Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I took the girls to The Wilderness Park today, and we got more adventure than we bargained for!
As soon as we got out of the van, we saw a gaggle of ducklings - no wait - that's geese. We saw a brood of ducklings in the parking lot, headed straight for the very busy road! The ducklings were waddling straight towards traffic, and I looked around and no one else was there! Just me and my little ducklings...er, I mean children!
This is one instance when it pays to have a huge pile of crushed goldfish crackers on the floor of your van. I'm just sayin'!
Anyhoo- we were able to lure the ducklings back inside the gate of the park and over to the "upper pond" - which is generally not where the ducks hang out (they prefer the lower pond) - not ideal, but it was much better than the road!
The upper pond is very close to the entrance of the park and the road, so I knew we could not leave the ducklings there for long. There was no mother duck in sight - we were sure she was down at the lower pond.
I went to buy some "fish food" from the park kiosk (I brought my quarters!) and talk to the park ranger. Paprika and Ginger guarded the ducklings by the pond.
I went to find the park ranger - while keeping Ginger and Paprika (and the ducklings!) in view. All I found was a very surly teenage boy who was playing Minecraft and said he had no idea what to do about the ducks.
So, we decided to lead the ducklings down to the lower pond - which is generally a much safer, insulated area of the park - and it is where the ducks generally make their home.
But herding ducklings all the way across the universe...I mean, park...turned out to be harder than expected. We went one way, they went the other. We tried to get them to cross the meadow, they hightailed it back to the parking lot.
Eventually, I gave Paprika the duck food and the task of taking them down to the lower pond because everytime I turned around, Ginger was off on her own exploring. I was chasing after Ginger, but Paprika was absolutely under no circumstances leaving the ducklings.
After a very long time, we got the all the ducklings down to the lower pond. But then we could not find the mother. Not one female duck in the whole place! I decided to fib: Oh, look, there's the mom!
And Paprika said: No, Nana Nancy told me that the male mallards have bright green heads and the females have brown heads. And all of these adult ducks have bright green heads, so these are all males. No mommy here. I'm not leaving these ducklings until we find their mommy...even if it takes days!
No amount of reasoning was going to shake her on that one. Has anything changed in five years?!
At this point, I was dealing with Ginger who really wanted to go home and Violet who was trying to jump into the pond.
Also, Ginger (who wanted nothing to do with the ducks by now) could not walk. She laid down on the ground and said her feet hurt so badly she wanted to sleep in the park forever.
So, I looked down and her shoes were on the wrong feet. I said: Ginger, your shoes are on the wrong feet! Let's put them on the correct feet, and I promise you'll feel better.
But...no. That was not to be. She said, "I like my shoes on these feet! I am not going to change them!"
And nothing I did would convince Ginger otherwise.
But then, I'd try to convince Paprika to leave, and she'd start bawling about the ducks being motherless and remind me of her oath to stay until the mother returned:
So, I convinced Paprika that we'd go search for the mother and then once we found the mother, we'd get that very helpful park ranger at the front gate of the park to bring the mother duck back to the ducklings. ;-)
And, it worked! I carried Violet on my front in the Ergo and hoisted Ginger over my shoulder and carried them through the woods up to the Minecraft teenager's gate house and wink wink told him to be on the lookout for that mother duck.
I am not sure he heard me what with his headphones on and all! But in a few minutes we were back in the van...on the way home, and on to new adventures.
So, when anyone asks me: What do you do all day as a stay at home mom? Don't you get bored?
I really don't have the time to answer them because I am literally doing things like this all day long, every moment of the day from the time I wake up until I go to bed at night, and then many times during the wee hours, too.
It's not always ducklings, of course. But it's juggling a million different things all at once, and holding it all together...
It's climbing up a mountain with a toddler and a preschooler strapped to my body while keeping a very sensitive six year old from the edge of a nervous breakdown. And all the while making sure they are fed, clothed, bathed, rested, and safe...and teaching them about the world we live in - from manners to stranger danger to plant species.
And then I wonder why I don't have time to write that book series I've been wanting to write - or call the umpteen million friends I used to talk to - or you know, just shower.
And would I ever change it? No! Of course not. But goodness gracious, life is never ever boring with kids! Or ducklings! ;-)
Posted by Erika at 5:07 PM