Pooh Bear collected eggs this afternoon. Though my chickens have dozens of laying boxes, Buck finally gave in and built more in the shed where the hens laid sometimes anyway. It must have been a long while since eggs were gathered from the shed, because one fell to the ground from Pooh Bear's overfull hands. Together we all watched blood and a fading yet miraculous little life struggling under the broken shell. My son Tator lifted the egg to expose an almost fully developed chick which eventually stopped breathing. Pooh Bear became visibly upset, "Mommy pray for it!"
I spoke softly, "I have, Honey. It just wasn't ready to be born yet, and it's shell broke open too soon, so God just took it up to heaven to be with Him." Anyone want to argue my theology presented to a five year old?
"What do we do, Mommy?" they both inquired.
"I'll just bury this one. And maybe if we leave the other eggs alone in the shed, chicks will be born one day soon."
Tator exclaims, "I want to watch them be born, Mom. Can we take them inside the house and put them on the homeschool table to hatch?"
"They have to be kept very warm, so let's just leave them there for the momma hen to take care of."
We've never had roosters before Buck bought some unsexed chicks in August 2005, so this is our first potential spring for baby chicks. Some of those chicks may grow up to be roosters, and then we'll have to make a few serious farm decisions. Hens are fabulous, but too many roosters is a big problem for the compassionate farmers Buck and I are known to be.
An half an hour after the chick's death, Pooh Bear brought me a drawing she'd made. It was a picture of a recognizable little yellow chick and the word "Rome"scawled across the top. Last week, the boys became interested in studying Rome again and have conducted a self directed unit study; thus Pooh Bear learned to spell and write the only word she knows, "Rome". On the drawing, there was a little red around the chicken which I presumed correctly to be blood.
Her cheeks were wet with tears when she explained her art response, "Rome was a really horrible place, and what happened to that baby chick was horrible. I will never feel happy again."
I suppose that tender hearted fairy girl will be happy again after a piece of gum and a few storybooks on my lap. I must go try.
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