The World’s Tiniest Dictator Learns How to Feed the Geese

We went down to the pond the other day to feed the geese. In typical toddler tyrant fashion, Diego

directed me the entire way to the pond from his stroller/throne.

 “Go dat way!” he screeched pointing toward a poison ivy infested tangle completely off the forest path.

“Me eat grapes!” he declared a few minutes later, after he had finished tantrumming over the fact that I

wouldn’t roll him directly through the center of the poison ivy jungle. From over the top of the stroller, I

could just see the tips of his chubby fingers thrust into the air, 100% certain that grapes would manifest

themselves directly into his grimy little paws.

“Me need stick!” he demanded next, with grape juice dripping down his cheeks. And so I spent upwards

of fifteen minutes offering him different widths and lengths of sticks while he shook his head and

furrowed his brows reproachfully until miraculously the correct stick finally appeared.

By the time we made it to the pond, I was ready to lie down in the grass and take a nap. But Diego was

ready for action. He leapt from the stroller, grabbing the loaf of bread, and began to chase the geese

who had been happily sunning themselves at the edge of the pond. “Ducks!” Diego yelled at the top of

his voice. “Me feed you, ducks!”

The geese wisely leapt from their spot and began running in every direction. “Ducks! Come here, ducks!

Eat this. Eat. This. Bread. Ducks!” Diego shrieked as he tailed the geese vigorously. In no time at all the

geese were diving headfirst into the pond, certain that anything was probably better than being fed by

the small monster who was chasing them.

But Diego was deflated. “Mami,” he said walking slowing toward me with smushed bread balled into his

tiny fists. “Ducks. Not. Hun-gy?” And though I sympathized with the frightened geese, I also felt bad for


Even I, an adult, could almost taste the pleasure of tossing bread to the geese and watching them

gobble up every last crumb. Heck, I feel the same disappointment when I feed my family sometimes.

Particularly when I’ve prepared a dinner that no one seems especially enthused about and everyone

leaves the table with their plates half full, I want to run after them and shriek, “Eat this! Hey, come back

here! Eat. This. Now!”

So I sat down next to Diego in the grass and tried to explain in two-year-old speak that geese like quiet

while they are eating. “Shhhhhhhhh,” I said while we broke the bread into bite size pieces and began to

toss them into the pond, where the geese were still floating around and eyeing us skeptically.

“Shhhhhhh,” Diego said as he tossed a crumb to a large goose with a black neck who was beginning to

look slightly interested.

“Shhhhhhh,” Diego said as he tossed another piece to a turtle who bobbed his head out of the water.

“Shhhhhhh,” Diego said as he tossed a chunk to a seagull who came swooping down from above.

The seagull squawked loudly in appreciation. And Diego looked up at me and smiled. The seagull stood

beside us and squawked again, in eager anticipation of another treat.

Diego reached out and shook his finger at the bird. “Be quiet!” he yelled at top volume to the

unsuspecting seagull. “DUCKS. EATING. BIRDS. QUIET. NOW.”

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