In 2012 we celebrated the first third birthday in our household where I was not pregnant with the next child.
The following week, I bought the children butterfly larvae to hatch. After they flew away, I bought a plant, but it wasn’t very cute. Next came the chickens,
and then the first baby bunny
…. followed closely by the second because we didn’t want anybody to be lonely.
I heavily debated the kitten, but I like my marriage.
In 2014, we made a sad walk to Clover Hill with a shovel and an armful of flowers, and my fierce dimple girl covered her first grave with tears.
Buttercup seemed lonely without Ember. But she recovered, is a companionable creature, very sweet-tempered. And portable.
(“So, this has the silent mode and the extra strong power jets and — is that thing real?”
“Duh,” I said. “Who brings a stuffed rabbit dishwasher shopping?”)
This spring, the farmer who gave us Buttercup asked a favor: Buttercup’s Daddy has died, the Farmer misses him and would very much like another bunny from his line. Would we be willing to let Buttercup have babies?
So after signing my name in blood that we would keep none of the offspring, we delivered Buttercup for a weekend-long blind date with “Fluff.” (THIS PORTION CENSORED).
Then we brought her home and looked for signs of impending maternity, which it turns out bunnies don’t really exhibit. You just count days and then babies appear.
Farmer: “You’ll know when it’s time. You’ll think she’s lost her mind. She’ll put huge bunches of hay in her mouth and just sit there. I think it’s pain relief.”
Me: “Dear God can we give her the epidural? Or at least a shot of whiskey?”
Farmer: “You’re not very good at this.”
Me: “Three c-sections says you’re right, my friend.”
So now I’m carefully observing a bunny for signs of insanity. That’s normal, right?
“Keep the lights in the room dim,” the Farmer said. “Cover the cage and don’t make any loud noises.”
“This is our family room,” Cute Husband said.
“That’s why the good lord invented Netflix and iPads.”
“OH FOR —”
“Shhhhh!” I said. “Disrupt a laboring bunny and she might eat her young!”
(THIS PORTION CENSORED). He went upstairs.
“Any minute now,” the Farmer promised.
We provided Buttercup with lots of cushiony shavings and extra water and gentle pats and I tried Hypno Birthing on her but who the hell can tell if a rabbit is hypnotized?
“Give her some carrots,” the Farmer said. “Keep the cage extra dark so she feels safe, and give her privacy.”
“Still nothing?” the Farmer said on Day Four. “– Huh. That’s never happened to me before.”
In April, 1555, Queen Mary of England was thought to be nine months pregnant. With the pageantry befitting a queen, she was paraded into “confinement” — a royal room where she was to birth the heir to the throne. She was there four long months without any signs of labor or child, until finally she emerged red-faced and apologetic. Where did she spend her confinement?
*** My goats probably wouldn’t make cheese. We’d stand there for days waiting for freaking cheese.