April 20, 2009

Don't Wash a Duck

Well-intentioned children can wreak havoc. Once my friend Stephanie and I decided to make canned peach tarts or muffins or mini pie type things in my mom's muffin pan while Phyllis the babysitter played away on the piano in the other room. That was chaos but nothing compared to the time we completely coated our hair with handfuls of mayonnaise. It was days before it all came out. My mother explained to us that Steph's mom had very brittle short hair, mayonnaise was something she used used (sparingly)to condition it. The same measures were not necessary for two little girls with thick, healthy, waist-length hair. But she told us too late. If we'd only known the power of dishwashing liquid then......

One day, around the same age, I did quite the opposite to three dirty ducks at our summer farm. I filled a dishpan with warm water and dishwashing liquid and washed the ducks one by one. Then I noticed something weird. They couldn't walk. It took all the power their little legs had to propel them forward one step and then they'd roll over on the driveway and struggle to their feet again. I went inside and told mom the ducks were acting strangely after I'd given them a bath and she came out to look. And then she ran back inside hooping and laughing and called my grandmother on the phone.

Dishwashing liquid removes oils, ducks need oils on their feathers to repel water or else their feathers fill with water and the poor things can't lift themselves. I know that now. They don't teach these things in science class unless there's an oil tanker accident in the news. Well, it didn't take long for them to dry off enough to walk again. It's not like I crippled them for life or anything. Just an afternoon.

3 comments:

rosemary said...

The things I did were not quite so innocent.....probably best to not go there for me.

CRAIG and DIANE said...

Loved this entry... FYI, Stop by my blog, I left something there for you!

Mom said...

I will not wash my ducks with detergent. Thanks for the advice.