Sunday, May 25, 2008

Say G'day to Skipper

Never underestimate the massive strength of Pester Power by an eight year old, dear reader. Especially when it has been occurring on an hourly basis - every day - for the past year. I tried everything to dissuade our now nine-year old daughter Sapphire, telling her the usual lines like:
  • We'll see
  • You're probably allergic to them like you are to cats - do you want your eyes to swell shut again or your Mummy to get a 'visit' from the child protection agency?
  • I need to chat about it with Dad. No not right now, but when he's at home and we have time to discuss it in detail. No, I'm not going to make a specific appointment.
  • Hmm, why not find out more about them on the internet?
  • Didn't you say that their teeth get really long and they bite?
  • True, Milly could bite too, seeing as she's a dog. But she's a friendly one, more likely to lick than nip. Isn't she enough for you? Oh yes, true again, she seems to have chosen me as her 'Alpha' but she likes you too. What's that? *Sigh*, well yes, when you're the one feeding her she does.

....all the way to the hardest, meanest most unfair one of the lot that I'm sure most parents will use out of sheer desperation and for an almost primal need for some respite from the pestering: "We need to see you doing more chores at home, behaving better at school and not answering back every time we ask you to do something and then maybe - just maybe - you will be ready for the responsibility of having a pet of your own."

And you know what the little so-and-so did? She completely blew my prediction out of the water. Instead of giving up the campaign for manners, tidyness and tolerance after a couple of days, she persevered.

"Mum, I'll feed the chooks for you," or "Hey Mum, I've made my bed and tidied up my desk, do you want to see?", and "My school bag is unpacked and I've taken the tissues out of my culottes before putting them in the hamper." Each day I was accosted with her bright face, her hopeful eyes and a desperation to prove herself worthy; trying so hard to keep up with her chores and even create new ones. The final stick for this camel's back was her "Have you spoken to the teacher yet? She wants to tell you about an award I'm getting for academic achievement and for being a caring leader." Poo. Bum. Bugger. Shit. Fart. Sapphire was really, genuinely, 110 percentedly doing her damnedest to earn herself a rabbit reward.

Then the magnificent Monique read my previous blog about the issue, and did absolutely nothing to strengthen my case for 'no'. Amanda Blair had recently interviewed an outstanding lady called Sally, owner/goddess/carer/marketer/nurse/rescuer/adopter and champion of all things rabbit oriented.

OK, so maybe it was worth a call.... And unfortunately, it was. It was obvious from the two conversations I had over the line with Sally that she was a passionate, kind, generous and genuine person who wanted to make sure that rabbits were treated decently and, if lost, not suited or mis-treated, be removed and given to good homes. I made an appointment for Love Chunks, Sapphire and myself to go and meet her on Sapph's birthday.

To write that my daughter was 'beside herself' is like saying that the Warner Bros Road-runner liked to get from A to B fairly quickly. Every few minutes she'd rush up and hug me, saying "Oh thank you Mum, thank you for trusting me enough to have a rabbit, I can't wait until Friday, oh thank you!" I'd have to clear my throat and blink away the surprise tears that threatened to reveal the chinks in my serious-and-sensible-and-sombre parental demeanour. I was probably as excited as she was.

And here she is, reverently holding her new bunny boy Skipper, looking for all the world like the proud mother of a newborn* baby.

She spent most of Friday holding him, patting him, stroking his ears and talking to him. Love Chunks earned The Coolest Dad Ever award by deciding that Skipper can come inside whenever Sapphire is home on the weekends or from school, and can stay in his hutch for meals and bed times.

Skipper has grown in confidence since Friday, when he blasted out bunny beans from his butt faster than a slug gun. Luckily, they seem to be just as dry and I wouldn't put it past myself - in a bleary, no-coffee-yet state, to mistake them for coffee beans and shove them into the Gaggia.

