This morning I rose at 7:00 earlier than my family to do animal chores. It's lovely to be the first to step in the dew alone and enter the quiet refrain nature creates, if just for a few minutes. The sun brightly shone, but it wasn't sweltering quite yet. I peeked into the goat shed not expecting to find anything, because the goats usually leave to graze just after sunrise. However, I found Momma S'more lying on the ground, and right next to her standing was a wet,huge,strong, black baby buck. S'more called to me and him and stood to greet me. I saw that she was in process of delivering the placenta which means she'd just delivered the kid a little before. I stroked the moist fur of the blessed hot-off-the-press creature. I talked softly to S'more, "What a good mommy you are!" When I reached to pet S'more, she started madly licking my hand, and then she turned to tend her baby. This excellent caprine parenting was a stark contrast to Momma Sissy who recently needed days to be convinced that her offspring actually belonged to her.
So, what a marvelous morning surprise. Compared to Sissy's birth, we'd just hit the easy button.
I ran inside to announce the birth and grab the floss to tie off the cord. When the children saw the baby kid's size, they decided instantly to name him Chuck Norris. We put the big ole' boy next to his mother's udder which he licked. I cleaned up the birthing mess which was really easy. Then we all showered and went to church. Once we got home I put Chuck to his mother's udder again with no success, so I procured reinforcements. Buck came out to work his goat magic. First, he squirted the momma's milk into his mouth, but Chuck flat out refused to latch on. I blocked S'more, who was growing restless, while Buck offered his finger to Chuck to try out his sucking reflex. As you might guess, that ginormous kid could suck like a tornado whipping a house off it's foundation. It took some doing, but Buck finally coaxed the loudly protesting newborn to suck on his mother's teet instead of his finger. Chuck's eyes immediately flew wide open; he liked what he tasted. Apparently, S'more has some gourmet colostrum.
When I left the goat shed, momma was giving her son another sloppy tongue bath.
“Angry, fearful reactions to people’s mistakes reveal that somewhere in our minds still lurks that fundamental belief of the Old Covenant, not only that people can be controlled but that they need to be controlled, and they need to be controlled through punishment. They need to experience the pain of our anger so that they won’t make mistakes that cause us to feel out of control.
…Fear and intimidation cannot help but rule the household of those who believe they can and must control each other when they make mistakes, and use anger and violence to do it.” (D. Silk, pg. 81, Loving our Kids on Purpose"
I hijacked this quote from Molly's blog to make sure my friends with RAD kids got a chance to mull over these incredible words.
I long to get past my personal romance with violence and remain always with the higher call to parenting toward internal discipline. In Molly's post, she talks about the disrespect of authoritarian parenting which I know like the back of my hand. Ask my children and husband how carefully I measure my words in a stressful situation, and they'll tell you I get dismissive, short, snippy. I wish I could step out of that like a snake leaving it's skin. Instead I've learned apology like an unfaithful lover. At times, I get stuck in the role of fearful parent, wondering if my particular spawn will be next plague on humanity. Where in the world does that awful thought come from? The fearful parent in me will jump to irrational conclusions in a heartbeat and turn into a tyrant who must squash the wayward behavior and trample the spirit in the process. Yet I know so much better than that. And thankfully, I'm doing much better as I see the fine people my children are becoming. I actually enjoy their company, and I know others enjoy them as people as well. My mother complimented my fifteen year old son the other day for being able to hold an engaged and interested conversation with her. She tells me she hasn't met many teenagers capable of relational discourse. I think she partial 'cause she loves him so, but even so, I love her encouragement.
I know I'm in for some upcoming stress with more does to kid in the midst of summer swim team season. I'm asking myself to examine my game during the crisis of the moment, casting off pain and anger, and make a bee line toward peace.
At 2:15 p.m. the children ran in from the goat field to report Sissy (can you believe it wasn't Ginger?) had a curious string of mucous hanging from her bottom. Yep, she was having contractions, so we brought her in. She contracted so long that I took her back to the field from the birthing stall to see if that would relax her more after several hours without much progress. At 8:40 p.m. I checked and she had blood in her mucous and things were happening. By 9:30, I could see one hoof and a nose emerging which was bad news. After many Sissy made many strains, I asked Peace to consider going in after the other hoof. While he was getting ready by reading the book, I worked up the nerve to do it myself. Peace coached me, "On the next contraction, push the baby back in. Follow the body back and cup the hoof and gently pull it forward." We waited for the right moment and I shoved. The next thing I knew, the other hoof popped out. Whatever I did, worked. Sissy kidded and kidded again. Two bucks- one bigger and much stronger, the other frail. Not sure he's going to make it. I suctioned them out with the bulb syringe and wiped them clean.
