Duckling Diary

Editor’s note: This story was written by Judith’s daughter, 11-year-old Brigit Brown.

As I thought about my duckling’s birth, I realized it was a miraculous story. I was confused though. How should I write it? As I do with many problems, I went to one of my animals. Because this story is about her I went to M&M, the duckling.

“I think you should make them quack up,” she said. So here goes!

Her egg-citing journey began at 9:00 p.m. five days ago. I was checking the egg in the incubator for the last time that night. Peter, my brother, was in his reading chair. Mom was in the kitchen. And Pa was sleeping down the hallway. I glanced at the egg. What was that? A small pyramid had appeared!

“Mom, come look!” I yelled, “It’s hatching!”

Mom came running. “SHHHHHH,” she said with a finger to her lips to keep me from waking Pa.

“Can I sleep out here?” I asked in my best begging voice.

“Just be quiet,” Mom said yawning.

“Can I sleep out here too?” Peter asked.

“No, you wouldn’t get any sleep,” Mom said.

She was right. It was hard to sleep. I would rest for an hour and then I would think, “Something’s happening.”
The next morning I read books next to the incubator. I only left my perch to eat.  After 20 hours I gave up on the duckling. I went to the computer. I had some work to do. After an hour I thought something might have happened, but I doubted it. I checked anyway.

There was another crack! I was so relieved. My friend Cami, slept over and we watched the egg together for night #2. Cami and I didn’t sleep. We took pictures of the egg and kept our ears to the incubator.

After nothing more happened we went to the internet for advice. It was bad news. “If the duck doesn’t hatch within 12 hours it will probably die,” I read. “Leave it alone. There is nothing you can do.”

But we heard tiny peeps. The poor thing needed help. After 40 hours I asked Mom if I could help it along. And I kept asking. Mom finally gave in to my pleading. I took up a pair of tweezers. My hands were shaking. I was a surgeon, but I had no training! Carefully I peeled back the shell.

“It’s not going to live,” Peter said. But I ignored him. At 45 hours, I dumped the little critter out of the egg. The duckling was free and moving.

“The yolk’s on you!” I told Peter. He rolled his eyes, but he rushed to see it. The duckling was alive…but it twitched constantly and looked like a deformed tarantula. I wondered if my surgery had caused it to be handicapped. The poor little thing was a mess. I didn’t want to look.

But the next day things brightened. The duck was dry and she quit twitching. I knew that ducklings start to swim 24 hours after hatching, so I filled up the sink with warm water. When I set her in the water, her feet uncurled. She looked like a duck after all!

I put her on my body and she waddled up and stuck her beak in my nose. She was “digging for gold.” When she saw my teeth she pecked at them, “digging for silver!”

I named her M&M for Milagro’s Miracle. You could never tell she started out with a 45 hour birth process and a deformed body. Five days after being dumped out of the egg, she’s running after me around the house.

M&M’s story is truly a miracle! She taught me to never give up no matter how hard it is, or what people say. She tells me, “If you are having trouble, send your problems to God. He will get you through it.”

About Judith Costello

A certified art therapist, Judith is the author of numerous articles and books on parenting and child development, including Zen Parenting. She writes from Moriarty, New Mexico.