Maybe because wild imaginations often lead to paranoia, I’ve never been much of a natural saleswoman. I can still remember wondering, as a tiny child, exactly what the fifth dentist had against Trident gum.
So, given my cynical streak, I find my 5-year-old’s natural salesmanship startling. Maybe it’s her wild optimism. She almost already sold me the impossible, just the other day…
Brontë: Mom? You know what would be really nice?
Brontë: A bunny pet. That would be GREAT. Look at our yard… just pretend we had a bunny hopping around. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Me: Yes, that would be super cute, but…
Brontë: Picture a BLUE bunny pet, just chewing on the flowers, sitting by the waterfall…
And for a brief moment, damn it, I found myself picturing that adorable blue bunny. Brontë knows blue is my favorite color, you see, and she’s already incorporated this fact into her marketing.
Marketing that was effective enough to make me briefly wonder if getting a bunny was actually feasible, even though I know blue bunnies don’t really exist. It didn’t hurt that Brontë has worshipped bunny rabbits since she was a baby, so I could almost hear her delighted squeals upon seeing one.
She probably doesn’t remember how it all started, but I do. See, when she was an infant, she liked rubbing fuzzy blankets on the skin above her upper lip. In time, she grew to favor bunny stuffed animals because they had two long ears that were perfect for rubbing under her nose and dragging them around with…
“Yellow Bunny,” a yellow bunny with long, fuzzy ears, became one of her favorite toys and yellow, her favorite color. She’d blame many of her stuffed animals for the messes she got caught making, but Yellow Bunny could never do any wrong.
It didn’t stop there. She always loved the books I read her at bedtime, except one called, “That’s Not My Bunny.”
On each page, it would show a different bunny with tactile parts for babies to feel. It would have a bunny with a bumpy section on a page, for example, and the text would read, “That’s not my bunny, it’s too bumpy” until you finally get to the perfect bunny at the end and it says, “THAT’S my bunny!”
It was cute, but not to Brontë, who felt that all bunnies were, in fact, HER bunnies and we were pretending she was judging and rejecting them in the most hurtful ways imaginable She’d sometimes have to shut the book and throw it across the room to stop the lies.
It upset her so much, I had to quit reading it. And later, bunnies would invade her dreams. She’d dream about pink and purple bunnies driving around in cars, all stuffed in like clowns in a Volkswagen, or pink and purple bunnies raiding the fridge before setting out fine meals around the dining table. They’d smack their paws on the table with chants of “Bron-TEE! Bron-TEE!” to lure her down the stairs…
Brontë is vaguely starting to understand that I write a blog about her and her sister, which she finds fascinating. She wants to see it sometimes, pointing out “THAT’S BIDGIE!” or “HEY, THAT’S ME!” when the pictures go by. She wants to know what I’m talking about in the articles and giggles when I remind her of something funny she once said.
It means she’s more wiling to give me space, now, to tell the world about her hilarious antics. Even if I’m starting to wonder if her junior-high self will resent me for once reporting on her potty-training fails.
At any rate, last week she saw a random clip-art purple bunny that has since consumed her. She’s even more interested in that bunny than in her own history.
Brontë: Let me see the bunny again, mama.
Me (sighing): Okay, here it is.
Brontë: Is that a boy or girl? What’s its name?
Me: I don’t know. It’s just a picture.
Brontë: It’s a GREAT bunny. Why didn’t you write words under the bunny picture, mommy? You wrote words under the other ones. You need to write what that bunny is saying because I WANT TO KNOW.
Her obsession makes me curious about how she’d react to a real live bunny in the yard, except we can’t have a baby bunny jumping around five cats and it would HAVE to be a baby bunny because, well… I’ve had bad experiences with grown-up bunnies before.
Back when I was in college, my grandmother once bought all my cousins stuffed animal bunnies for Easter, but because she knew I loved animals so much, she wanted to get me a couple of real bunnies instead.
Which was a very sweet gesture, except she had me pick from a pile of grown up bunnies that all seemed to HATE people. That’s when I had this reckless thought:
Okay, these bunnies are insane, but if I pick a boy and a girl, I could tame a baby bunny and sell the rest to a pet store.
Not knowing anything about rabbits, picking a boy and girl rabbit ended up being much harder than it seemed. I figured I’d grab two with different-looking genitalia and time would inevitably reveal which one was which.
It did. About a day later, the rabbits fell in love and they quickly became known as Patrick and Katherine.
Except later that day, Katherine was looking awfully dominant. Maybe I had it wrong. Katherine quickly became known as Kirk.
Except next day, Patrick was on top again.
It wasn’t long before I realized that Patrick and Kirk were really, REALLY into each other. Like, into each other all day, every day, taking turns… expressing themselves.
And those bunnies were bastards.
Not because they were gay. I don’t have bunny homophobia or anything. No, it’s because every time I gently tried to pull one away from its frenzied love-making, it would leave multiple bloody scratches along my arms with its back feet. They would flat-out attack me for trying to be friends with them, then run over to bury their head into their lover’s side as though they’d just been horribly violated. The other one with lick his face to help him get over the shock.
Even my rats hated their guts. That’s right, I had a couple of rat pets at the time and because of that experience, I’m fully aware that rats are approximately ten-thousand times smarter than bunnies, despite the terrible rep.
Because the rats used to tag team the rabbits in ingenious ways. One would crawl up the side of the rabbit cage to distract them, while the other would crawl up near the rabbits’ food dish to throw handfuls of rabbit food on the floor that the rats would later pile into their own cage, since the bunnies were to big to retrieve it.
After about fifty episodes of this particular rat con, Patrick finally figured out what was happening. He indignantly rabbit-kicked the rat who was stealing his food, which made the rat jump onto Patrick’s back and start furiously pulling out Patrick’s fur in handfuls while biting him. Patrick jumped around in circles, unsuccessfully trying to kick the rat, until I ended up picking Patrick up and oh-so-carefully extracting the hysterical rat while hoping not to lose a chunk of skin.
The rat didn’t hurt me, but Patrick responded by leaving a ten-inch gash on my arm. Meanwhile, Kirk looked truly baffled, though I swear he shot me a couple of dirty looks.
So… clearly… we can’t have an untamed rabbit on the premises. Those suckers are MEAN, despite being adorable. And a baby bunny wouldn’t last long.
Yet despite my sordid history with a couple of angry rabbit perverts, I was still briefly charmed by Brontë’s visions of blue bunnies dancing around the yard.
That girl’s got a future in marketing, if she isn’t too busy being a Jedi princess unicorn in Outer Space.