Three very good reasons NOT to get your kids a bunny for Easter

 

Easter rabbit

Bunnies are family, too.

 

One Easter when I was a kid, I desperately wanted to walk down the stairs to our living room and find a real, live bunny wabbit lounging in my basket. I found a stuffed rabbit instead, because my parents thought they were so flippin’ hilarious, and that I would think so, too. I did not.

Fast-forward 15 years, and — in my most rebellious act of adult independence to date — I got MY OWN DAMN RABBIT, thankyouverymuch.

Fwuffy-wuffy wufferton

Pancake!

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However, we only brought Pancake home after doing extensive research on what’s required to care for a pet bunny. And now I know — though it pains me so to admit — my parents were right. Rabbits are not necessarily great pets for children.

I don’t know the exact statistics, but somewhere around a shit-ton of bunnies bought as Easter gifts end up abandoned in animal shelters only a few weeks later, because parents don’t realize what they’re getting into when they buy their little darlings a rabbit.

So, with Easter right around the corner, I am here to help you parents who find yourselves in this very predicament. Though I could ramble off dozens of others, here are three very good reasons NOT to get your kids a bunny for Easter, no matter how much they beg.

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1. Bunnies are not like other house pets. At all.

A bunny is not just a dog or cat with longer ears and a fwuffy-wuffy tail. If you and your kids think a pet rabbit is going to play fetch or purr when you scratch its ears, you will be sorely disappointed. Unlike cats and dogs, rabbits are prey animals, meaning it takes them a while to trust that you are not going to eat them.

How long is “a while”? Well, we have had Pancake for six years, and until last year, she would not let us pet her without running away. It literally took FIVE YEARS to earn her trust. She still won’t let us pick her up without using the Bunny Burrito technique. And she certainly doesn’t care for our 1-year-old’s ham-fisted attempts at “petting” her.

So look. I’m sure your kids are perfect and deserve everything their little hearts desire. They are brilliant and talented and will probably discover the cure for alektorophobia some day. But I’d be willing to bet no less than a triplequadrillion dollars they don’t have an attention span of five minutes, let alone five years.

 

 

2. Rabbits live longer than you think. A lot longer.

Contrary to popular belief, when properly cared for, rabbits can live 10 to 12 years. They require the love and attention of responsible caregivers, which could — but probably doesn’t — include your precious offspring.

Bunnies are not just some pet you can buy for your kids that will die in a few months that you can use as a “circle of life” teaching moment. I mean, I guess you could purposely not properly care for a bunny so you can get that uncomfortable conversation out of the way. But that would be kind of a dick move.

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3. Rabbits chew. Everything.

Yeah, I know dogs chew up stuff, too. But rabbits aren’t just going to chew your favorite slippers that you can easily replace via Amazon. Left to its own devices, a rabbit could literally chew you out of house and home.

See this stylish combination of rugs and sheets here?

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Rugs and sheets

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The only reason these exist in our home is because we need something to cover the edge where the living room carpet meets the kitchen tile. Otherwise, Pancake would chew the carpet there into oblivion. We also have a giant cardboard box that covers the various cords behind our TV stand, because she will chew those — and possibly shock herself — if we don’t.

And this is just the beginning of what it would take to bunny-proof your home. If you’re not convinced, you can read more about what it’s like to live in a house with a bunny in it here.

Now, we love our fwuffy-wuffy Pancake to the ends of the earth, and we are willing to put up with these lifestyle adjustments for her. But are you willing to do this? For a pet that will likely bore your children in a few weeks because it doesn’t act the way they want it to? One that you will probably abandon at a shelter, where it could have an even more unfortunate fate?

If, after reading this, you are ready to make the commitment of owning a rabbit, then please consider adopting one from a shelter instead of buying one at a pet store. (Full disclosure: We got Pancake from a pet store, because we didn’t know any better. We do now, and so do you.)

If you’re not ready to make this commitment, please don’t buy your kids a rabbit. I promise they will forgive you, eventually. Or, they’ll hold it against you until they’re old enough to buy their own damn bunny. But at least by then, they’ll be more likely to accept the responsibility that comes with it.

The day I lost my Fitbit and my legs stopped working

Fitbit meme

 

When I got to work the other day, I looked down at my wrist. To my dismay, my Fitbit was no longer on it. I frantically searched every inch of my office, hoping it had merely fallen off upon my arrival.

When that proved unsuccessful, I started backtracking my steps, all 1,200 of them that it takes me to walk the five blocks from my car to my office. I scoured the sidewalks, hoping to spot my slate blue wristband against the white of fresh snow. No dice.

So I tore apart my car while refreshing the Fitbit app on my phone, longing to see the magic word — “synching…” — pop up. Negative.

I walked back to work, head down, my eyes flitting across my path, just in case I’d missed it on the way out. Nothing.

If you are a fellow Fitbitter, you know how perfectly rational this reaction is. Because if you’re not obsessively quantifying every single step you take every single day, what’s the point of even walking at all?

I got back to my office and posted a pithy Facebook status about it.

Fitbit status

 

Then my husband commented.

Fitbit comment.png

 

As you can tell, my husband does NOT have a Fitbit. Because if he did, his takeaway from all this would not be “Good news – it’s slobber-proof.”

I replied with a comment that properly conveyed the gravity of the situation.

Fitbig reply

 

Then I hardly got up the rest of the day.

 

Let’s be mom-guilt free in 2016

Mom guilt

I’ve only been a mom for about a year, but I’ve managed to pack a decades’ worth of guilt into those 12 months. I’m just talented like that.

If you’re also a mom — or dad, for that matter — I suspect you possess this special talent as well. We’re hardwired for it; we all just want the best for our kiddos, and worry the choices we make now could be slowly turning them into the next Kardashian or Pharma Bro.

