Saturday, March 21, 2009

Camp Marshfield Spring Session Opens

So it's warm today and all the kids were out. I got home around 5:30 and was talking on the front steps with Dawn when the Bradys brought over their new pet chickens. Wow! They're not baby chicks--they're about two months old now--but they are still small enough to fit in two hands. We think they have two roosters and a hen. They showed me how if you hold them in your hands a few feet above the ground and kinda push them, they'll fly, or at least flap their wings as they fall to the ground. They eat rice and bread and "pretty much anything," Ines told me. One of Ines's cousins ran home to get a piece of chocolate cupcake to show me how they eat. We let them loose in my front yard to see if they could peck up any worms.

Four Bradys and three young chickens in my front yard drew a crowd. First Sarah and her niece, then Junior and his little brother, then the gaggle of girls who are related to Mr. Worrisome and Jay-Z. The gaggle was scared of the chickens at first, but then they got brave and wanted to hold them. One of them pooped on the jacket sleeve of my least favorite girl in the gaggle (she usually acts very bossy and wants to be waited on hand and foot). The other girls laughed at her and she started to cry, so I went in the house to get some wet soapy paper towel to clean off her jacket. They had been asking whether they could color, and I felt sorry enough for Little Missy that once she was clean I went back in the house and brought out some crayons and construction paper for them.

The Brady Girls took their chickens home, but the Brady boys stayed, plus Junior, his brother, Picasso, Joey and a few others. They were playing basketball out back on the parking pad while the girls colored out front. I went out back to watch the basketball.

Junior's brother was just watching, too, so we hung out. When they took a break I asked if they wanted some water, and they said yes. I brought out a pitcher but had to scrounge up plastic glasses because I'm out of disposable cups (even though I try to wash them out and re-use them at least a couple of times).

"I'd rather hang out with you guys that those girls out front," I told them during water break. "They drive me crazy." The guys laughed. They told me Littlest Brady and Joey's little brother (who are both about 3 now, I think) had been holding hands out back. The older boys were making fun of them.

"Oh, come on, give the little guys a break," I said. "When they're three, it's cute--when they're your age, not so much," I teased, punching Picasso in the arm. They were all laughing.

Although I did go check on the girls and their coloring project a few times, I pretty much left them to their own devices. When they were done, they were prepared to leave and leave everything--construction paper, Twix wrappers, crayons, glue sticks--all over my front step. I wasn't so into that. I came out and started picking up, then called over to where they were on the sidewalk and said, "So, who's going to help me clean up?"

The two oldest girls in that group are pretty responsible, so they brought everybody back. I gave them some plastic bags: one for trash and the rest for those who wanted to take their pictures home. I repeated what I told them all along: they could use up all the construction paper and take it home, but I wanted the crayons back so they could draw another day. (I did hold a couple boxes back in the house.) Good thing I kept some back--the next time I came back the steps were bare. There was one white crayon left.

Lesson learned: If I want the crayons back, I'll have to supervise cleanup more closely.

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