Thursday, 11 June 2009

Methuselah, eat your heart out

I remember when I was a kid, how old everyone over the age of, say, 14, was. Twenty-year-olds were indistinguishable from 60-year-olds. They all just belonged to the category “ancient”. I’d be reading the newspaper and find some story about a 25-year-old killed in a car crash and think, “Oh well, at least it wasn’t anybody young. At least she’d lived.”

Baby Duck made a birthday card for his beloved teacher last term. She can’t be any more than late twenties, if that. He drew a careful picture of her blowing out her candles on the front of the card. The candles were those ones you get in the shape of numbers.

“How old do you think Mrs F is?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said, “so I just picked a really big number.”

The numbers said “81”.

The other day he was eating a bowl of grapes and I took one. Very magnanimously, he offered to share the bowl. Mindful of all that positive parenting advice that says you should praise behaviour you would like to encourage, I told him how kind he was to share.

“I want to be really nice to you while I still can,” he confided.

“Do you mean before you grow up and move out?” I asked.

“Mmm. And before you die.”

Guess I’d better book my spot in the retirement village soon. Fortunately for my battered ego, Demon Duck was given an email account at school last week. She spent the weekend emailing sweet messages to everyone she could think of.

One of the ones I received said:

“i love you mummy. it's like you are a star and i am a twinkle. when we get together we shimmer and shine. that's why i love you so much.”

Much better to be a star than hovering on the brink of death! I feel better already.


  1. Awww.Twinkle and shine - that's a keeper, the kind of thing that makes being pecked by ducks worth it all.

  2. Love your story.
    My four year old told me recently, in the fine tradition of little nut brown hare, "I love you right around the university and back again, Mummy."
    What can one say except, "That's far, darling, very far!"

  3. Exactly, Pandababy! I must try to remember this the next time she's driving me crazy ...

    Hi, Jo! Your four-year-old -- my goodness! I can't believe she's four already. And of course she already knows words like "university" ... clever girl!

  4. Its so funny really. When I was a kid , I didnt understand anything about people dying but my three year old talks about it so coolly. Today's kids are so smart. Seriously, I loved ur story. It was so funny. Keep writing.

  5. Thanks, Swapna. Kids are funny, aren't they. Baby Duck seems obsessed with death lately -- very cheerful!