Yesterday, as I hung some clean laundry up on the clothesline, the rooster started pecking at my foot.
(Pause. Reread previous sentence. Yeah, that’s right. I was using CLOTHESPINS and everything.)
Rooster Boy – you may recall he was injured by a weasel – has been semi-domesticated. The Farmer rocks him to sleep at night, and he spends his days strutting around the yard. So I was surprised when he dug his sharp beak into my foot, and I reached down to pet him and let him know it was just me, Caroline Ingalls, goin’ about my chores.
And HE BIT ME!
I almost had my feelings hurt but then I remembered, you know, that he’s a rooster. Still, I did immediately complain to the Farmer’s husband about it. “You know why he bit you?” he said. “BECAUSE HE’S TURNING INTO A COCK.”
Well, that makes sense. And in this way, Rooster Boy is a lot like my son: tame, funny, and content. But sometimes you just want to stew him.
It’s been a long 11 days for the Pterodactyl. He has tried very hard to adapt to being away for so long, and has had moments of pure joy – swimming across Dennis Pond, visiting a pottery shop, rocking a baby goat to sleep – along with episodes of inconsolable mania. Our hosts, the Farmer’s family, witnessed one such event a couple of nights ago. “Wow,” said the Farmer. “That comes from someplace deep inside.” Yes. It’s visceral. And when it starts, my heart aches for the pain he feels – hurt that his sister won’t play with him, frustrated that he can’t do a cartwheel, angry that I won’t give him a gluten-saturated donut. But he effectively scratches, screeches, and flails his way out of my limited supply of empathy, and soon I’m nearly as frustrated as he.
Buddy the Wonder Dog has not been much help for the boy, although there have been a couple of snuggling sessions. Mostly, Buddy has comforted me. My boy can be so tender and emotional that just resting my hand on his cheek makes me weepy. Having Buddy at my side reminds me of that when the Pterodactyl is upending his backpack or emptying a bag of chips on the floor. And Buddy reminds me, too, of my life, which in turn keeps the perimeter of our family foremost in my mind. This is us, together, Hot Firefighter Husband and three children and our dog (with one dog comfortably at home) bound by love and commitment regardless of where we are.
Oh, Rooster Boy. I wish you hadn’t pecked me. But you didn’t even break the skin. Despite your best efforts to sway me, I still think you’re worth having around.