Duck, Duck, Duck

by

Flamingo.

He said with a coy little look.

Oh my god, my little boy made his first joke with me.

I just about died.

It actually topped his new favorite word for me, which when told that he combined two of his father’s favorite foods into one delicious noun: “cheesebutter,” over the weekend when his papa was cooking dinner.

Yeah, baby, put some cheesebutter on that please.

In the back yard of the house in Cole Valley there is a lovely little swath of grass, a couple of Meyer lemon trees, a deck that rises over the yard and a large rattan couch and chair with assorted outdoor pillows and cushions.

When the weather is nice my guy and I will sit on the back porch and I will point out things to him.

“Lemon tree.”

“Grass.”

“Jasmine.”

“Raspberry plant.”

“Clover.”

And he will point out things to me.

“Duck.”

“No, sweetie, that’s a flamingo,” I say pointing to the pink plastic bird abandoned in the back yard, an odd gift from a visiting friend, because, you know, everyone needs a pink flamingo in their yard, right?

“Duck,” he says again very adamant, very serious, “duck.”

“Flamingo.”

“Duck.”

“Fla-ming-go.” I will say, drawing out the word long, sounding it out for his ears.

“Duck, duck, duck,” he says, giggling and saying the word as fast as his little 18 month old mouth can make up the words.

“Goose!” I throw in for a twist.

He laughs, I laugh, and then he says, of course, to get in the last word, “duck!”

And there it is.

The gist of many my afternoon’s of conversation.

That ain’t too bad when you think about it.

I don’t have anyone breathing down my neck to get a report done, I don’t have an employee calling sick with “stomach flu” or even better, “food poisoning,” I don’t have a boss monitoring me all the time.

Although I am on nanny cam.

I don’t know how often that it is monitored, but it’s there.

They basically have security cameras in all the rooms.

I would too if I lived in their house, it’s a nice house, they have nice things.

But occasionally I know that mom will slip in an observation and say something about my routine or make a comment and I know pretty much that there was some camera watching going on.

However, I don’t believe that they really spend a lot of time monitoring me.

I feel quite trusted and cared for.

Mom makes sure the tea drawer is stocked with teas I like and she has drawn up a contract basically putting me on salary to assure that I am not losing money if she happens to come back early from yoga class or acupuncture or work.

She actually had to work at the office today and wouldn’t it be the same day that I forgot to set my alarm.

It happens every once in a great while and though it did not throw me into a panic (I still made my bed, had breakfast, washed, dressed, read my daily readings, and addressed the powers that be to guide my day) I still was on a hustle to make sure that I got to work on time.

14 minutes.

14.

Door to door.

Up hill.

Well, the hill isn’t all that steep, but it is a grind and my legs know it and to push a little harder this morning to make sure that I got there on time, so that mom could leave on time, was important.

I popped a sweat three blocks earlier than I normally do.

I got my cardio today, I did, I did.

I got to work with five minutes to spare and wiped my brow down and drank half a liter of water out of my Sigg bottle.

I put the bike in the garage, locked it up, and headed up the stairs to the kitchen.

Where my guy was busy putting on his morning oatmeal mask.

He knows how to use a spoon, but usually what that entails is scooping up the oatmeal and then grabbing it off the spoon with his other hand and shoving that into his mouth.

Or eyebrows, or ears.

I find oatmeal on him for hours later.

I always tell him to really enjoy this time, oatmeal masks in the morning, two naps, being pushed around in a stroller, sung to, massaged, held, cuddled, I could go on, he’s living the life, basically.

The mom tells me that she took him in for his 18 month check up and the doctor was blown away by his vocabulary.

He’s a verbal boy, not all boys are.

But he’s got a super smart mom and dad, mom’s got a doctorate, dad’s an engineer, he’s not from stupid folks.

And then there’s me.

I know that the kids I take care of are a head of the curve partially because of me too.

I teach them.

I read to them.

I talk to them like they are people.

I tell stories.

We dance.

I mean, learning is no task, it is fun, when did it become a challenge for me to learn something new?  How young was I when I was informed that I should be careful and hold back and not leap?

Too young.

Anyway, I digress.

The mom related the story of how over the weekend he finally said flamingo.

He would not perform, he would not say the word for me, but he did slip out a sly little quiet “duck,” and I saw a glint in his eye, underneath all the oatmeal.

And two and a half hours later when I was changing his diaper in the nursery we were talking, farm animals, you know, what they sound like and all, “what does a dog say?”

“Woof.”

“What does a cow say?”

“Moo.”

“What does a kitty say?”

“Meow.”

“What does a duck say?”

“Flamingo!”

What?

Oh my god.

I almost dropped the diaper.

I grabbed his toes and said, “what does a duck say?”

He giggled.

“Quack.”

I just about died.

“Flamingo,” I said, waiting.

“Duck!”

“Flamingo!”

It was awesome, made my day, and my day was a long busy, baby juggling kind of day.

But every once in a while he would slip in a “flamingo” and I would laugh.

My boss has a great sense of humour.

The moral of the story is not that there is a silver lining in every cloud.

But there may be a flamingo.

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