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 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....