All Of The Five Little Ducks Came Back
I learned of Flora’s (a pseudonym) birth by a text message with a picture an hour after her birth, which was unexpectedly straightforward. I can’t tell you what a relief this was to me, since Flora’s parents (and now Flora, obviously) are the friends who live in Darkest Rural Victoria. When Flora’s mum was pregnant, people came up to her often on the streets of her village to share their birth stories with her. None of these tales involved making it to the hospital. Flora’s dad travels a lot for work, so I have been very worried about my friend giving birth in her kitchen, since that is where she usually is. If that had happened it would have been fine. She would have wrapped the baby in a clean tea towel and put her to bed in a roasting pan.
But I’m awfully glad, nonetheless, that Flora waited until her mother made it to the hospital to be born. When I spoke to her earlier, my friend sounded like she had just won first prize in a national sausage-making championship. She was giddy with delight.
‘How big is she?’ I asked rather pointlessly, since that is what you ask when you are too far away to do what you really want to do, which is run to the hospital and smother your friend with kisses and chew on her newborn’s knees.
‘I don’t know,’ she answered. ‘Baby sized!’
Which is perfect, really. It is very exciting to see someone you adore experience a new and unimaginable kind of love. Now her heart will feel overinflated and bouncy with joy. In a few days she might stumble a little when her hormones go a bit wiggly, but for now I hope the joy keeps flooding in. But even with the joy there will be probably be a dawning realisation today that her life is forever changed. She now has mother’s eyes, which are sometimes crazy eyes, and she might become oversensitive to anything involving offspring and separation therefrom.
When May Blossom was a couple of days old I was completely undone by a song on a compilation of children’s music I received. The song was ‘Five Little Ducks’. You probably know it: ‘Five little ducks went out one day, over the hills and far away. The mother duck said quack quack quack quack, but only four little ducks came back.’ Only FOUR came back? FOUR? It gets worse. With each verse another baby duck doesn’t come back. It’s a horrifying song. H had to keep reminding me that if I could stand to listen all the way to the end, all five little ducks would be found.
But for four verses, the mother duck keeps losing ducklings. I’m getting teary just writing about it. So my advice to my darling friend is this: cuddle your little duck all day today and forever. Don’t listen to children’s music until your hormones settle down.
My friend is miles less silly than I am, though, so there’s a good chance that hearing that song will just make her send someone out for peking duck and pancakes to celebrate Flora’s first day in the big world.