# 57 Even though they are fabsolute (absolutely fabulous) about the chicken project, Mimi and Pop don’t know everything. For instance, they didn’t get the Taylor Swift cardigan ad.
Before Pop put the TV away, we sometimes ate breakfast with “Morning Joe” (and Mika) on the MSNBC channel. There was this Taylor Swift ad. It’s looking kind of chilly out today. What am I gonna wear? Taylor wonders. Then she slides open huge, white barn doors to reveal a slew of sweaters—all exactly the same: white cardigans complete with trios silver stars sewn onto the elbows. I think I’ll go with (lots of deliberation) a cardigan, she decides. I knew that the white cardigan is the nub of the joke because “Cardigan” is the lead single of her album Folklore. But Every Single Time the ad was on, Pop and Mimi would say I don’t get it; why does the closet contain only white cardigans? What is it with this girl and all those sweaters? Finally I took them in hand, showed them videos of Taylor Swift singing “Cardigan” and explained that it was a joke and, likewise Capitol One is the only choice for a bank, this all being in service of the sponsor, Capitol One.
We had a few laughs looking at YouTubes of another Taylor Swift ad. It promoted her Lover album. She played a waitress at a diner as “Me” played on the jukebox. It was like they were touring Mars; I had to explain so much.
But it’s only the very contemporary and superficial items they are clueless about. They have a deep well of knowledge for all the rest.
An example? The chicken project. Not that they knew about chickens, but they knew chickens were Just What We Needed.
I’ll give an update on the dear creatures: They arrived in the mail, something that’s been happening since 1918! Chicks are mailed the morning they hatch and can survive up to 3 days without food or water because immediately after they hatch they ingest the nutritious egg yolk! When they arrived at our little post office by ground transportation, we got a call to come pick them up. Our Postmistress, Mrs Grim—wife of Mr. Grim my teacher—was being serenaded. We opened the box and stood spellbound.
Sam counted One, two, three, four, five, six…seven. One two three four five six SEVEN! We had only ordered six chicks.
Then Pop informs us, Er, they send one extra.
Even I don’t get it at first. One extra, like a bonus, thanks for being our customer sort of thing? I’m a little puzzled that Pop is so tentative but all of a sudden I get it. Oh, in case one DIES.
And then we go pin drop quiet thinking of replacement Mom and Dads.
Our school should substitute raising chicks for that class they have in the upper grades where the kids have to carry a RealCareBaby Simulator to teach them what it’s like to be a parent. (Like it’s so hard to know that babies are a 24/7 deal, people? Who doesn’t know this?) It’s a learning aid to teach early childhood, parenting, infant health lessons, and sex education. (It used to be call Baby Think It Over or BTIO, for obvious reasons?) It’s like a smart phone, only it’s a smart baby that uses wireless programming to track and report on the caregiver’s behaviors, like care events, mishandling actions, time in a car seat, clothing changes, etc. Oliver is helping with our chickens and he and I are going to put a PowerPoint together on this idea and present it to the school board. He also just read this over my shoulder and says I am clueless if I think EVERYONE thinks about bringing up the baby when they engage in baby-making behavior. He’s such a know it all. (He’s also SUPPOSED to be picking Sir Issac’s hoofs; I already curried the burrs and thistle.)
In my opinion, chickens and children are the same, with a few obvious differences of course. Both never get over a bad start. A good chicken start includes: a brooder, heat lamp, bedding, lights, feeders, and waterers. In the beginning they stay in the brooder until they’re big enough for the coop—about 6 weeks, when they’ll have most of their “juvenile” feathers. The timing works since we’re having to redo parts of the chicken run; Oliver and I discovered a few more potential predator access points. The brooder is Sam and Clyde’s old crib—they slept head to toe in the same crib until they went to “big boy” beds. Also, like with human babies, we have to pay attention: Are they too quiet, panting, wings extended? (Too hot) Are they evenly distributed in the brooder? (Just right) Are they crowding under the heat source and doing a distress calling? (Too cool) Are they gathering in just one place? (Check for drafts) We had to teach them to eat. We placed feed on squares of paper and then, once they got the idea of eating feed, we switched to feeders. And fugetaboutit if you think you can economize and use bowls instead of feeders. Chicks will kick the food out and the bedding in. Think baby in a high chair with finger food. Empty, clean, refill feeders and waterers; repeat. Change the heights as they grow. Change the food as they grow. Make sure they have their vaccinations! Pick them up and cradle them. Chickens can recognize up to one hundred human faces and they keep track of who feeds them and hugs them up. And, yes, it does take a village: All of us do the chicken project; it takes ten hands, five hearts, and five minds—well, 12, 6, and 6 if you count Oliver. (Can you tell he’s still reading this over my shoulder?)
Another serendipity is this: Arturo has chickens too! (Spoiler: He and his Papa and his Tia (Peruvian for Aunt) eat them, so instead of naming his chickens, he hugs them and now that he’s talking, he talks to them too.) We ARE naming our chicks. Oliver found a list of the 150 most popular chicken names. Pop thought we could call them all by the same name until we see what each one’s personality is. I mean, who can tell them apart right now anyhow. Sensible idea but Sam and Clyde don’t understand. They think they’ve named them Chicken Nugget. Egg Nog. Jewel. Turkey Lurkey. Drumstick. Muffin. Daffy or Daffodil, but they don’t know which is which. I don’t like names that make you think of chicken on a menu, but you know how it is with naming things. Mimi said her mother and father couldn’t decide for months what to name her. Of course, eventually they did. But when she had to get a copy of her birth certificate from the town hall before she married Pop, she saw that instead of her name it still said Baby Girl!!
Isabel Scheherazade, grandkid of Pop and Mimi and interpreter of Morning Joe advertising to the Baby Boomers