But it was Hank, not the PO, who called me at the office. I could tell right away by his voice that they had arrived and sure enough, there they were, cheeping in the background. I flew into a panic. Although I had in my head all the things that needed to be done, I had not prepared him to deal with the chicks!
Me: "Okay. I'm on my way. But they're dehydrated and they need to drink. Fill up the waterer. Then pick up each one, dip her beak in the water and watch for her to swallow."
Him: "Which one is the waterer?"
Me: "You know, the jar thing, the one without the holes in it."
Him: "Okay. Right."
Me: "But you have to make sure they drink. Then, find the gro-gel and get about a quarter of it moistened and give it to them on a little saucer."
Me: "Yes, it's..."
Well, you get the idea. As I was talking to him, I was madly closing windows on my computer, emailing myself documents so I could work at home, trying to think about what work made sense to take home... And totally bummed that I had missed the babies' delivery. And then I had to call him back to remind him to turn on the brooder light, which of course he had already done.
I flew home, trying to imagine the scene at the door when the mailman handed Hank the box of live chicks. The modern world.
|The Landing Module|
For a few minutes they all made the rounds of the waterer, the feeder, pecking at the pine shavings...and then one of the two darkest ones--the one on the right in this picture--just stopped moving and her head began to droop...and just like that, she was asleep, standing up, beak first in the pine litter.
For the next hour, I mostly hovered over their box (Hank had to bring me a chair, and then a glass of water), watching (and listening to) their every move, cooing at them, stroking their tiny heads, picking each one up in turn (not too much, I promise, but it's good for them to get used to being handled). They were busy. My "nesting" comment last night was apropos of this part, too, because having a box full of 2-day old chicks is like nothing so much as having a newborn human baby in the room. It's pretty much impossible to look at anything else. When Hank brought me that water, it felt exactly like the million times he did the same thing when I was pinned in the rocking chair nursing our fussy baby. So maybe these chicks are my maternal swan song, as it were.
The memories of Max's babyhood feel especially on point given the fortuitous coincidence that these chicks share a birth/hatchday with Max, who takes special delight in the coincidence.
Every year on his birthday, we retell parts of our own "nativity" story. This year, we landed on the moment that first night, after he was born, after Hank had made blueberry pancakes for us and all the midwives, after they had all gone home and left us three tucked into our bed together, Max between us, when neither of us could take our eyes off him to go to sleep even though we were both exhausted. I expect I'll sleep tonight, but I don't mind having a little extra wonder in my life. So far, so good.
Next post: what to call them???