animal kingdom / DAILY FARM LIFE / MOTHERHOOD

the duck update

I know we all have those parenting moments when we are flustered, frazzled and we throw out some extreme consequence or threat to our children. 

It happened to me last week. I was standing on the deck, a screaming baby in my arms, a duck quacking from her cage and a certain 8 year-old standing in front of me whining about the fact that I had asked her to feed that quacking duck, which we've now named Maggie.

an update on Maggie

"I already did the chickens and the cats! I don't have my boots on anymore! I want to eat my breakfast!"

I calmly reminded her of her responsibilities. That the job of feeding Maggie was very easy. I reminded her of her dreams to some day own some sheep and a pony and if she couldn't take care of seven chickens and a duck, then she surely wasn't ready for the care of a horse. We stood there talking over the screaming baby in my arms, while she stubbornly gave excuses as to why she couldn't walk the twenty feet across the yard to take care of Maggie.

"Emma. You have been arguing with me for so long the job would have been done by now."

an update on Maggie

And at this point, I reached the end of my rope. The whining, the arguing, the not listening, not to mention, the poor screaming baby in my arms. 

"Fine." I said. "If no one is going to take care of Maggie then I guess we need to just let her go." 

I turned on my heel and headed back in to the house. When Emma didn't come in for several minutes, I assumed she understood me and was outside feeding and watering Maggie. 

But then she came inside in tears.

"I let Maggie out of her cage and now I can't get her to go back in!!!"

She was hysterical, desperate. I asked why she let Maggie out of her cage and she said, "Because you TOLD ME TO!" 

My words came back to haunt me. And I wondered why, after all the arguing, this was the one statement she decided to obey. 

Well, long story short and fast-forwarding through many tears and drama, it turns out Maggie is doing just fine. She flew away later that morning. And by evening we heard her quacking laugh in the backyard once again. 

She comes and goes, checking in with us at least twice a day, and enjoying a few beak-fulls of feed with the chickens. 

Yesterday evening, I heard her quacking from the little stream that runs in front of the chicken coop. I stood on the deck and called to her, the same way I did when she was little. And she immediately came flying in, landing in the front yard, looking for food. 

And despite what we thought was her early release back into "the wild", I'd say she's a completely rehabilitated duck.

And in the future, I will monitor my parental threats a little more closely.

I know we all have those parenting moments when we are flustered, frazzled and we throw out some extreme consequence or threat to our children. 

It happened to me last week. I was standing on the deck, a screaming baby in my arms, a duck quacking from her cage and a certain 8 year-old standing in front of me whining about the fact that I had asked her to feed that quacking duck, which we've now named Maggie.

an update on Maggie

"I already did the chickens and the cats! I don't have my boots on anymore! I want to eat my breakfast!"

I calmly reminded her of her responsibilities. That the job of feeding Maggie was very easy. I reminded her of her dreams to some day own some sheep and a pony and if she couldn't take care of seven chickens and a duck, then she surely wasn't ready for the care of a horse. We stood there talking over the screaming baby in my arms, while she stubbornly gave excuses as to why she couldn't walk the twenty feet across the yard to take care of Maggie.

"Emma. You have been arguing with me for so long the job would have been done by now."

an update on Maggie

And at this point, I reached the end of my rope. The whining, the arguing, the not listening, not to mention, the poor screaming baby in my arms. 

"Fine." I said. "If no one is going to take care of Maggie then I guess we need to just let her go." 

I turned on my heel and headed back in to the house. When Emma didn't come in for several minutes, I assumed she understood me and was outside feeding and watering Maggie. 

But then she came inside in tears.

"I let Maggie out of her cage and now I can't get her to go back in!!!"

She was hysterical, desperate. I asked why she let Maggie out of her cage and she said, "Because you TOLD ME TO!" 

My words came back to haunt me. And I wondered why, after all the arguing, this was the one statement she decided to obey. 

Well, long story short and fast-forwarding through many tears and drama, it turns out Maggie is doing just fine. She flew away later that morning. And by evening we heard her quacking laugh in the backyard once again. 

She comes and goes, checking in with us at least twice a day, and enjoying a few beak-fulls of feed with the chickens. 

Yesterday evening, I heard her quacking from the little stream that runs in front of the chicken coop. I stood on the deck and called to her, the same way I did when she was little. And she immediately came flying in, landing in the front yard, looking for food. 

And despite what we thought was her early release back into "the wild", I'd say she's a completely rehabilitated duck.

And in the future, I will monitor my parental threats a little more closely.

13 comments on “the duck update”

  1. wouldn’t i like to say i have never made ridiculous threats to my kid? but i have. way to many times and they usually come back to haunt me.

    this parenting thing? it is hard. no doubt about it.

  2. so glad to hear Maggie is doing well! I’m sure it’s all that doting loving care she’s been getting.

    we had our own bit of wildlife drama last week that I managed to capture in pictures–although we were a bit more helpless to do anything but watch. Happy ending, though!

    and if I have any insight into holding one’s temper under the circumstances you describe, I’ll be sure to share it, but please don’t wait up. 😉

  3. Thanks for the update on “Maggie” and glad to hear she’s done so well. Seems she has the best of both worlds – her freedom and a steady source of food and care if she needs it. And, yes, I too have been there with the unintended consequences…

  4. thanks for sharing this, it really connected with my life today. we’ve been bottle feeding 3 baby goats the past couple weeks (their mommas rejected them) and the same discussions can be heard between our yard and pasture. my children really enjoyed the responsibility when it was a novelty and now that it is a chore the don’t.

  5. Oh my goodness! I’ve done that “you could have finished that task by now!” thing and yes, I’ve had no success, either, with a four-year-old, or even with my DH.

    Glad that the duck has come back. I have spent the past month refusing to take chickens for our backyard. I know DD would enjoy the baby chicks, but I do not have the time and energy to look after chooks as well as everything else we do.

  6. I’m sure we’ve all done something similar. I almost lost my daughter that way. We were camping it was starting to rain and I was helping with the tent but I needed to use the little girls room. So I told my 7 year old, jokingly, to go potty for me. Without another word, she did. Five minutes later I couldn’t find her ANYWHERE! I walked through the campground, which was now getting dark yelling her name every 5 seconds. When someone said, “She’s over here!” I ran to her & said, “Don’t EVER wander off like that again!” She tearfully said, “I went to the bathhouse like you told me too.” She’s 12 now & I still haven’t figured out whether I was more relieved or crushed or proud or what. Trust me – I too now watch what I tell her!

  7. I love your poultry tales! Thank you for sharing. In the photo with the duck plus chickens, there’s a chicken on the left with a reddish brown body & a cream ruff around the neck. Do you happen to know what variety of chicken that one might be? Thanks much!

  8. How funny! I find myself saying things way too often that I don’t really mean. I’m sure one day soon, I too will get caught. I’m glad that your duck is happy! It seems that everyone won in the end here.

  9. You have no idea how I needed to read this, tonight. I was that Molly, only worse, and over dinner, not ducks. A hundred ways I could have dealt with a bad blow-up, and I chose the worst. Ack. Makes me grimace still, just thinking about it. Thanks for your honesty.

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