What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Birthday Boy

This guy turned nine the day after Fool's.  

Nine is a big number for my boy.
Andrew has always been the sort of child to become so absorbed and obsessed with things that interest him, that for years it affects who he is, what he thinks about and how he lives.  His cow phase has lasted nine years.  But this year, he has added a few more obsessions.  Crystals and gemstones.  And chickens.

He put 9 eggs (for his nine years) into the incubator exactly 21 days (that's how long it takes, you know) before his birthday.  He planned to make his 9th birthday his best ever by getting 9 fluffy chicks for his birthday.

For 21 days, all I heard about was those chicks.  For 21 days, I often saw him sitting on the floor, encircled in every one of the books he could find that pertained to chickens and opened up to the chicken pages.  He religiously checked temperatures, turned eggs, added water for moisture and dreamed, talked, ate, breathed chickens.

I knew it would be a chicken birthday this year.

Believe it or not, this was going to become a chicken...though at the time, I really wondered.

Corynn crocheted him a hacky sack, her first in-the-round project- and it was fabulously done.  (And well received!)

He got the choice piece...and I realized how disturbing a chicken cake can be.

Well, we took care of children over the course of those 21 days of incubation and at some point, for who knows how long, all the activity of coming in and going out had pulled the plug- just a few days before they were ready to hatch.  No one knew how long it had been unplugged but that, with a short jaunt of the electricity going out earlier in the week, I thought for sure the eggs were done for.

Andrew was beyond devastated.  He curled into a corner and sobbed.  There was very little consolation I could give- I was just as disappointed for him, knowing of all the excitement those days had been filled with.

I told him that if the chicks didn't hatch on his birthday, we would get a few birthday chicks from the local farm store and he could start again on the incubator.

It wasn't the same.  But it was something.

As if the drama and devastation of the previous few days hadn't been enough~ the day after his birthday I told him he needed to get rid of the eggs before they began to smell since the poor little chicks were most assuredly dead.

So he did.  But being the scientist that he is, and having studied the age of the incubated chicks so thoroughly, he decided he wanted to see how old the chicks were when they had died and to see just what they looked like.  (boys.)

The first one was indeed dead.  The second, was alive but too small to survive.  All of the kids came running in BAWLING- saying they had MURDERED a chicken and that I had asked them to do it. "His heart is still beating!  What can we do? What can we DO?!?" they sobbed.  They were inconsolable.


That was a bad moment.  A totally unexpected, totally crazy, totally depressing moment for us all.

The chick looked to be a few days shy of being old enough to break out of the egg- I don't know why it took more than 21 days.  ?!?!?!

Andrew begged to put the remaining eggs back in the incubator for just another week.

I can't believe there are any still alive- but I couldn't believe there would have been any alive that day either.  So, we wait.

He got a few birthday chicks but he is still holding out hope for his chicks.

I fear I will have one more day of devastation and disappointment to help my boy overcome.

 In the meantime, I am so done with the emotionally draining obsession with chickens this nine year old boy has.  I love and admire so many things about Andrew...not the least of which is his ability to so deeply and intensely feel and live.  

I do hope, however, that his next obsession with be with something...non-living.


Leanne@Farmingfolks said...

Happy Birthday to Andrew, his Birthday is the same as our Gabe who just turned 11. Oh boy, there are some hard life lessons to be learned on the farm aren't there? .. and what a beautiful job on the cake, amazing!

Theresa F said...

I hope you will let us know if any of the chicks survive. My son is 13 and gets obsessed with things easily as well. It can actually be completely exhausting listening to him, as he usually obsesses about something that we have no control over(i.e., Ebola). I try to remember that this is how he learns about things, whether it annoys me or not :).

I love the chicken cake. You are a woman of many talents.

Mary said...

Experiencing animal loss with the kids is so heart breaking, and since we are powerless, I think it scares them more.

I am so jealous of your icing skills! I tried a lamb cake, and failed. These feathers are so good.
Your kids are so blessed by their experiences!

ulli said...

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

Bless his sweet heart. He connects deeply with what he relates to. I hope some of the chicks survive. I am glad he has some birthday chicks to look after--and I love the dark one!

Time marches on... hearts are encouraged, hearts are broken, lessons are learned, hearts are healed. Your children are blessed.

rebecca said...

I've heard too cold is better than too hot for incubation. Like the chicks can go into some sort of stasis or suspended animation and pick up where they left off when temps rise again. But my information came from instagram, LOL. Curious to hear what happens.

Renata said...

Happy Birthday to your boy. I didn't realise he was so close in age to my twins. They are nine this month too.
What a shame about the chicks. We usually leave ours about 24 days and then dump the eggs. The children always examine to see what was inside.
I love your chicken cake ( even if the picture of it headless did make me laugh)! You did an amazing job. Can I order two for later in the month ??!!??
Have a lovely day

beth said...

my favorite part of this wonderful (though at times sad, and frankly exhausting - oh, you dear momma, helping your children navigate this wily chicken experience! - short-term excruciating, long-term super-valuable) post are your photo captions. those photobombers? darling.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for all the well wishes. Andrew hoped that some would wish him well on his birthday like you've all been so kind to do in the past. He even asked that I write a birthday post so that maybe there would be messages to him!


Psalms w guitar said...

I'm glad we got to see Andrew's birds! His enthusiasm for that is contagious. We forgot his birthday cards last week, hopefully this week.

Terri Cheney said...

Please tell Andrew a belated Happy Birthday from me. I only read blogs on Friday evening usually, so let him know that too.

Laughed at the headless chicken. Word of advice, rabbit shaped cakes that are cherry pink inside...sort of macabre as well, especially if they have blue M&M eyes that dry and crack. Just sayin', lol.

Abigail said...

Dear Rebecca,
LOVE that cake! It's wonderful.

Dear Andrew,
First of all, I am nearly always late with my comments. We thought about you on your birthday, and the girls hoped you had a good day. (If they'd known about the chicken cake, they would have known it was a good day.)

You are great! Happy ninth birthday! We hope God gives you a wonderful year, chock full of chicks and all manner of livestock. (Hey, how about pigs again?!)

p.s. Millie is jealous of your chicks. Our old hens are in need of some young ones to balance out their crankiness. Your fluffy ones are extremely cute, and they don't look a bit cranky.