People, Now THIS Is How To Catch A Chicken....

My kids will tell you.

When trying to catch a chicken, you should: 

- Approach them one at a time

- Move slowly but steadily

- Once you catch hold, be prepared to struggle awkwardly

- Try to smile anyway. You'll laugh at this moment when you're older 

How do my children know this?

Because two nights ago, my 7 year old - Catherine, my 5 year old - Zachery, 2 neighbors and I hand-carried 350+ chickens into their night housing.

Normally, the night lock-up routine is simple. At dusk, the chickens instinctively seek protection, bedding down in their shelters. We just close the doors behind them.

Except that day, we moved the chicken shelters from a woodland pasture to the open pasture next door.

The catch? This batch of chickens had only ever ranged in the woods. and all but a handful were afraid to leave tree cover. Instead of bedding down in their houses, they huddled next to tree trunks. 

At 7:30 - when I went to lock them up, I found 350+ chickens. In exactly the wrong place.

So just when I would normally be putting the kids to bed, I told Catherine and Zachery that instead, I needed their help. 

Out went Team Crawford. 

We tried herding chickens toward the houses. Didn't work. Neither did tempting them with food. 

Seeing no other option, we started picking up chickens, and carrying them to their houses. 

A word on chickens - they don't like to be carried. They scratch, squalk and squirm a LOT. Even for an adult, they are hard to hold. 

But here were my 2 babies, making it happen.

Here was Zachery. Picking up each bird and narrating the experience with a concise observations like, "Well this chicken isn't well behaved." Or, "This guy is really crazy Mommy!" 

And Catherine - with her usual power-house sensibility - just kept forging ahead. She worked quietly, fast and hard.

Young as they are, they knew we were in a jam. They knew that without night shelter, chickens fall prey to coyotes, bears and who knows what else. 

At different points, both of them said, "Mommy, if we weren't here, what would you do?" And they were right - what would I have done?

By 10 PM we still weren't done. Zachery was trying to work but literally staggering. Catherine was just really quiet and limp. I walked them to the house so they could go to bed. 

A half hour later, with all the chickens packed away, I checked on my babies They were sleeping like angels. 

As a mother, I have constant concerns about what I'm "not getting right." It's that ever-growing, mental list entitled, "The Ways In Which I Will Undoubtedly Fail My Children."

Here are some Inspiring highlights from this list: 

"I always lose my temper over crazy crap that just doesn't matter." 

"I am never present and routinely miss those tender, childhood moments that truly do matter." 

And my own personal favorite:

"I'm not teaching my children how to work hard." 

 

I know why I fear this. Because the ability to work hard has saved me. Over and over.

To be clear, I'm not naturally a hard-worker. I became this way because my mother gave me no choice.

At 3 years old, she had me shucking bushels of peas. And somehow made it bearable. 

Now, as a Mom, I'm learning how challenging it is to teach children to work hard. And I truly fear I'll get it wrong and will fail to give my children what my mother gave me.

But on Tuesday, while they were chasing chickens, it was as if my children were saying, "Mommy, we are learning. Despite your fears, we are learning." 

So now I wonder. Maybe working through our fears is kinda like catching chickens. 

- Approach them one at a time

- Move slowly but steadily

- Once you catch hold, be prepared to struggle awkwardly

- Try to smile anyway. You'll laugh at this moment when you're older. 

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