How to entertain a child with trash cans and ducks

I recently wrote a post on “kids say the darndest things“, to which I assigned a dedicated page because it was too funny to let it get buried in the rest of my posts. After what happened the other night, I figure that kids not only say, but also DO the darndest things…

After having dinner, my two-year-old son insisted on going out for a walk. Not wanting to crush his enthusiasm for after-meal exercise and willing to encourage a healthy habit, I took him out for a stroll around our neighborhood. We’re lucky to live near the San Diego river, close enough to see it from our windows. For those of you who don’t live in the San Diego area, the San Diego river welcomes hundreds of bird species and provides water to many green trees, quite an unusual sight for the desert-reclaimed San Diego county.

Mallard ducks

So my son and I walked to the end of our street and right down to the river bank, while he mentioned his intent to “feed the ducks”. Mallard ducks are quite friendly here, especially since people often provide them food. Unfortunately, we had left with empty pockets, so by the time we got to the water, many hungry mama ducks promptly made their way towards us while we just stood there. Quickly surrounded by over 20 ducks close enough to nimble our toes, I decided it was time to cut the walk short and we headed back up towards the walking path. Those mama ducks had their mind set on getting some dinner and proceeded on following us. Now, picture a mom and her child being followed by a walking flock of ducks. This started to look like a scene right out of Hitchcock’s The Birds, or maybe just a case of duck imprinting gone bad. I ended the human chase by picking up my son and jogging away. I’m afraid those ducks know where we live, as we’ve seen them hanging out on our street, in our driveway, and even walking into our garage as we were leaving one morning! Has anyone told ducks that people actually eat them?

On our way back to the house, I stopped by our mailbox. My son was eager to earn his “help out” sticker and volunteered to carry the mail for me. How nice, I expressed, as I handed him out the stack of envelopes. Well, what originally seemed like a kind gesture turned to wickedness in an instant. I witnessed my son perform the fastest dunk ever seen on our street, as he tossed all of the envelopes into an open trash can!!! Yes, it was garbage day and our street was lined up with garlands of grey, green and blue cans on both sides. I’ll have to remember that dunk the day he asks me to enroll him in the basketball team…

Trash cans

My first thought was “what the hell did you do that for?”, but that’s a useless question to ask a two-year-old who’s been working at developing cool pranks over the past few months. His wide grin was enough to show me that he had succeeded at his most brilliant master plan yet. I looked in the trash can, a blue recycling bin obviously owned by someone who also uses it for regular trash, considering the suspicious brownness of its inside… I considered leaving the mail inside (after all, paper is recyclable), but one of the envelopes was a birthday card for me, so I was afraid it’d be bad karma to abandon it. I proceeded on retrieving our mail, which was laying at the very bottom of the empty bin.

After my ribs stop hurting from the pressure of leaning into the bin, I asked my son for an apology, which took a while to obtain. After a few days of reflection, I have to say this practical joke was indeed pretty funny and I felt compelled to write about it. I just hope not too many neighbors saw me digging into that trash can. It can’t have been a pretty sight…

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