For most of us, this feels like familiar fun, but since we skipped broiler chickens last year and my youngest IS only two (almost 3!) she was SUPER excited!

This morning, I asked her if she wanted to see the baby chick home we made for our chicks.  She came out and admired the former duck pond (kiddie pool which got a slit in it over winter and has now been relegated to baby chick draft shield status) with a layer of hay covered with a hand-me-down Dora sheet that I had recently used to protect strawberries from freezing.  Kiddie pool + Dora sheet makes it look like we are SUPER HAPPY about chicks.  Usually we’re a little less exciting.  Sonata was enamored with the whole set up, but had just one question, “Where are the baby chicks?”

I explained that they were not available for pick-up until after noon and she immediately got ready to go and continued to ask about leaving every 15 minutes until noon.  This prompted many “baby chick” discussions with the older sister. 

When one of these discussions went to the “when they can fly” realm, I stepped in lest Lithany grow a bit too attached.

“These chicks aren’t the ones that learn to fly and lay eggs, girls.  These chickens are the ones that are big so we can eat them.  They are too heavy to fly.”

This was confusing to my ‘new to this’ daughter and with very real dissapointment she interjected,

“I thought we were getting REAL chickens that go ‘baack, baack'”  Obviously, I had somehow communicated that we were skipping the live part and going straight for the packaged meat. 

I assured her that we were, indeed, getting live chickens so that we can eat them after they grow up.  She was fine with all this until I told her that the chicks we pick up today would go “peep, peep”.  We then had an extended discussion as to whether chickens peep or baack.  Oh dear.

Finally, it was time to go.  I explained that we were going to make sandwiches and go pick up our chicks and bring them home.  Sonata leans forward, curls swinging and jumps a little, “And then EAT them!” She says excitedly.  Jumping the gun a bit, girl!

She falls asleep en route for about a 1/2 hour.  We get our big bucket of… big BOX of chicken, set it in the seat next to her, allow the girls a peek at our new, yellow puff balls and take off.  As we’re pulling out I hear, {sniffle} “I wanted to HOLD one!”

I explain that we absolutely cannot hold chicks in the car (and have visions of 100 baby chicks running amuck and my trying not to squish any under the brake pedal while pulling over to replace them in the box.  This is why your mother won’t let you do things, her imagination is too vivid.)

She is contented with the idea that when we get home she can help put the chicks in their new home, thus HOLDING them for a time.  Yeah. 

For an hour and a half or so we travel for home without hearing any other concern about the chicks or lack of holding.  She doesn’t nod off again, but comes close.

As I’m just beginning to slant the wheel to make the turn into our driveway, she bursts out, “NOW I can hold a baby chick!”

This child’s memory retention and focus is ‘to-die-for’. 

She is disappointed briefly as I explain that we must first remove her from her car seat and the box of chicks to the chicken house. 

Once there, she watches as I dip the first chick’s beak in the water so that it can figure out where it’s ‘drink’ is and sees that it then takes a few drinks expertly before searching for food it can peck.  (These chickens have only one mode and it’s “eat food”.)  She then picks up a chick, repeats my procedure PERFECTLY (I confess I held my breath and prepared to rescue a half-drowned chick) with her next one.  Which is helpful since Asa and Lithany are only interested in transport of chick from box to pool/brooder/home and not so much in demonstrating to them the necessities of life.  Fortunately, it seems the chicks learn quickly from one another, so as long as a good number of them understand eating and drinking, the others will follow suit eventually.

We get all the chicks ‘tucked in’.  Check the temperature (Asa’s favorite part) and leave for the house.  Where I then spent every 15 minutes explaining that the baby chicks had already taken plenty of time from my normal day and I wasn’t going to go hold them again right now.  (She, of course, got to do this during the times I needed to check the temp and what-not anyway, so she was hardly deprived of her ‘chick interaction’.) 

Their last visit out to ‘show dad’, Lithany and Sonata stayed behind.  This worried me a little, because LAST time we had chicks, I had to check after Lithany was out there unattended to make sure that 1) there weren’t any chickens placed in the feed bag so they could eat and forgotten there, put in a dog kennel and forgotten there, put inside various recepticles to ‘sleep’ or otherwise enjoy some such thing she felt they needed.  It was intense.  This time, I get out there to see Lithany guiding her sister in the correct art of holding/picking up/putting down a chick, how to snuggle it without squishing and making sure you don’t hold one too long.  It’s good to be the responsible one when you’re 6! 

Especially if it means that you can live in the chicken house with your 2 year old sister to your heart’s content, which will likely be ‘until they are too heavy for Lithany to hold’. 

And it’s good for mom because every 15 minutes is a little too often to hear “Can we go hold the baby chicks?”

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