A hadeda delivers a surprise package: May I introduce you to the Twins?

22 March 2013

This morning, there was a loud racket in the back garden.

“Squawk! Haaaaa-haaaaa-haaaaa! SQUAAAAwk!!”

Miss Tuffy-Cat came racing inside the garden flatlet, all bushed up and flustered.

“Oh!” She cried, “Oh! Those horrid birds are back!”

She found herself to a sunny spot on the tiles, and starting licking herself furiously in an attempt to calm herself down, all the while muttering to herself.

A hadeda has delivered a very unusual package for me
A hadeda has delivered a very unusual package for me

I had been sitting at my desk, sorting through some photos for my blogs, and enjoying the peace and quiet. Well, that’s until the hadedas arrived. My goodness, they can be loud! I don’t quite understand why they have to announce both their arrival and their departure with such enthusiasm, as though they’re shouting the news to all their comrades on the surrounding roofs and treetops. Actually, they’re fascinating birds with their long, scimitar-like beaks, which they use to detect and extract earthworms from underneath the ground with unerring – and frightening – precision. Those poor worms don’t stand a chance.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you – they’ve left something for you, Flat Kathy,” Miss Tuffy-Cat announced, elegantly stretching one leg into the air for balance, as she twisted herself around her own axis.

I went outside to have a look, and saw a small box with a yellow ribbon tied around it.

What is this?
What is this?

How curious! Oh look! There’s a note slipped underneath the ribbon.

“Well? Are you going to read it or not?” inquired Miss Tuffy-Cat impatiently, having snuck up on me from behind.

I hurriedly opened it up and read it out loud:

“Dear Miss Flat Kathy

I have heard that you are a very nice person, and that you are kind-hearted and friendly. Please will you look after my twins for a little while? I can’t look after them right now.

They were born on 09 March 2013. The boy was born first; he is called Thabo. The girl is called Bheki.

Please tell them I love them very much, and that I hope that I will see them again soon. Thank you, Thandeka.”

The note explains the sad story of Thabo and Bheki
The note explains the sad story of Thabo and Bheki

What a sad story!

“Is it normal for hadedas to deliver babies?” I asked Miss Tuffy-Cat. “I thought it’s usually storks?”

“Well, we don’t have too many storks here in Cape Town,” she replied helpfuly. “I suppose the hadedas are the closest equivalent?”

I noticed two pairs of big curious eyes staring at me from inside the box! Miss Tuffy-Cat assisted me in opening the box, and we sat gazing at the two little ones tucked away inside it.

“Aaahh! Aren’t they just adorable?” I gushed.

An instant later, the Twins burst into tears and started to howl – an ear-splitting howl that was louder than the cry of the hadedas, if you can imagine that! A furry ball flashed past, as Miss Tuffy-Cat sprinted to safety. I clasped my ears, and closed my eyes in horror. Oh my goodness! How was it possible that two little ones could cry at such a volume?

“Please stop crying,” I pleaded, “Oh, please, do stop crying.”

I picked them up gingerly, and began to rock them, gently humming whatever tunes sprung to mind. Thank goodness I’ve been spending some time with Little N, so I remembered a couple of nursery rhymes!

Suddenly, Thabo stopped crying, and hiccuped, staring at me with big eyes. I smiled gratefully at him, “Thank you, Thabo. Thank you!”

He smiled back shyly, and my heart just melted. His sister Bheki, who was taking a big breath just before launching into another howl, glanced at her brother, uncertainly, and stopped mid-howl. The sudden silence was deafening. I’ve heard others say this, but this was the first time I’ve actually experienced it. Phew!

Awww, aren't they just the cutest babies?
Awww, aren’t they just the cutest babies?

“Alright then,” I said brightly, smiling at Thabo and Bheki in turn. “Shall we get you a glass of milk then?”

Miss Tuffy-Cat, who had returned when silence fell, wrapped her tail around my leg at the mention of the word ‘milk’. She purred seductively, “Would you pour me a bit of milk too, please?”

“Of course,” I replied, gently placing the Twins back into their box and carrying them inside the house. Contented sounds, as all three drank – and lapped – their milk.

“I think this will be fun, Miss Tuffy-Cat,” I said, cheerfully. “I can do this.”

“Hmm…. are you quite ready for motherhood, Flat Kathy?” asked Miss Tuffy-Cat dubiously, cleaning her whiskers one at a time. “Do you know how to change nappies? And what to feed them?”

“Not yet, but I’ll figure it out,” I said. “I’m sure Reggie and Richard will help, and so will Aunty Karin, and Dr Lizette and Dr Felix have so much experience with Little N, so perhaps they’ll even be willing to babysit sometimes… ”

Miss Tuffy-Cat glanced at me with a worried look. “As long as you don’t expect me to babysit,” she muttered, stalking off to one of her secret hideaways.

A family photo with the Twins
Our first family photo: me and the Twins – Thabo on the right, Bheki on the left

4 thoughts on “A hadeda delivers a surprise package: May I introduce you to the Twins?

  1. Here’s what I think. Somebody here has the makings for writing a fabulous children’s book! Someone here is a pretty darn good creative author. Just sayin’.

    Like

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