It was a huge relief to find that Milly was fascinated and not angered by the new addition to the family. She likes to lick Skipper's ears and he doesn't seem to flinch or mind in the slightest. She also seems to have developed a taste for the bunny beans she's found on the floor; so as revolting as it may seem, it's a bit of a cleaning bonus for us less-than-fully-houseproud pet owners.

It feels like I'm being attacked by the PMS Poltergeist a couple of weeks early, because it's made me all unavoidably teary. Sapphire was in her room making a video of Skipper familiarising himself with her - the tell-tale sounds of a few scattergun shots of bunny-butt beans and the scrabble of tiny claws on the floor - and Sapph's clear voiceover: "Is this a dream? Are you finally here with me? Did my Mum and Dad agree to have you? This has been the best birthday ever." Geez, there's never a tissue when I need one....
As I sit here in the spare room tapping away on the laptop, Sapphire's in the living room watching the Narnia DVD with Skipper on her lap and her head leaning on Love Chunks' shoulder whilst he is stroking Milly's warm velvet ears. It is such a beautiful scene. I'll ruin it by trying to describe it without resorting to corny cliches. Instead I think I'll stay here until the movie ends so that the damn tears don't sproing out again.
* Obviously this is not something we hope for at her age, and if Love Chunks had his way it would be never.


Baino said...

Haha . . I knew it! It's been a bunniful weekend. The last time I pulled that "if I never get 'could try harder' written on your school report you can go to Disneyland after year six" . . . it cost me a lot more than a bunny! (Well I had to throw in a trip to alpine Europe, England and the Channel Islands as well!) Glad she loves her bunny . . apparently you can toilet train them . . and is there anything dogs won't eat?

Anonymous said...

You can keep Sapphire in line when she seems to be derelict in her Skipper-minding duties by leaving out your cookbooks with the rabbit recipes earmarked.


River said...

You old softie, you.

davey said...

Holy frijoles, that is one cute bunny! Relieved Milly doesn't feel out of the loop too, that coulda been awkward -- I don't even know how you start exclusion counseling a dog.

Oh and rabbits like carrots, so buy like, heaps of carrots. You can have that one for free. x

Anonymous said...

You are such a softie...but then, you should have known, that with her being such a smart cookie, she would be able to persevere and meet all of your requirements.

I am also glad that my 2 girls do not read your blog...we ignored all the arguments and found a lovely home (not ours!) for the stray kittens.

Very cute bunny though...

Have Fun,

Lynda D

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Good luck in our BotB Battle!

myninjacockle said...

My big sister had a cat, I had guinea pigs and my little brother and sister had rabbits each. Plus a family dog and cat. The neighbours doberman came over and ate my guinea pigs and my sister's rabbit, leaving only Ben's rabbit dinner. Left alone it grew sullen, bitter, huge and effin vicious.

The whole family grew to fear it and its spiteful suprise attacks. I swear it chisseled its teeth into fangs which it would sink into your legs when it leapt out from under shrubs or from behind doors.

Eventually the family cat killed it and left the mangled back half as a trophy on the doorstep.

There was much rejoicing.

eleanor bloom said...

*sniff* Oh, that's so sweet!
Just so much cuteness all round (be careful you don't overdose)!

That really is the most beautiful bunny I've seen. Talk about the warm and fuzzies.

And re its droppings, my mum's dogs ate up the one's from the bunny I was bunny-sitting - they even looked like their (diet) biscuits.

Apparently (and if you're eating, you'd be pause now) they also do a more liquid poo but they (being some kind of animal who does this and they have a technical name but I'm so tired I can barely recall my own at the moment) eat that one immediately. It gives them some kind of goodness back. So yeah, they're clean!
And yes it's true, they can be housetrained like a cat.

Terence McDanger said...

That pic of the little 'un and the rabbit. That got me a wee bit.

Well done you.

redcap said...

Said it before, say it again. You're fucked now, baby. Keep electrical cords well out of the way of that little chewer. And if it wants a sultana, hand it over! You remember that episode of The Goodies, I'm sure?