16 Dec 2020
Walking the dog by the river the other day, we detoured off the path to avoid a family of ducks who were a little perturbed about the approaching ball of fluff.
It was a laaarge family.
I’d seen this group before – mum and dad duck and around 10-12 babies. I couldn’t get them to stand still so I could count them, but there were definitely at least ten little ones.
The other day as they were standing confused on the path trying to decide which body of water to make a charge for to escape the sniffing dog, I noticed that they were all fairly grown up. I knew it was the same family because they were still just a smidge smaller than the adults, but they all still hung around together waiting for their parents to tell them how to deal with a potential canine encounter.
This got me thinking about families with lots of siblings. I know a few people who come from families of 8-10 children, and no they weren’t all Catholics – some obviously came from cold places with no television or electric blankets.
I had always thought it would be good to come from an extra large family – I was one of four kids, but I figured more siblings meant more kids to play with. But the reality of most of the people I know from large families, is that there is often a very diverse age range in the siblings.
Imagine if you had ten siblings – all the same age!?!?!!!
There would not be such a thing as personal attention, I don’t expect. When it’s time to eat, everyone eats. If you don’t eat, too bad. When it’s time to sleep, everyone sleeps. When it’s time to learn something, everyone learn it because Mum is not going to repeat herself. And if you all go for a walk, for goodness sakes don’t wander off because it won’t be until the next census that they notice someone is missing.
This was probably much the same as in the human large families I know of, but at least in those there would be an older sibling or two to help keep an eye on the youngsters.
Of course in the duck world, the siblings won’t hang out together forever. Once they are old enough to know where and what to eat, and how to avoid small fluffy dogs who are intent on using the same footpath they are currently waddling across, then they move off to find a likely candidate that they could have a bunch of mini-me’s with. While the mum will just have another ten or twelve offspring the following year. Maybe with the same dad, who knows? I’m not judging.
A family reunion of a human large family must be amazing, but it can’t hold a candle to those duck family reunions.
The photo doesn’t capture the entire family, by the way. The parents hadn’t trained them in photo awareness yet. Or the little blighters weren’t paying attention when they did.