Have you ever played "Jumpy Little Snowbird" with human babies? This is where the human baby is just learning to walk and is holding onto the coffee table or chair, and heís still wearing his big droopy diapers (we wonít even think about whatís making them big and droopy), and he gets to feeling so good to finally be up off the floor, that he starts doing bouncy squats. His feet never leave the ground, but that big diapered behind is really bobbing up and down in delight.
And, of course, we humans have to put it all to singing with, "Jumpy little snowbird, jump, jump, jump. Jumpy little snowbird jump, jump, jump." The little baby gets into the beat with that catchy tune and his little behind gets to bouncing even more and pretty soon youíve trained him on cue to start bouncing when you start your snowbird song.
Now I keep calling the baby a "he", but to tell the truth, Iíve only seen girl babies do a good Jumpy Little Snowbird. They could really get in the rhythm and even yell in sheer delight and use one dimpled hand to pound on the coffee table, hold on with the other hand and really bob up and down in super time. Boys just couldnít get it all together. They just didnít have the rhythm and they didnít understand the reasoning behind the song. Well, just sheer delight in being able to bob a heavy behind like that was enough to celebrate, but they just didnít get it.
At least, thatís what I remember as an elder child as I watched all my sisters go through the Jumpy Little Snowbird routine, but my baby brother just didnít do it. Not once do I remember him ever doing Jumpy Little Snowbird. He was too busy trying to survive, living with a bunch of sisters. All of which wanted to dress him up like a girl, when he was little, and walk him up and down the sidewalk like a big baby doll.
Now what has Jumpy Little Snowbird have to do with goats? One of the perks of being a goat farmer is taking the time out every now and then and playing with the baby goats. Many times I get a bucket to sit on and put it in the middle of a bunch of kids and just sit there. When one staggers by, and in range of my arms, I gather it up, plunk it in my lap and just pet it and tell it what a beautiful baby it is. Soon you find the ones who really enjoy this attention.
As soon as you get your bucket and sit down, your lap kids run over to visit, and if very young, will throw their little front legs over your lap and stand there and bounce up and down doing a very good imitation of Jumpy Little Snowbird. They are trying to figure out how to bounce on up into your lap, but canít. They know I will drop my arm down and scoop them up and plunk them in my lap. When they do this little bobbing up and down, waiting for me to scoop them up, I canít help but laugh. Lee always know where Iím at when he hears me laughing in the barn or in the field. Either I have some baby kid playing Jumpy Little Snowbird, or I have a kid who thinks he can jump the creek and jumps straight up, not out, and drops like a rock in 6-10 inches of water. You can find me if Iím with the goats, Iím usually laughing at someone.
Sure, there are a few problems in teaching baby kids to be Jumpy Little Snowbirds. Goat kids get athletic fast. Youíll find yourself one day, innocently sitting on your bucket, and having a kid line himself up in front of you and do a tremendous leap to get into your lap, overshoot, and find yourself with a face full of kid. Sadly, thatís when you have to give up your sitting bucket and stand to bend over and pet the kids, no more offering the lap. But, it certainly saves wear and tear on the face.
Right now I have a couple of young unathletic kids who play Jumpy Little Snowbird when I sit with them. It is so cute. You canít help but find yourself thinking life is good, as you hum Jumpy Little Snowbird.