Sunday, February 2, 2014

Farm Kids {Do they do help?}

It's a great question and one that I definitely get a lot.  Do my kids do anything more than make a mess, fill their diaper and generally add to my work load?

No. No they don't.

It's a travesty.  Really.  They're 3 extra animals I get to tend in my non exisitant spare time.  I'm exagerating, of course, and love them to pieces.  But they are worth thier weight in work, that's for sure!

The reason we don't give many chores to the kids right now is simple: they're not ready.  Isabel shows very little intrerst in the barn or animals.  We aren't ones to force anything on our kids - even this crazy lifestyle.  I respect her hesititation, the animals are loud and often bigger than she is.  Point taken.

Jack is just too little.  He would love to do more and we often have him carry about tools, bits of hay or pails of scraps but giving him specific tasks is still a ways off - which you'd expect as he's 18 months.

Abigail shows the most promise but needs much more practice being around the animals.  She has a willing and helpful spirit but lacks the skill and understanding to be useful.

Have you spent any time lately with the 8 and under crowd?  No?  Well the thing about them is they tend to move - fast.   They leap, hop, yell, grab, jab and generally move at hyper speed all the time.  The problem is that animals - cows especially - are flighty.  By which I mean they see very well but have many, many blind spots within their field of vision.  They are hardwired to shy away or run when startled.

You can imagine how often they startle with widgets bouncing around the paddock.  Which makes the kids jump back or holler.  Which makes the animals move away again.  Which makes.... Well you get the idea.  It's a vicious circle currently.

So, no, they don't help much now.  They're learning to move slowly, to have respect, to give space and consideration to these large animals.  When those lessons are mastered I fully expect they will be big helpers in the barn.  I have visions of a pint sized milker.  Of a mini hay hauler.  Even sweet Izzy has requested to collect the eggs.  As the needs change and as we all become comfortable with our new roles within the barn I foresee much help from our free labor. Ahem. Our children.

Until then they are chief cow nose scratcher and baby goat holder.

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