Sissy refuses to acknowledge the babies, and we had to force her to nurse them by holding her. She kicked even then. Rough road ahead.
It's like watching the proverbial pot boil, and I have yet to see a bubble. Ginger the goat has not kidded even though her udder has been full for four days. I'm checking on her every few hours, and she's simply hanging out, chomping her hay, and keeping that unimpressed "Oh, it's you again" look in her eyes.
However, this morning when I stopped by the goat field, something was different. Ginger started being contrary- like the time we thought she had rabies but really she was just angry that Peace was milking her instead of Buck. That naughty-goat-not-rabies experience only cost $100 for a two night stay in cushy stall at UT Vet Hospital. Today when I walked in the gate, Ginger assaulted me. I thought she was trying to bite me, so I pushed her away as hard as I could. Nice. Pushing a pregnant goat and shouting, "Hey, what DO you think you are doing?" Then I realized, changes in behavior mark progression in the birth process. At first, I tried to stay a few feet away, but she couldn't get close enough to me. She pressed her moist nostril to my arm and sniffed, and sniffed, and sniffed. Just when I thought she was going to try and bite me (goats without rabies do NOT bite, but I've already told you she's contrary), she licked me wildly. Oh yeah, I remembered, Fiasco Farms website warned goats in labor might try to lick. From the website, I had in my mind's eye, a sweet gentle tongue bath, but Ginger's technique bordered on violent.
Buck and I tried to settle her in the kidding stall we set up in the garage, but it stressed her out too much. She's back in the nasty ole goat shed, pawing the ground and taking turns standing and laying back down. It's getting closer.
I'm carrying around embroidery thread in my pocket to tie off umbilical cords. Kid already, Ginger!
I have butterflies thumping around in my stomach like shoes in a dryer. Buck let me know yesterday that Ginger's bag is filling with milk which means kidding is just around the corner. This explains why I put up the photo of a goat's bum for you to see. Notice how the she's bulging back there? I'm nervous, because I've only kidded once about five years ago,and it went smoothly as a silk kimono. Let me tell you folks, there absolutely nothing cuter than a baby goat or two or three. There's nothing more miraculous than birth, and I'm in awe that I may have the chance to witness something of heaven touching earth very soon.
Buck and I snapped a kidding stall together quickly in a our garage this morning. Gloves, iodine, kid puller, lubricant, antibiotic bolus, paper towels, bath towels, soft music, water, hay, baby snot sucking syringe, feed, raisins, molasses instructions guide (Barnyard in your Backyard), overalls- we got the works.
It's just like a human birth. Ginger hasn't dropped her mucous plug yet, and she's not stargazing or getting up and laying down to get comfortable, so I don't need to bring her in just yet.
The very goofy buck in the photo (the one with horns in the pic) has been on loan since January. He musta got it on at some point with the ladies. Insert Barry White music here. I wasn't sure he had it in him, since he's kinda small and not so assertive. But obviously he's got what it takes to be a baby daddy.
Wish us luck! And say some prayers for easy deliveries if you are the praying kind. A couple of our does have never kidded before.
I just ordered one of these little beauties for the hostess of my Super Secret Summer Sewing Sircle.
I'd never seen one of them, because pie vents must be an English invention. Peace says I've watched enough English films for me to have run across one of these fru-fru kitchen gadgets. Somehow I've missed all the Jane Austin's pie baking scenes. This morning I found a photo of the blackbird pie vent in my very first Mary Jane's Farm magazine. The magazine is a treat for me in itself with all it's quaint layouts and informative articles.
Apparently the blackbird whistles with steam which has me positively smitten.
I dreamed last night that I was anxious. I woke up with my brain spinning and my heart racing. That's no way to start a day. I'm considering that perhaps my dream let me know that I have some work to do on being kind to myself- just when I thought I had that part down. Honestly, it's something of a crisis of faith. A few weeks ago, I spent some time with people who inspire me,and I missed old working life, and I haven't held a weekly job for fifteen years now. I tell myself that parenting four children should be enough to make me feel like I'm accomplishing something important, but I find myself questioning just how well I'm doing even raising my sons and daughter. I do need to work on self criticism, eh?
When I ponder the words, "Be anxious for nothing", I realize I have a long way to go. "Nothing" is a big challenge when even my dreams are full of anxiety. This morning I'm concentrating on how worry never adds a moment to my life. In fact, worry just distracts from the beauty at hand- the lush green pastures surrounding me, the bright morning sun burning off the dew, the lovely zinnias popping up through the weeds in my gardens, the smile on my daughter's face beckoning me to have girly fun, the pregnant does baaing as they approach kidding time, the surly roosters chasing about the hens and one another.
So, how do I meet my need of being among passionate adults working for a cause when I've chosen a retreated lifestyle? I wish I knew.
