One soppy morning, on our way to the hen house to gather chicken eggs, my oldest granddaughter was just the right height to spot movement in the tall stasis near the duck pen.
“Grandma, what’s that? Something moved.”
It caught my attention about the time she finished speaking. A newly hatched duckling was attempting to get back into the duck pen. On the other side, floating lifeless in the water was another newly hatched duckling. The pen was not a safe place for the hatchlings. I quickly rescued the living duckling and wrapped it in my top against my belly to keep it warm.
“Is it okay? Is the duckel’ing okay?” GrandThing1 was very worried.
We hurried back to the house where we gathered a storage bin, some rags and a heat lamp. When the makeshift brood box was ready, I slipped the little bird from under my top. My granddaughter’s eyes widened as she raised her delicate little hands in an open cup to receive the tiny baby.
“Oh, Grandma, it’s so cute. Hello, baby duckel’ing.” Reassured by her soft little voice, the duckling settled in. She cuddled it close.
“What will it eat?” She leaned over and whispered into her hands, “Are you hungry? Grandma, the duckel’ing is hungry.”
I dialed Grandpa’s cell and held the phone to her so she could leave a message.
“Grandpa, we need food for the baby duckel’ing.”
We placed the feathered baby into its brood box. GrandThing1 announced, “The duckel’ing needs a nap.” Off she rushed to where she napped during her visits.
I heard rustling, a little bit of grumbling, then, “Here it is!” Back she came with her favorite nap time storybook. She seated herself so the duckling could hear. Her little voice did not miss a beat retelling her memorized tale.
“Brown bear, brown bear…”
The Duckel’ing by GrandThing1. Of course now she says “duckling” it has been many birthdays since this event. We will always remember the “duckel’ing.”
Happy Birthday GrandThing1
GrandThing1 and Grandma draw pictures together in a hangout.