The Ugly Duckling

I once had a pet duck named Paddy. He hatched in my high school genetics class and imprinted on me, so I got to bring him home. This yellow-downed duckling followed me around, snuggled on my shoulder, and even snored.

That summer, however, he hit his adolescence, and the phrase “ugly duckling” acquired clear and literal meaning. A few adult feathers–hard, dark, and untamed–protruded roughly through his soft yellow down.

He’d peep cheerfully, but then a deep, rough “quack” would erupt from his throat, and he’d look around as shocked as the rest of us about where that horrible sound came from.

His legs and neck lengthened, and in some spots the soft down disappeared before the adult feathers came in, so he had a few bald spots.

It was a rough time for Paddy, who sat on my lap, now way too huge to sit on my shoulder, and followed me around with the soft padding sound of his newly huge feet. But he’d lost his baby strut and stumbled now and then, off-balance from the giant feathers sticking out here and there.

I thought of Paddy today when I thought of this blog post and Carrot Condo. I sometimes feel self-conscious making Carrot Condo’s business so public. I’m just three months into the second year, and I am doing so much more and so much better than one year ago, but … I feel like I’m in the ugly duckling stage.

New products are about to spring forth, but at this particular moment, it’s a slightly jumbled collection of starts: sketches, rough final drafts, queries out to printers, notes about paper options, ever-growing confusion about shipping costs and options, and the feeling of so-much-potential if I could just find six more hours in each day!

Well, all that’s to say–I’ve got a project to show you soon. In two weeks hopefully. Thank you for staying with me during my ugly duckling stage. Paddy finally formed into a beautiful (and fat) mallard. Carrot Condo, I suspect, will face this ugly stage with each growth spurt, but I can live with that as long as you’re all still here cheering me on.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of some mouse cookies I made for my friend who just turned two. I thoroughly enjoyed making them; they’re a recipe from my childhood. And tomorrow I will make another childhood favorite: play dough; although we called it “salt clay.” And because I thought I did not have any food coloring (I just found it in a box buried in the back of a cupboard), I bought some yesterday: neon! Neon pink, neon yellow, neon blue, neon green! This is a gift for twin boys having a birthday party this weekend. I hope the neon works out, I hope they like play dough, and I hope that if it’s a disaster I can come up with something else to make before the party.


Thank you for reading! I’ll hope to see you here in two weeks!

3 thoughts on “The Ugly Duckling

  1. I know i say this a lot but I LOVE this post. I love the analogy, i love hearing about Paddy and I love hearing about your perseverance and I’m very excited to see what is coming in two weeks! This post made my day. 🙂


  2. At least your duck blossomed, as has carrot condo. I can’t wait to see what you have in store. Your products are fabulous even without the addiational six hours!


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