So, what form will Loudon's fountain take now that the old one has been torn out? It's my small town's pride and joy.
Buck and I are thinking water sculptures. Buck says he expects Obama with water flowing from his hands. My money's on Mayor Inky Swiney, hands folded behind him, arched back, spewing water from his mouth. Any other guesses?
I've been waiting for three weeks for the other shoe to drop with Tater. I know it will, and I thought it would be today.
Unbeknownst to me, Peace began his morning by chewing out his brothers for eating the last of the cereal he wanted. Then he cleaned their clocks about doing their animal chores improperly. Wise One and Tater joined forces against Peace's tyranny by telling me Peace had fed the goats in dirty buckets. Peace insisted the bins were clean. Someone was lyin', and I was irritated. Instead of eating breakfast before carting the clan off to swim team, I needed to check the sanitation of goat bowls which turned out to be clean after all.
As a result, I prepared for the big battle by asking Tater to stay home from swim practice with Dad and think the morning through. I asked, "Do you think you are going to need to pitch a fit about staying home? Do you think you'll need to break something, because you feel angry? Tell me, besides cleaning your room, what you will do till I come home?"
Tater reply stunned me, "I'll be fine. No big deal. It's just one swim practice. I'm going to read the book I started after I get done with my room."
I gave a sigh of relief as I climbed out of my armor and took the others to practice. Tater's room was better by the time I got home.
In a way it is humorous. In other ways it's sad. I took my son with attachment issues, Tater to the doc for a well person visit. When the doctor would ask a question, Tater's answers were off sometimes. For example:
Doc: Do you drink milk everyday? Tater: Yes! Me: Ummmm. Tell the doctor the last time you drank milk, cause I haven't seen it. Tater: I drink it everyday. I had some the day before our campout. Me: That was five days ago, so do you really drink milk everyday? Tater: Almost. I drink it when it's chocolate. Me: When do we ever buy chocolate milk? Tater: Dad buys it sometimes, but never you. Me: I can't remember if it was Christmas when Dad bought chocolate milk once. And Doc, just so you know, when this guy was a baby, he was allergic to milk, so he never developed a taste for it. He tells me he doesn't like milk. Doc: Well, he needs calcium and vitamin D from some source. How about orange just enriched with vitamin D? Tater: I drink that all the time.
At which point I shut my mouth tightly and started my own inner dialogue to get back to what actually happens on planet earth, "We certainly don't buy orange juice all the time either, but this is gonna come across as weird if I keep up this nutty banter in front of the doctor. The physician just wants to be sure he's getting his vitamins in somewhere, and he eats enough good food for that to happen."
Later there was this question-
Doc: What's this scar on your belly? Tater: It's a bruise from where a kid and I were playing rough at Scouts the other day. Me: Honey, it's from that nasty infection you got this last year. Tater: No, it isn't. I got it from Cade when...
Man, I do not understand why the simple truth doesn't work for my son. It's that crazy lying symptom, and I pray someday he'll find his way out of it.
I bulldozed my daughter's wreck of a room today for eleven hours. The result? One packed bag of trash. Two generous bags of toys. I love that she actually easily gives up toys on her own, because she knows she's moved on from them. Three stuffed bags of size six girl's winter clothing. Need 'em? My whole body aches from all the up and down. Heck, I even swept the ceiling. If you are Pooh Bear's friend, I'm giving fair warning, better come over quick, before she starts her next horrific mess, I mean, craft project. It won't last.
Pooh Bear is prancing and dancing about. She keeps kissing and thanking me. Apparently, it's been a long time since we've cleaned in there. Perhaps it was purged last the middle ages?
And just so you know, the carefully placed butterfly rug in the middle of the room hides the blue, yellow, and green permanent marker stains on the carpet. Not worry, there's all kinds of decoy spots here and there I tried unsuccessfully to scrub up to distract from the oddly placed winged rug.
Buck fueled my efforts with eggless flourless peanut butter cookies, which are yummy by the way.
Buck's job today involved grooming our poor unattended Great Pyr, Ripley. And as always, there is enough fur to make another dog if anyone would so desire.
Our neighbor asked if he could Bobcat our very long gravel driveway to the tune of sixty-five big bucks an hour. We jumped on it, because it's been a groovy road in all the wrong ways since all the spring rains.
Very productive day at the Vyne home. What have you done today?
Okay, with all this allergy stuff happnin' to my body I've had a major blessing from my friend, Lynk. She met with me for a few hours yesterday encouraging me from despair to the new journey I'm embarked upon with food. She positively loves to cook and explore new foods. I don't, but her inspiration moved me forward. She has her own crazy list of food allergies and is very creative about substitutions. She taught me how to look at a recipe with new eyes as she introduced me to agave, coconut milk, xantham, quinoa, and agar. Stuff I may have heard about but had no use for in the past. Looks like these will become my new buds now. The normal egg replacers include soy and simply won't work for me. And let me tell you, sisters and brothers, everything on earth that's pre-made has corn in some form hidden within. I'll be cooking from scratch and watching every ingredient like a father watches his daughter's first boyfriend.
