HOW CAN SUCH MESSY CREATURES BRING SUCH JOY?
About two months ago, my 14 year old daughter came to me with the hope I would say yes to letting her have a duck.
The second the request entered my ears, I visualized duck poop all over our newly built paver patio and waterfall fountain and without having to think much further on the subject, I heard
"No. Absolutely not" leave my lips.
"Well my friend wants one too and her parents won't let her have one at her house. Can we please keep them here?"
"Hmm I wonder why her parents don't want ducks"
We did that back and forth exchange at least 15 times over a couple of days. (Obviously I guess I'm a pushover or she wouldn't have kept pushing...parenting epiphony 💡)
Well as Easter neared, and I thought of how much my girl loves animals, how much they fill her soul, my heart softened and after much research and gathering opinions from duck owners, I decided I could spare the patio by having an enclosure. Many duck owners shared that they loved their ducks' personalities but they were just so messy, poopy and stinky. One of those duck owners said they'd take them if they became a problem. With that exit strategy, I was on board. I'd surprise Alexis (and her friend) with Easter ducklings.
There is no doubt they are messy little creatures. They poop a very gross poop about every 10 minutes while they are waddling around the kitchen. Thank goodness for laminate flooring. We just wipe it with toilet paper and follow with a wet paper towel. Their bedding needs to be changed every few days to prevent our house from stinking, and their water tray needs to be dumped once or twice a day because they mix their bedding in it. Their bedding breaks down to sawdust and its wet around the water dish, so every time we bring them out, it drops all over the floor and we have to sweep that area.
But even after all this mess, they are still so worth it!
Super Quick Growth!
We have been incredibly surprised at how fast the ducklings have grown! It has been fun watching their speedy youth flash before our eyes, but it's also making us feel a little wistful as we long for the 2 days that they could be cuddled, cupped in our hands. Their feet peeled and shed skin, making room for their new growth, their beaks are noticeably bigger each day, and their tail feathers keep developing, giving them the cute little duck behinds that make ducks so adorable. They are both standing taller each day as they stretch up and flap their tiny wings.
It sure is fun watching them learn and excel at swimming. It was impressive to see how natural it was for them even on their first swim, but even more exciting to watch them on day two when they both dove under water and darted around. They've already graduated to bathtub swimming!
Another blessing of #Coronavirus #Socialdistancing
I have had the pleasure of spending a lot more time enjoying these ducklings with the kids than I would have had school been in. It's been a great way to connect with my kids as I watch the pure pleasure in their faces that these fluffy little animals bring, (especially Alexis'). They are definitely filling what would have been an entertainment void during this time. Who needs the movie theater or amusement park when they can have ducklings? 🤨😉
The Power of a Growth Mindset
Oftentimes when we're first presented with a new idea (as I was with getting ducks), our subconscious minds immediately go back through all of our prior experiences, feelings associated with them, and everything we only currently can derive about this new experience from these connections we have to it. Mine went to memories of my aunt and uncle's house, where they had a pond and ducks. When walking through the grass, you had to watch out for duck poo. It was everywhere- all over the pond rocks and all over the yard.
This was where my mind went of course because its one of few connections I have made with ducks, other than ducks in the wild.
This is a decent filtering system, because our brains can't take in every new thing. We would never get anything accomplished. We would be overwhelmed!
But understanding the way our brain is trying to protect us, but sometimes limits us because of this filtering system, can help us not miss new opportunities that could be a blessing to us. I'm grateful I had a change of mind and heart to allowing my daughter to become a duck owner. It definitely opened the door to a lot of fun and excitement.
▶ Part of a growth mindset is being willing to learn the new skills that will be required for the new information or opportunity we have allowed past our filter.
Making the decision to surprise Alexis with ducklings has given us the opportunity for a lot of learning, work and some difficulty as we figure out how to create a nice place for them to live in our yard.
There are a lot of things to consider as we design a run for them. We just bought a chicken coop, with nesting boxes up high, but with further research, ducks like to nest on the ground. So we'll keep looking at our options. Our neighbor has offered an old ground level chicken coop out of their junk pile which we could fix up. So there's an option that requires work and innovation.
Other things to consider:
Their swimming area- probably a kiddie pool, and how to empty and clean the pool each week, how to build the run with the capability of doing that and not having a muddy mess... keeping the area free from stench, which was what some duck owners complained about. So much to think about and plan for.
I have to admit, the project seems a little daunting. I think I'll hand it over to the duck owners. This will give Alexis and her friend some good thinking and processing skills. What a good responsibility and project for a teen. 👍
👀 Watch for a follow up post in a couple of months to see how Alexis ended up addressing all these ideas to make a workable duck run!
Comment below- Have you had a similar experience with opening your mind to something new? How has it blessed your life?