Monday, March 09, 2009


In an effort to develop a better sense of caring and compassion in our middle boy, Misha (7), we have gone and gotten him a little fluffy, delicate, high-maintenance pet.
A baby chick.
What could be cuter?

Misha has come so far from his early trips to our friend's farm where he would shrink in terror at the mere thought of holding anything living regardless of its fluffy cuteness. And, by the way, when I say, 'shrink in terror'? I mean it, okay?!

One thing Misha is much better at is self-control. By this I mean that, even though dogs no longer make him terrified but just simply very nervous, he hides it well. He may even pet the dog or comment on its adorableness but he would never do either of those things without an adult that he wants to impress present. He is the same way with people-babies, incidentally. (not afraid of people babies, though. Just weirded-out by them. He truly doesn't see what all the fuss is about!)

Anyway, because we want to teach him to not only be "un-scared" of animals and just "un-weirded-out" by babies, we had this idea that a baby chick might be just the thing to foster some independence and compassionate thinking in Misha.

Frankly, I don't care if he loves animals. I don't want him to hate them, though. I also want him to be comfortable with and even to truly enjoy babies and small children. This little exercise seems a great chance for us to talk directly about things with him and to train him individually in the area of caring for others less able than himself.

We let him pick the chick from our friends Tami and Chuck's chick brooder. It was newly hatched but fluffy. There were several different varieties but Misha had little interest and pointed quickly to a fluffy yellow little guy(or girl).

Chick and a bit of starter feed in hand, we thanked our friends and headed off to Walmart to get a clamp-light, a thermometer and a newspaper. In the car, Misha was holding the chick obediently and even with a nice artificial smile until I said to him, "hold your little chick closely, Misha, he needs to be warm. You are his papa now, you know."

Misha's eyes lit up a bit and he wriggled little Indiana Jones (that's is the chick's name) closer to his chest. Progress.

Indiana Jones is still doing well a few days later. Misha was outside teaching him to follow his PapaMisha through the grass. Indiana enjoyed pecking at the lawn and Misha enjoyed watching him. I am hoping that this really makes some headway into the mind of our little boy who has spent the bulk of his life practicing self-preservation and perfecting his charm in order to be as far at the top of the "pecking" order as possible. While we are glad to see that some of these behaviors have been modified, we know that he is just mostly obeying us and that real change will have to come from his heart. Hopefully, Indiana Jones will awaken that part of Misha and allow him to more fully experience his life.

Oh. And, to celebrate our new addition--Look what we had for dinner.

Maybe the fact that we found this funny is partly why he still has compassion issues...
.......naaah. I doubt that.



Drew, Michelle, Luke and Tetyana said...

What a great idea..the little chick is so darn cute!!! I can't wait to see how Papa Misha does with him...

Mike and Christie said...

Wise mommy and daddy! Animals are a GREAT way to foster those feelings. That is one of the reasons we keep animals too.

We eat them too, which has turned one of our kids into a future card carrying member of PETA. :)

Debbie said...

This is a great idea! I love how he is taking to his Papa Misha role. :-)

Leslie said...

LOL!!! Ingenious! What a wonderful teaching experience. You're such a good mama, M! Thank you for your wise words on my blog. Please pray with us through this process!

Maggy_Keet said...

How cute! I want a little chick :) What are you going to do when it becomes a chicken? Seems like your plan is working. He's being a great dad. I can't believe he didn't call it Chuck Norris!

Tami said...

What a great idea!!! Maddie has the same animal issues as Misha. It has gotten better. At least she'll pay attention to and even pet our animals. But if its anyone else's she still freaks. Being a vet's kid - its a bit of an issue. ;)

Heidi and Felix said...

Oh my, that was sweet, then ended funny! I'm lol! What a great idea!

Grandma Falk said...

It was a good idea to help Misha, and I am impressed with how the other children are happy for Misha and not jealous of his little pet. It will be interesting to see how things progress as the chick gets bigger.