Baby Chicks in Church
After the eggs hatch, the hen fiercely guards the chicks...she keeps them warm and she leads them to food and water, but rarely feeds them directly. She continues to care for them until they are several weeks old, when she will gradually lose interest and eventually start to lay again.
It began Saturday night. Aidan, goofing around while climbing out of the bathtub, slipped and fell back into the tub, slicing some skin off a couple of toes. He cried out, in fear mostly, but when I picked him up and he saw the pin-sized drop of blood, you'd have thought he'd been shot. Since it had been a long day of cleaning and prepping for a dinner party at our house and the kids were a bit overtired and wound up, I played it up, carrying Aidan like a wounded soldier across the battlefield, all the way to our kitchen where we proceeded to take great care dressing the wound. He was laying on our counter, wrapped in a towel, and I was bandaging the toes when Madeline peered over me. Her huge eyes widened and she shouted dramatically:
"There's BLOOD! There's BLOOD AIDAN! BLOOD!" (And I wouldn't have been surprised had she pulled out a paper fan and started fanning herself before gracefully collapsing on the floor under her full petticoat and tightly fitted bodice.)
A now squirming Aidan started to wail, "It hurts, it hurts! I need ice!" and well, it was all down hill from there.
After settling Aidan and Madeline down for the night, way past their bedtime, Liam made me work for my right to sleep and right as he finally settled into his crib (around midnight) I hear Lily crying in her room. I think maybe I can just "lose interest" and ignore it but of course she persisted to call out and um, I'm not a hen.
I opened her door, peeking in to see if she was really awake, and there I find a naked toddler, half-mast eyes leaking a stream of tears surrounded by a dozen stuffed animals swimming in a lake of, well, you can figure that out. It seems that in her protest at bedtime, she decided she would show us who was boss and strip herself down to nothing. Unfortunately, that backfired because we never came back in...then again, I did have to come in and rescue her from drowning. After doing what good moms do and making it all right, I returned to a crying Liam in my own room...and thus went my night.
So, after ephemeral sleep, a long early morning run and a quick "children's choice" breakfast of cereal, cheesy hamburger meat, hot dog buns and strawberries, (hmmm, it doesn't read any better than it was) the kids and I headed for early church, or should I say Madeline Stand-Up Take 2. (I probably should've stopped with breakfast...)
What can I say, the kids ran ahead of me and right into the unusually quiet service in which the substitute preacher was saying an unusually long prayer and since my kids are young, oblivious, and acting as if, instead of breakfast (if you can call it that) I had shot them up with an overdose of those sugary Robin Eggs laced with speed, they ran right TO THE FRONT of the church, sat down in the FRONT ROW and started frantically fighting over who got to draw on what envelope. And as if that weren't enough, while I was trying to catch up with them, Liam in the snuggly, decided to put in his two cents, and according to him, well, it was time to eat again, duh! Then the prayer is over but my kids aren't. And all I can think is 'twas grace that brought you safe thus far and it is by grace the two of you will make it home!
I finally get it under control (myself, not the kids) and the minister calls for the children to "please come up for Children's Time." (You may regret this, I think, keeping my eyes down so as not to have to look at anyone.) Sure enough, after tripping each other and dragging at each other to make it the few feet into the spotlight, they take their place in back of all the other kids because somehow, even though we were a couple strides away, Curly and Moe were the very last ones up front. And all the time I am reminding myself to apologize to my mother for anything and everything I may have done in church to embarrass her because, oh...now I get it.
The preacher starts talking to the kids and although Aidan has managed to settle down and pay attention (phew, relief), Madeline starts rolling off the step like Humpty Dumpty with her eyes turning round in her head and shouting, "Whoaaaa" and then, because someone mistakenly found it funny the first time, she does it AGAIN! And right before I have the chance to call out "Will that girl's parents please get control of her!" a miracle occurs and she stops....and listens. Hallelujah! There IS a God!
But I was worn and weary and at the start of the next hymn, I picked my stuff up, and took Liam to feed him in the bathroom where I could listen to the service in peace and convince myself to actually claim the kids at their class afterwards.
Precious Lord, take my hand, because unlike chickens, I will hopefully be blessed with 18 years or so to brood my chicks...putting me far along the road to earning some wings...I hope.