If you follow me on Twitter you heard me desperately cry out for help on Friday as we almost witnessed a complete and utter maternal catastrophe in nature. Walking home from Phoenix’s school we passed a man-made waterfall/pond in front of an apartment complex that had a Mommy duck & 13 of her little babes swimming around. Caspian was fast asleep in his Ergo so we decided to watch them for a bit. After watching them for almost an hour the unthinkable happened. At this particular complex there were two pond areas so after swimming in one & unsuccessfully trying to make it across the street the mother duck started over to the next pond with the ducklings. She jumped up on the curb & made it in & 5 other ducklings did as well. Before the rest could hop onto the sidewalk & get in the water a lady starts taking pictures of the ducks with her dog very close behind her. The ducks were so frightened by this dog that 8 of them fell down the sewer drain. The mother duck after realizing she was short ducks gets out of the water & starts quacking. The ducks who were in the water get out & fall down the drain as well! I was frozen in my inability to help the ducks & had no idea what to do. The mother duck was frantic & quacking & waddling in circles & I was on the verge of tears.
While we watched them I became mesmerized by how she carried on much like a human mother. When they tried to cross the street & couldn’t she quacked for them to stop & they stopped. When one of them didn’t fall back in line she jumped out & grabbed his neck just as he was almost ran over. And now here she was losing all but two of her babies. I was frantic with worry & just as I was about to call animal rescue some of the maintenance men from the apartment complex came out, climbed down the drain & rescued the babies. Once the ducks had been reunited they climbed back in the water & continued their leisurely swim & the mother stopped quacking.
If any of you have a 4 year old out there you know the level of obedience you receive from them on any given day. You know that most of your day consists of counting, daring, begging, empty threats & promises of rewards. You go from one crisis to the next often without a breath in between. At the end of the day I’m exhausted & drained from the battle of wits against my son. Even in the middle of the night there is no break as I battle with him to keep his legs, arms, & head, to himself. I’ve explained the virtues of obedience and why it’s better than sacrifice-something I heard a lot growing up. But we hardly ever get traction before we are right back at it again.
My love for him runs deep, very, very deep but sometimes I look at him when he’s misbehaving & want to shake him & yell “Listen to me! I know best! I know best! I know best! I’m trying to help you.” but obviously I don’t shake him. I just sit, often with my head in my hands & wonder what & why having a 4 year old can be so very difficult.
But then Friday came & a duck & her ducklings hopefully helped get my son to understand the importance of being obedient. I’ve been trying to talk to him about consequences lately but I’m not sure he fully gets it. But there before his eyes consequences played out. I’ve had to remind him almost every single day, several times a day since Friday “Remember the baby ducks”.
I know that today when he comes homes from school will be another battle to get him to finish homework, to gently put the baby down, to do his chores with a cheerful attitude, stop jumping, stop screaming, stop whining, stop this, stop that. I know the lesson of the ducks might fade away in a few days but maybe, just maybe it won’t.