Just before Christmas, my 4 year old made an important announcement: "It's Tom Fluffy-Whiskers birthday tomorrow, we need to have a birthday party." (Tom Fluffy Whiskers is the brilliantly imaginative name he has given his toy bunny.) As you can imagine, holding birthday parties for toys was not at the top of my priority list in the manic lead-up to Christmas. However, who could resist such a cute request? I managed to persuade him that Tom's birthday was a few days later, which just happened to be a Saturday, and not a weekday taken up with homework/after-school clubs. We decided to have a tea party, the toy tea set was set out on a blanket on the floor, Tom and his guests sat on cushions. My son and his cousins really put a lot of thought into it, Tom brought his own teddy, and his bunny friend even wore a tie for such an important occasion:
The food was all very rabbit friendly, we made a carrot cake. Betty Crocker may have had a helping hand, not entirely home-made, but close enough. Tom, although inherited from A's older brother, just happened to be 4 years old, according to A.....what a coincidence! I still had the 4 candle from my son's birthday which was handy (I'm all about the recycling). We read Peter Rabbit stories, and had a very nice afternoon. I'm sure Mr. Fluffy-Whiskers will remember it well.
Rabbits always seem to have played a part in our family. My elder son had a toy rabbit he would not go anywhere without. Blue bunny was his name, you may have guessed he was blue in colour. In fact, I say "was", but he's still around, for sentimental reasons I doubt I'll ever get rid of him. Blue bunny has seen better days, definitely what you would call a "well-loved toy". I remember having to carefully remove him from A's bear hug as he slept in order to wash him, watching him spin in the machine upset him. Blue was also rescued from a duck pond after he was dropped in from a bridge by accident. A. was distraught, but thankfully a kind park ranger type person waded in thigh deep to retrieve the soggy creature. I've written before about my son being tall for his age. People used to make really nasty comments about my son carrying his bunny, assuming he was older than he was. I can remember getting really annoyed about that, and constantly saying "he's only 3". Have your children ever been really attached to a soft toy, and been made fun of for it? I think it's a very sweet phase in their lives, we all know they'll grow out of it, and in my view, people shouldn't comment on it.
My younger son having watched "Alice in Wonderland", and being read the story, also went through a White Rabbit phase. Luckily, it was around the same time as his nursery held a day where they had to dress up as their favourite character. A. looked great in his outfit, facepaint, and cardboard stopwatch we made together. Of course, he spent the day saying "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!"
I realise that having two real rabbits in the house, may well have added to the fascination to the long eared animals. Gingersnap and Popcorn have been part of the family for about a year and a half now. I find it quite funny that they each have their own personalities, as I always thought rabbits didn't do very much except hop and eat. Popcorn, our black and white rabbit is quite the diva! He stomps his feet if he's not pleased with you, he also doesn't really like being held, and can nip at times. Gingersnap, however, is very friendly and likes being petted. I have also been very surprised by their climbing skills, and we've given Popcorn the nickname "Spider Bunny".
For a while, we thought we had Houdini rabbits, as we woke up a few times to find they had escaped their hutch. Occasionally, we had a strange feeling someone/something was watching us as we watched TV. When we turned round, we saw them peering through the glass doors of the living room at us, probably disappointed it wasn't Bugs Bunny on the screen. Now we've figured out the kids don't always close the latches properly, so we always verify they are locked tightly now.
My final comment on rabbits is to make you aware of what is known as a "binky". A binky is when a rabbit does a crazy kind of jump when it is very happy. Unless you have seen one, it's hard to explain, and even harder to film as it happens so fast (trust me, I've tried). I challenge anyone not to smile if they see a rabbit do this. A great cure for the January blues I'd say. Not quite the same as watching it live, but this clip gives a good idea of what a binky is:
Do your children have a fascination with a particular animal? I'd love to read your stories. I'm also thinking of writing a Tom Fluffy-Whiskers story. What do you think?