Thank you for reading, commenting, connecting.
Thank you for walking with me this big year.
I hope that however you choose to celebrate this season
that you are able to spend it with the people who are your world.
We’ve done birthdays and anniversaries in hospital before,
Easter and almost Christmas too
but this is the first time since Ivy and Noah were born
that we’ve celebrated their birthday here.
It’s a little bit sad,
kind of symbolic
but not altogether miserable.
The nurses and the new doctor have been wonderful -
I cannot fault their care for the girl
and all of our friends, who we’ve come to know on this journey
have wished the pair a happy day.
Noah is arriving tonight for a sleepover with his sister
and breakfast has been organised
so that when they wake they are together.
Just as it should be.
I mean, it’s not perfect or ideal
but we’re making the best of it all.
The Captains from Starlight, who reside in our hospital
have come for the last two days to decorate Ivy’s room
and make her laugh
and Ivy gets better and stronger each day.
Seven used to be my favourite number before William died
and then it wasn’t
but I still love this age.
where they wonder at the world
and everything is like a new adventure.
I love them too.
On the day they were born I wondered what it would be like,
how I would be
with two tiny babies to care for along with my grief
and my five other sweethearts who needed me too
but they’ve been my completion, really.
They are my biggest adventure so far.
So happy birthday, my gorgeous pair.
I hope seven is as exciting as you are to me
and as wonderful as ice cream and pancakes
with sweet, sticky syrup on your birthday morning.
When asked what the pair would like for their birthday this year
Ivy said “chickens”
and Noah said “hermit crabs”
and so it was that we extended our home this month
to more animals -
a little before they turn seven, yes
but that is the beauty of a birthday, I think.
The chance to relish in an early gift before the day itself.
The chance to be just a little spoiled.
I am far beyond caring about who shares our house anymore.
With a veritable menagerie already,
what’s a few more creatures to add to our crazy bunch.
We went to the markets and the girl (who was two days shy of her last hospital admission and not well at all)
when she saw the chickens caged in their tiny boxes.
She begged her father to buy them so they could live with her.
He told her only two
so she chose a beautiful white and red mottled laying hen
with curious eyes and fire red wobblers.
She called her Cluck
and her companion -
a sweet little black silky Bantam
who she named Fluffy.
They have brought much joy into our house
and to the girl,
who discovered Cluck’s first egg, large and brown, two days later.
“She’s happy Mum. That’s why she’s laying.” Ivy told me when I expressed my surprise.
Almost a month later Fluffy started giving us petite white eggs too.
Ivy loves going out to the nesting box each morning to find them
but she loves sitting with them in her lap more.
For those of you sucking in your breath, thinking of the disease chickens might carry
we are being very careful.
This week, thanks to a lovely friend,
we added five more girls to Ivy’s brood.
The girl is in chook heaven
and Ivy and Noah have labelled themselves ‘the chicken whisperers’.
Apparently, we are all “just like real farmers now”
which is nice, except I have not much idea at all when it comes to raising chooks.
Hopefully it’s not too dissimilar to the basics of bringing up children;
and love on them
and it will be okay.
The only members of the family who are not impressed with our feathered friends
are the rabbits
who think that chickens are just silly.
If you ever want to see a rabbit giving a chook a filthy look
then you’ve come to the right zoo.
Noah’s hermit crabs “Hermie” and “Mr Crabs”
are far less taken with their new owner
and he them.
Most of the time the crustaceans bury themselves into the black sand of their habitat
and never come out (which is one of the reasons there are no photographs of them)
Noah, who runs screaming from the little white sand crabs,
when he happens upon them at the beach,
cannot bring himself to dig them out (which is the other reason there are no photographs of them).
He’s happy for anyone else to do that task for him
but no sooner are they out
that they scuttle to their corners and dig themselves a new hole.
Luckily Ivy has chickens to spare.