I am feeling so down right now. In tears. I know it'll get better and that none of this is truly important, but, boy, does it weigh heavy on me now. I lost a chick this morning.... I have a thread going on what to do to save chicks that have peeped, begun to zip and stop (for a day and a half). I got some great suggestions, hand holding and help... and was able to aid my last three little chicks out of their shells. These are standard sized silver laced Cochins - and I've wanted them for a while. Anyway, it has been touch and go all day... and I finally thought that they'd make it. Each had ripped out of it's membrane and been thrashing and scooting all over the incubator. I carefully cleaned the rest of the mucus, shell and membrane off of each, banded them, named them and put them in a clean cage under a warm lamp to dry and rest. (I use a small hamster cage - put aspen chips down with clean paper towel over them... a little bowl of water and another of crumbles... with some crumbles sprinkled around to entice them to eat. I left the three chicks all cozy and drying at 5:00... and when I got back from taking my kids to their dad's, one little chick was dead. I named her Brianna for an old college friend was was so strong and beautiful - and now she's gone. I took a close look at the other two chicks and my heart dropped further. One has deformed toes that all curl into the center... and the other looks very weak. I don't think that even one of these babies is going to make it. This has happened before, but I really thought that since I was doing things differently (thanks to BYCers), that I'd be able to save this little chicks.... I argued with my son all day... My middle son is 11. He's wonderful - smart, funny and a great student. Every one loves him - his school teachers, his trombone teacher, his small group leaders at church... And yet with me and his brother, he can be such a SNOT! Insolent to me. Mean to his 8 year old brother. Drags his heels all day on purpose to aggrevate me. I got so fed up with his passive aggressive, snotty attitude that I sent him to his room 45 minutes before I was due to take him to his dad's. What a rotten way to end the week with him! But if I spent even a minute more with him, I would have said something nasty and cruel - which would have escalated into WWIII. Even on the 7 minute car ride to his dad's, he was making snide remarks to his brother, pushing him in the car and driving us all crazy! I pulled my ex aside as soon as we got to his house and gave him a head's up. But the most infuriating thing? Out of my four kids, that son is my ex's favorite - he can do no wrong, is an angel and my ex always discredits what I have to say if it is negative. ARGH!!!!! I forgot my ex's birthday is tomorrow... Big deal right? Wrong. Personally, I could care less about his birthday. But my kids are young - 14y, 12y, 11y and 8y... and they need me to support them in celebrating their dad. They need me to set aside time in our week to take them shopping... give them ideas for their dad (I take the high road on this although it is VERY difficult.)... and help them wrap the gifts, etc. This was a stinky week though. My son, the snot, was home from school for two days with bad poison oak (which he got at his dad's before coming to mine. Nice, huh?). That put a hitch in my giddy-up and I never caught my wind.... because the week ended with three of my four kids in competitive parades and competitions at the junior high and high school level. (They're all in color guard.) So on my way home from dropping my kids at their dad's house, I remembered his birthday was tomorrow. I know that my eldest daughter will jump through hoops to do something nice for him... but she is wiped out from a tough week and grueling weekend. My second daughter is my peace maker (She spent the day in her room hiding from the drama of her brothers and I.)... She will feel miserable if she doesn't do something special for my ex - and she'll think that she's let him down. She'll feel guilty. My 11y old son, the current-snot-soon-to-be-wonderful-again will be angry with me because he loves his dad more and I will have let him down... My youngest won't skip a beat and will just shine his little effervescient personality on my ex and charm him to death. And finally, I don't see my kiddos for another week... I love my babies. So much. My ex was a workaholic, absentee dad who was never interested in the kids or their activities. After I filed for divorce, he sued me for half custody of the kids. He parked them with a nanny - who was cheaper than paying me more child support. He just about ripped what was left of my heart right out of my chest. I already miss them so much and they've only been gone an hour. ~sigh~ The chick... the other chicks... my son... and letting my kids down... and now I'm alone again. I know I have a good life and so many blessings... but, dang, I am so sad right now.