This guy turned nine the day after Fool's.
Nine is a big number for my boy.
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.