First there’s this parenting thing.
THE TODDLER PHASE.
Mom arrives with anything from one to nine ducklings in her brood. They stay close, hugging her, trailing her, sometimes even crowding her.
I’m the magnet. Standing on the back of the boat, armed with a box of Cheerios. Or should I say Duck’s Delight. Mom gobbles it down and the little ones valiantly peck away until some soften and down the ducky hatch it goes. Sometimes they follow my kayak.
THE KINDERGARTEN PHASE.
Two weeks later they have no problem with the Cheerios and race Mom to the table. By now they are faster than her and I handle this by throwing a handful to one side. As the tiny ducklings converge on this, I quickly throw another handful to the other side for Mom.
She cottons on pretty fast and after a couple of days, waits for this maneuver.
THE TEENAGE PHASE
The phrase “walking on water” takes on a new meaning in duck world at this stage. The ducklings, having finished their portion, turn with enviable speed and precision and “walk on water” to get to where Mom is eating.
They take what they want, with no regard for Mom. Not giving a thought to how selfish they are. Not only that. They take a devilish delight in hiding from her.
The poor woman is squawking and carrying on and the teenage ducks swim just out of sight around another boat as she approaches.
Yup, cell phones and beepers all turned off.
But finally they all leave home. Now Mama can strut her stuff. I watch her.
Left right. Left right. Waddle waddle. Hips swaying. Sashay right. Sashay left. Right past the good-looking males with their fine coloring and yellow collars.
THE MODEL’S RUNWAY WALK.
One “aquatic waterfowl’s webbed appendage” (sorry, couldn’t resist) follows the other, nearly crossing the midline but still staying on the tightrope. (I Googled “what does one call a duck’s feet” and someone really wrote this. Gotta love that sense of humor.)
It looked like fun. So I tried it. And nearly kissed Mother Earth.
Oh I can do it, but not without looking at my feet. This looking in the distance doesn’t work. I have to look where I’m going. (Watch this space for another of “It’s the Dog’s Fault.”)
I handled the Toddler phase. I enjoyed the Kindergarten phase. I somehow survived the Teenage phase.
But walking without looking where I’m going? This is where I realized I’m not as smart as a duck.