Friday, May 14, 2021

The Backyard Chickens Glow Up


It's been a long time since I made chick portraits with the kids.

How long has it been exactly?

THIS long!!!

It was so long ago that Syd, who now fears and loathes the backyard chickens in equal capacities, happily posed with a chick on her wrist. 

Syd won't go near even the bitty babies anymore, alas, but Will still has an infinite adoration for chickens both big and small. Early this spring she started to work on me and Matt about adding more chicks to our small flock. I kept a pretty hard line for a change, so obviously it was Matt's turn to be a sucker and spoil our child.

I mean, one of us HAS to, right?!? That's surely a rule somewhere...

So off Will and Matt went to buy four chicks, then a couple of days later they turned right around, for reasons that surely made sense to them, and they bought two more. And now we have six, on top of the four hens and two roosters we've already got. It's not exactly the farm that Will dreamed of having when she was four, but it's certainly closer to it!

This is Whistleblower:

And this is Whistleblower one month later!

This is Smol Bean:

And this is Smol Bean one month later!

Smol Bean is living proof of my kid's loving heart, as she lets me name one of the chicks each time she gets new ones, and she absolutely HATES this name. HATES. IT. And yet we still have a Smol Bean, because a Smol Bean was what I wanted:

This is Poppy:

And this is Poppy one month later:

This is Quetzalcoatlus: 

And this is Queztlcoatlus one month later, looking not entirely unlike her namesake!

This is Blitz:

And this is our baby Blitz one month later:

This is Hadrian:

And this is lanky Hadrian one month later:

The chicks just moved from their indoor palace into their outdoor nursery coop this week. I'm happy that their dust and smell and noise are out of the house, but I miss being able to pop into the playroom and visit with them, too. There's a metaphor in there somewhere, something about how fast young creatures grow and how wonderful and hard it is to have them when they're small, and how wonderful and hard it is when they leave the safety of your home. How their lives become so much more interesting in the wider world of the backyard, but you stop knowing them as well as you did when they were contained. How they become so different. How they stay so very much the same. 

Every day I think about how this incredible, funny, generous, bright, witty, thoughtful, and kind kid of mine is going to leave for the wide world so soon now, herself. Sometimes I feel excited about that--I'll find every brownie right where I left it! Sometimes I feel worried--How on EARTH can I monitor her from far away? What if there's an emergency, and nobody knows that my child must be evacuated before all the other children because she is the most special? Sometimes I make anxious to-do lists in my head of all the things I still have to teach her--physics, how to drive, the mandatory nature of daily showers, when to stop arguing one's point. 

Mostly, though, I think about how much I'm going to miss her every single second, and how much magic and newness and adventure and possibility she's brought into my life so far, and how I hope she keeps that and shares that as she makes her own way in the world. I hope she finds others who will participate with interest every single time she's reading a book and pops her head up wanting to discuss an important piece of information from it. I hope she finds others who love travel and adventure, who also want to go kayaking and skiing and hiking and climbing and target shooting and every other cool thing, but I hope she also isn't afraid to find new adventures and go on them all by herself, either. 

I hope she keeps this heart that loves animals of all kinds more than she loves most people, who treasures wolverines as much as she does puppies. I hope that her place in the world is filled with dogs of indeterminant breeding, ever-replenishing flocks of chickens, and fields of content horses. And I hope that every time she has a new batch of chicks, I'm close enough by that I can make their portraits for her.

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