My boys are as different as day and night. The eldest wants to work on everything related to agriculture. He wants to be in the middle of the action when branding. The youngest loves books, watching videos and playing games. The older one is loud and bossy, while the younger one is quiet and lost in thought. No two children are as different as them.
A few weeks ago my husband and I purchased pairs of heifers to replace some older cows that we had slaughtered. He wanted to work the cows and tag them on a Sunday morning. The four of us headed south and once the rest of the cattle were fed, we finally got to work. One boy was more excited than the other.
Chance is still young enough not to be interested in cattle and prefers to run away and play instead of being part of the job. Before we started, he came to see me because he saw my husband heating up the branding irons. I could tell in his eyes that he wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I explained that the cows were given a dewormer to pour and that they were branded. He looked horrified when the mark touched the skin. I brushed him off as it wasn’t the first time he had branded cattle.
A few weeks later, we branded and worked on some of our calves and the ones my husband takes care of. Again, Chance wasn’t interested in helping. He ran away to find the dog and play in the shed. After a while he came back and found himself stuck by my side. Ask a million and one questions about why they prick calves with needles. Why they have to brand the calves and why they are castrated. I explained as best I could amidst the busy brand pen.
The following week, he clung to my arm again as fairboard members struggled to put a tag in his 4-H goat’s ear during the small animal weigh-in. I asked what was wrong, and he said he didn’t like what they were doing to his goat. Right now I explained that tags help to know who the goat is.
At times like these, I have to choose my words carefully and explain to an 8 year old in terms he would understand since he honestly wasn’t as close as he could have been. I struggle with that since Shaun wanted to be in the middle of it and knows so much more.
This is Chance’s first year in 4-H after competing in the cloverbud portion last year. He wanted a goat to show, but only one. And he made it very clear to me that he only wanted to show at the fair when I asked him if he wanted to go with his brother to an upcoming jackpot show. I don’t know if I should push the subject further with him or not. However, I plan to take her to the show on Mother’s Day with her goat to see the sights. A little school never hurt anyone!