Monday, 30 June 2008


Baby Duck was giving me a cuddle the other day when he looked at me lovingly. “Mum, we bought you a DVD for your birthday.”

I managed not to laugh. “Really? Don’t tell me what it is – it’s supposed to be a surprise.”

“It had a dragon on the front,” he said. “But I can’t remember what it’s called.”

What kid hasn’t done this? My mum still tells the story of my brother announcing, “Daddy! We bought you some slippers!” the minute Dad walked in the door, despite many promises to keep it a secret. And that was more than 50 years ago.

Or there was Drama Duck’s classic effort when she was about 6, and we’d bought an umbrella for her daddy’s birthday. Having heard the story of my brother’s slip-up so many times, I was very careful to impress upon her the need to keep the purchase secret. I didn’t have a great deal of hope, but I figured it was worth trying. I also warned my husband on the phone that we’d been shopping, and he should try to discourage any attempts to reveal all.

Sure enough, he came home from work and I heard her run to him. “Daddy, daddy! I’ve got a surprise!”

“Remember you can’t tell me what it is,” he warned.

“Oh, it’s not about the umbrella,” she assured him. “This is a different surprise.”