Monday, March 04, 2013

28 days later

We need to move Bonnie inside, our youngest daughter announced last week.
She was referring to Bonnie, her bunny. Normally, Bonnie lives in a rabbit hutch in the backyard. But apparently, Bonnie’s living quarters needed an upgrade.
Inside? I asked. As in, inside the house?
Our daughter sighed and gave me one of her “mom needs to get with the program” looks.
Yes, she said. According to her, it was only five days till bunny D-day.
About three weeks earlier, Bonnie had a “romantic encounter” with a boy bunny named Willie. Bonnie was predicted to become a mommy 28 days later, subsequently tripling the pet population at the Huffman home.
What about the garage?, I said. Surely the garage would be a nice spot for a temporary bunny obstetrics ward. There’s plenty of room. She could make a nest out of all the paper towels from our latest Costco run.
It’ll be too cold out there, said my husband, who is also the family animal husbandry expert.
Where in the house were we going to put a bunny cage? We’re talking about a 1,700-square-foot space that’s already bulging at the seams. We have a hard time squeezing the Christmas tree in every year, let alone a pregnant bunny and her offspring.
We’ll put her where the Christmas tree goes, our girl said in an “Isn’t it obvious?” tone of voice.
Great. Somehow I didn’t think Bonnie’s cage would smell like a pine tree and winterberry candles. Bonnie is cute and fluffy, but her bunny byproduct isn’t. I’m talking about bunny poop. This rabbit poops. A lot. And I was not looking forward to waking up to the scent of bunny droppings. Or the sound of bunny droppings dropping.
But there were the baby bunnies to think of. Soon afterward, Bonnie’s new roost was installed inside. The bunny baby watch had begun. We waited. And waited some more.
It turns out that it’s not obvious when a bunny is pregnant or not. She doesn’t complain of swelling ankles or demand a Big Mac first thing in the morning. Target doesn’t sell bunny home pregnancy tests.
As the due date got closer, everyone was on bunny birthing alert. Relatives from Texas and Missouri were even phoning in for updates.
After Bonnie was seen hopping energetically around her cage one night, a short-lived rumor of impending labor spread through the family, but it turned out to be a false alarm.
One afternoon, I came home to find Bonnie sleeping on her side in her heated indoor palace. Maybe she’s just resting up before the big event, I thought. Or not.
Human mothers-to-be often do that “nesting” thing where we clean everything in sight right before we go into labor. Bonnie wasn’t doing any cleaning. Just a lot of lounging. And pooping.
By days 30 and 31, there was still no sign of baby bunnies. Reluctantly, our girl concluded that the bunny breeding was a bust.
Disappointed, but resigned, she emailed bunny breeder Jessica.
When would Willie be in town again?, she asked.
If they could mate this weekend, we could have bunnies by Easter.

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