When our grandson Graham was 6, he would put his hands over his ears if he got within 10 feet of the barn. Sheep baaing drove him nuts. Write off this one as a showman, Grandma!
That was before he got his hands on one superbly broke yearling at a sheep sale. He led her once, and he was hooked. Now as a 9-year-old, Graham helps me feed sheep every evening he is at our house. It’s his turn to look at his 6-year-old sister and say, “Come on, Addy, why are you afraid of the sheep?”
Until recently, Addy wouldn’t get within 50 feet of the barn. If she even saw a sheep, she whimpered, saying they scared her. One night Graham persuaded her to come to the barn with us to see the barn cats. Wild as can be, they only get close enough to make sure we remember to put their feed in the pans; then they wait for us to leave.
Somehow Graham persuaded Addy that night to step into the barn to see one of the ewe lambs he will show next year. Next thing I know, he’s screaming, “Grandpa, Addy petted a sheep!”
Yeah, right, Graham. And you scared me with that blood-curdling scream. Our grandkids don’t do anything quietly.
“I petted the sheep, Grandpa. I petted the sheep!” Addy rambled on.
“No, you didn’t,” I replied.
“Yes, she did, Grandpa. I saw it,” Graham insisted.
“Then do it again, Addy,” I said. I had to see this to believe it.
Addy stepped toward the pen. The lamb moved her head, and Addy drew her arm back as quick as lightning. She turned to run out, but Graham insisted she try again. She reached out her arm and fingers as far as she could, and barely brushed the lamb’s wool before she drew her hand back.
“See, Grandpa. She petted it,” Graham said happily.
“Grandpa, I petted a sheep!” Addy squealed.
“That’s great, Addy, now you can help us every night you’re here,” I said, still skeptical she really touched it. But without instant replay, I decided to take her word for it.
Lo and behold, the next time Addy was at our house and I was ready to feed, she couldn’t wait to head toward the barn. And she left no doubt that she touched a sheep that time. The next visit, her mom said she had been asking when it would be time to feed the sheep every 15 minutes, all day long.
Serves her mom right. Addy is a carbon copy of her mom at 6 years old — all legs and full of energy, never quiet.
Addy does more watching and squealing than anything else, and once in a while she reaches over to pet a sheep. But hey, Grandma might get her second sheep showman after all!