Lynk also says she wants me to come over and we'll develop a recipe together, maybe not for bread, but for a cracker of some sort. It'll be so lovely to have something crunchy on queue. I miss bread like a sports nut's wife misses her husband during football season- always present, but just out of reach. Lynk will also take me shopping in a health food grocery store to look for further options.
So, it's overwhelming and humbling to know a person who'll literally walk beside me on my unchartered path. Applause to Lynk- another new hero of mine.
p.s. Buck is making me flourless peanut butter cookies substituting homemade applesauce for eggs. Hope it works. I haven't had a cookie for months!
Our cat, Patches, is very annoyed. Two and a half weeks ago, he had his nasty blind eye removed due to circumstances too gross for blog readers to endure. Anyhow, the vet sewed the fur shut from temple to cheek and left him looking very much like an ugly cat pirate.
The stitches popped open in the middle, and Patches had be to re-sewn and kept overnight. Again. And then a third time. He's angry due to the Elizabethan collar he must parade around wearing. Humiliated in fact. He refuses eye contact and sulks. A friend mentioned that animals consider it "the cone of shame".
In the day home between stitches he gained an entire pound. Methinks he refuses to eat or drink at the mean ole' vet's office.
Patches is old as dirt but tough as nails. My prayer is that he'll make it through all this healing and dies a happy sudden death laying in his favorite spot- in the warm summer sun on the front sidewalk.
Hold on, folks. It's always a wild ride 'round here. I remember reading a post from Living with RAD about not scheduling anything for the week after school for Brenda's radlets, because the transition is difficult. I thought to myself, "Well, good. She knows and follows her children's needs." Here's what I should have thought, "Hmmmm. This wise woman has been parenting RAD kids for years. She knows what's around the corner, and I should take note and learn from her. Hell is gonna break loose here too the day school is over."
But I didn't.
I was caught unawares. Mostly, because my radish hasn't been to school in six years. He came home the Friday after school concluded, and wigged out for three days straight. He balked at any every day pleasantry and piled on insult to injury with every family member. He immediately went from thirteen to three when "the school's out" bell rang. At one point, he produced a screaming fit and kicked a hole in the dry wall in his room, because we simply asked him to go to bed.
And I, being naive, had made a zillion fun plans for the next day and the next week. Much to everyone's disappointment including my own, I started canceling plans (yet again) for Tater and myself knowing we'd taken ten giant steps backward for no apparent reason. Who wants to hang around a five foot four angry toddler?
Somewhere around Sunday, when the rest of my family returned from fun weekend plans sans Tater and I, the lights flew on inside my head about Brenda's post, and the puzzle pieces fell into place. I understood Tater's anger came from having to be away from his school friends for the long stretch of summer, and that he doesn't have the ability to compute the opportunities of swim team, trips to visit with old friends and family, football practice, sleeping in, biking, hiking, ice cream outings, and the like for the lazy days of summer. To Buck I explained all this and the fact that Tater probably wouldn't be ready for our big trip to out-of-town family get togethers in two days time. Buck literally cried and wished for a family "who could just do fun things together." At that point, there was not fun to be had with Tater- just arguments, disregard and disdain for parents and siblings alike. I couldn't imagine subjecting any of us to five hours trapped in a van with the raging bull, and much to Buck's chagrin, we constructed a new plan for Tater and I to stay home from the graduation gala and birthday parties altogether, and for Buck to take the others for fewer days. Buck became somber while I tried to stay positive for Buck's sake. Tater instantly sniffed the shift of events in the air and suddenly began to ask questions about packing. When we replied, "We'll let you know if and when we need you to do that." He retorted, "I'd hate to have Mom miss going on our trip because of me."
It's so true that words don't work with RAD, and these children can and do make connections themselves if we'll let them.
Then his behavior turned around on a dime. He went from complaining and demanding his every whim to "Can I help you do anything, Mom? What do you need Dad?" and "Though I'm missing my friends from school, I don't need to take it out on you guys" for the next the next three days. When we hit a bump on the day before our trip, I asked, "Do you think having your way is worth missing summer activities?", and he skipped merrily back to the yellow brick road of the Big Six. In fact, he's miraculously managed the Road to Oz for a week now on our trip and back home.
Man, I wish I had this all figured out. My crystal ball reads a cloudy future. It could go any way. However, when Brenda posts what to expect in the future, I'll be more ready to take it to heart.