Cold Beach Weather and Flying Chickens

My heart goes out to my snow-drenched and winter-weary friends in the North. All my winters in Chicago taught me that by this point in the year, most people living north of the Mason-Dixon were ready for winter to be over weeks (or even months) ago.

In the coastal South, where we are experiencing “colder than normal” temperatures, our plight is laughable in comparison. While the spring break tourists have been understandably disappointed, the greatest challenges for the locals have been deciding whether to take any porch plants inside and remembering to dress appropriately.

Today, I realized too late that Baby-Girl went to school without weather-appropriate clothing. The situation really has its origins in last night, when she attempted a new bedtime stall tactic. The girl dabbles heavily in loquacity at bedtime; last night, she announced that she needed to choose a new topic for a speech immediately, because tomorrow in class she would have to write the outline for it and she now disliked her chosen topic.

Her original topic was “Ten Ways to Make a Chicken Fly.” I’ll just leave that there a moment.

Secretly, I was pleased with her decision, because I had no idea where she’d go with this topic. Furthermore, I had to give her some credit for coming up with a better-than-average excuse for delaying bedtime. A more typical attempt is something like: “Mom, I really, really need to ask you about rubber bands.” She’d correctly assessed my weakness by throwing out school-related questions with teacher-generated time limits. But I was resolved; clever though she might be, she was not going to extend her bedtime. Instead, I told her we’d discuss new topic ideas in the morning while she got ready for school. She tried two “But, Moooooooms!” and followed these with high-pitched whining sounds as I turned off her light and left her room, so I used my standard ammo of saying “Good night, sweet girl!” several times at a volume loud enough to squelch the sound of hers. I finished, heard several long sighs as I walked into the kitchen, and then silence.

Thus, we were distracted this morning as she readied for school while I churned out topic ideas with the breadth and fluidity of an English teacher. All seventy-two ideas I produced were deemed either sophomoric or stupid, and off to school she went, topic-less and left to face recess clad in insufficient amounts of cotton.

On the drive home from school, I asked Baby-Girl about recess. Apparently, she had been cold, but bore no permanent scars. And the speech situation, it seemed, had resolved itself with a little tweaking on her part.

“So what’d you decide on for a new topic?” I asked.

“I’m going to speak about having a chicken as a pet.”

For the record, we’ve never had a chicken as a pet. We’ve never even watched another family’s pet chicken while they were out of town, or taken a class chicken home for a night. I eyed her in my rearview mirror and asked, “So, um, what kinds of things are you going to talk about?”

“You know, like what to expect if you get a pet chicken. What it will be like and stuff.”

So it seems the speech is to be informative; here’s to hoping she knows how to do enough research to mask her experiential deficit.

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