As I watch Betty and her duck get closer by the day, I become increasingly panicked. She loves that duck, and I actually do believe that if she had to choose between me and that duck, the duck would win hands down. Tom against the duck would be a harder one to predict. However, I’m not sure how much more constant chewing and sucking a duck can withstand, and I fear that his demise may be imminent.
For the last month I have been logging onto eBay every day and scouring the site for look-a-like ducks. Tom says that this shows that I don’t have enough to do with my time. Tom doesn’t realise the seriousness of the situation. Even the postman is in the know, and each time he knocks on the door, clutching a parcel and needing a signature, he chuckles and says: ‘Another duck for the little ‘un then?’ And each time, I laugh nervously, then hurriedly open the package, before the postman has even made it to the garden gate. I either laugh or cry, depending on what mood I’m in, at the horror of ducks that I see before me. Our house is now full of random, singing, dancing, talking, quacking, wiggling duck nightmares, none of which compare in any way to the original.
I have been on the phone to the H&M (which is where the duck was naively purchased) customer services in Sweden several times, spouting off duck product codes to them and pleading with them to start making them again, or demanding that they search their warehouse for a leftover rogue duck that may have escaped before making it to the shop floor. I have even thought about asking them to put up posters in their shop window saying ‘Have you seen this duck? - if so please contact … etc’. The best that Hennes could offer was a dog made from the same material, and of a similar weight. In desperation I bought this stuffed puppy, held it in front of Betty and made quacking noises. Betty remained unmoved, though perhaps slightly angry.
In a last ditch attempt to keep my daughter sweet, and myself sane, I decided to try to make a copy of the duck myself. I spent hours sourcing materials that closely matched, and then got to work on my sewing machine. After about five attempts and some odd-looking fleecy matter, I finally managed to produce something that loosely resembled the real thing.
The following morning I casually left the fake on the window sill to see how Betty would react. At first glance, and from a distance, she got very excited and I think was tricked into thinking that it was the real thing. When I handed it to her saying: ‘Look, it’s your duck,’ she inspected it for about half a second and then callously threw it as far away from her as possible. And as if that wasn’t enough, she then proceeded to run her Wheely Bug backwards and forwards over it.