it was suspiciously quiet. Did they go back out? … or… uh oh…

The brooder house has a door with a hook and eye latch on the outside and on the inside. The door, particularly in weather that is trying to make you believe it’s still winter, will not stay closed by itself and baby chicks complain to management when it gets too drafty. The door is always latched, from one side… or the other…

I hustled back out to the brooder house. Sure enough, the door was locked from the outside.  I opened it up and went in, bracing myself for yelling and crying and wondering if my apologies would have to go as far as promises of ice cream and movies. There were Clara and Jane, lounging under the heat lamp. Jane had a half a dozen baby chicks sleeping on her lap, Clara had  a few more along her legs and one tucked under her hair, resting on her shoulder. Clara just looked up at me and said in a voice usually reserved for teenagers, “Really Mom?

Then they ever so slowly shed the chicks from their laps and got their boots and jackets on while Jane excitedly told me how they opened a window so they could yell for me and what their plan was in case the brooder house caught fire while they were locked in it (it totally would have worked by the way). They each gave just one more chick one more snuggle and then they happily pranced off through the sleet to the house.

And that’s how I know that baby chicks make everything better.

 

 

Swearing With Your Finger

Jane squished her finger in the door.

Not a mangled bleeding smash but a decently painful squish. She came to me, crying and holding it.  I did the concerned mom thing, “Are you alright? Let me see it?” Jane did the woeful child thing and sniffled as she held out her, seemingly fine, hurt middle finger.

Then she looked down at her middle finger extended toward me and cried,

“I’m soooorrryyyyy! I think I just swore at you with my finger!” and collapsed face down on the bed.

It was good that she was face down in a pillow while I worked on controlling the middle schooler trapped in a mom’s body thing so that I was able to get back to the concerned mom thing by the time she picked her head up. I gave it a kiss and told her not to worry about it and that her finger was going to be fine and that was the last we heard about it for a few hours.

Later the subject of swearing with your finger came up again. That was when my suspicions were confirmed. The kids might learn things like reading and math facts at school, but the real learning happens on the bus on the way home. Jane relayed the story of the boy on the bus telling her all about how to swear with her finger then looked at me with a grin and said,

“Mom, wanna see me swear with my face?”

Middle schooler in a mom’s body showed right back up. “Well, Yeah!”

“Just kidding Mom,” Jane said with a laugh, “You can’t swear with your face.”

Science Fair: When Pigeons and Peas Meet

Months ago Ivy came home bubbling over with excitement about the upcoming science fair. She deliberated long on what her experiment would entail and settled on growing pea plants.

Perfect, I said, we have a greenhouse!

Ivy planted three pots of peas, and planned to water them with orange juice, blue water and regular water respectively. Liquids were carefully measured, growth and changes were noted and things were going swimmingly.

Meanwhile…

Months ago Clara fell in love with pigeons and started hand raising babies.  Despite a number of setbacks the number of baby pigeons in our house rose while the temperature outside plummeted.

No problem, I said, we have a greenhouse!

Clara moved her four pigeons to the greenhouse where they happily flew around while she did crafts on the floor spending time with them. All five of them made a tremendous mess of everything and they were all exceedingly happy if a bit of a disaster.

Until..

One day, Janurary 23rd to be exact, Ivy came to me in tears. “The pigeons at my peas!”  Sure enough. All those healthy looking peas that seemed to love their blue food coloring enhanced water, as well as the control pot of peas were eaten down to nothing. The moldy orange juice dirt was untouched and the pigeons looked not even a tiny bit remorseful.

It’s okay, I told Ivy. I’m a biologist (as a mother, stretching the truth is a requirement of the job, alright?). This is just how science goes. Write down what happened, call it an unexpected variable, document the pigeon problem and it’ll all be fine.

Last week the pigeons, due to more set backs, (but the story of how Frosty was re-named Toasty is for another day), were still flying around the greenhouse when Ivy proudly took her trusty tri-fold board complete with pictures of pea plants and pigeons off to the science fair.

This week she came home beaming- turns out that with proper documentation even pigeons can’t ruin a good science fair project.

That’s a fifth place ribbon behind her and she’s even still friends with the pigeons!

Tardy

“Mr. Smithback is taking tardies really seriously,” Ivy tells me.

I try not to roll my eyes.  Mr. Smithback should try waking up the morning Clara monster.  Or finding Jane pants that are pants that she will wear, not the pants she chose the night before to wear because those ones, in the morning light, will clearly not do.  And he should do this all while listening to Ivy yell at everyone that we are going to be late to school.

Instead I tell Ivy what I’ve been telling her every morning that she complains about the timeliness of her sisters. “If you want to be on time you are going to have to be helpful in the morning.”

In my mind this would constitute things like not sitting in the seat that Jane always sits in knowing that it will cause her to freak out and refuse to get in the truck. That girl should learn to be flexible but we should not have flexibility lessons before 8am. Perhaps being extra nice to Clara. Clara needs to learn that when things don’t go her way it’s not, as she says, because “Everyone is being mean to mee!!!” That girl needs to learn how to handle bumps in her road but we should not attempt to teach this lesson before 8 am either. And not demanding ridiculous things of her mother. Her mother hates the morning and always has. Talking is barely acceptable, don’t make ridiculous demands that will get you yelled at by a cranky mother and cause you to stomp, pout and sit on your sisters’ jackets that they are trying to put on. I, said cranky mother,  probably need anti-morning cranky lessons but, let’s be honest here, that’s not happening at any time of day.

But, “Mr. Smithback is taking tardies really seriously.” So Ivy, bless her early morning heart, made a plan.

She and her sisters packed their bags and lunches the night before and asked me to put them in the truck. Ivy lined up shoes (with socks!) and jackets before she went to bed. She woke up earlier than the rest of us to dress herself make her mother a cup of hot tea (bless her early morning heart again), start breakfast for her sisters and wake them up.

A most welcome morning sight.

The last two mornings I’ve woken up, sat and drank my tea in relative peace while Ivy fed her sisters and then I drove them to school.

Mr. Smithback is taking tardies really seriously and I love him, and Ivy, for that.

Posted in response to my lovely, early rising daughter and The Daily Post prompt Tardy.