Well, in 2016, instead of feeling guilty, let’s put our time and energy toward our many other talents. There are plenty of parents who should feel guilty about the choices they make. (Like this one. And these ones. And definitely the parents of this guy.) But you’re probably not one of them.

Here are the things I’m going to stop feeling guilty about in 2016. Or less guilty about, at least.

Working. I work full time. So does my husband. We like our jobs, and our daughter has never complained about her daycare, which we thoroughly vetted. This is most likely because she can’t talk, but still.

When we go to work, we do not leave her in a cardboard box on the porch, with only a bottle and a package of Pop-Tarts to get her through the day. When you go to work, do you leave your children in a cardboard box on the porch, with only a bottle and a package of Pop-Tarts to get them through the day? No? Well OK, then. I’d say you’re doing a pretty great job at this parenting thing.

(Hey, I never said I set the bar high.)

But seriously, if you feel guilty for not being home with your bambinos all the time, remind yourself of all the things they’re getting exposed to that they might not otherwise: other experiences, people, toys, books, kiddos. And germs. Lots of other germs. But hey, those germs are strengthening their immune system so they’ll get sick less when they start school in a few years. Or so they say.

(Of course, in the midst of working on this post, my sweet girl came down with hand, foot and mouth disease, which she contracted at daycare. So mom guilt might still win out on this one. Again.)

Exercising. Working full-time means I get to spend only a few hours with my little bug on the weekdays, so it’s hard for me to justify doing any additional activities that take away from that time.

But I need to run. Not to lose weight or fit into my jeans — those are just bonuses. I need to run so my crazy doesn’t catch up with me. I suffer from severe bouts of anxiety, and if I don’t take care of myself, it rears its ugly head and takes me down with it.

So, sometimes I let Lily stay at daycare later so I can get my run in right after work, before I get home where I’ll talk myself out of it. Or I leave her with her dad early on a Sunday morning so I can spend a few extra miles earning those endorphins that help keep my anxiety at bay.

Is there something in your life that keeps the crazy from catching up with you? Then make time for it. As long as it’s not something along the lines of, say, juggling knives. We both know that won’t end well.

Knife juggling child

Well, apparently some parents let their kids juggle knives. They should probably feel a little guilty about that.

Supplementing. And straight-up bottle-feeding, for that matter. I’m definitely a proponent of breastfeeding (when circumstances allow) and plan to continue nursing my kiddo until she’s ready to wean.

But we moms sure can get a bit shamey about this topic, can’t we? Millions of babies who didn’t drink a drop of breast milk have grown up to be well-adjusted, productive members of society. In fact, many of them even have jobs, donate to charity and let people with only a few items cut in front of them in line at the grocery store. Some of them also grew up to be Internet trolls. But it had nothing to do with whether they were breast- or formula-fed.

My milk production dipped severely around six months, and despite increasing the frequency of pumping sessions, drinking some nasty tea that tasted like rotten licorice and eating oatmeal until it came out my ears, my supply never increased much. So you know what? We started supplementing with formula. And you know what? Our daughter is happy, healthy and gets enough to eat. Otherwise, she wouldn’t.

And, while I don’t mean to brag … at only 11 months, our kiddo was already playing peek-a-boo at a 12-month-old level.

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Formula baby

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NOT. PUMPING. I have pumped, at least twice, if not three times, daily, five days a week, since March. Since I work two half-time positions in different offices at a university, I have to haul the stupid pump back and forth to work each day (if I don’t forget to bring it entirely), and schlep it across campus when I switch jobs at lunch. Half the time, I forget some parts or milk in one office and have to rush back to get them once I realize it. All this for a measly five ounces a day, at this point.

So, at the end of the year, I am done. DONE. And if you see a pump floating down the river, it’s definitely because I threw mine in it.

Sleeping in. JK haha lolz! That doesn’t happen. But if it ever does, you can sure as hell bet I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

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What else should be on this list? I’m positive I’ve left out some major mom-guilt triggers, possibly because they’re buried so deep in my subconscious, I don’t even know I feel guilty about them. Yet.

50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

Even during the holidays, there sure is a lot of nastiness on the Internet. So when I saw a post by Emily of The  Waiting titled “50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of  Gratitude,” I knew I wanted to join in this collective effort, if only to drown out a tiny bit of the cacophony online.

The challenge is simple, per its creator, Dawn of Tales from the Motherland: Set a timer for 10 minutes, and write down 50 things you were grateful for or that made you happy in 2015.

So, uh, you may notice my list is approximately 41 items short of the stated goal. This is because there is nothing so small that I won’t over-think it. So the 10 minutes went fast. But, I hit all the important things.

My 2015 Gratitude-Givers/Happy-Makers

1. This little starfish, who I can’t believe is almost a year old already. There’s nothing better than starting my morning with snuggles from her.

Starfish

She’s my favorite.

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2. My partner in parenting: my husband. Lily is a lucky girl, and so am I.
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3. My family. They live two hours away, but I know they would drop everything at a moment’s notice if we needed their help. I know this because they have.
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4. My husband’s family. Though we’re in Montana and they’re in Illinois, they’d do the same, too.
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5. My crew/squad/besties/whatever the hip term for friends is these days. We’re scattered all over the place now, but with the help of technology, we never feel that far apart.
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6. Social media. Despite its obvious downfalls. Because SPOILER ALERT: I’m actually kind of awkward in real life. But online, my awkwardness comes off as mildly charming.
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7. Pancake. And the fact that our fwuffy bunny finally lets us pet her. Only took five years to gain her trust.

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Fwuffy-wuffy wufferton

Miss Pancake T. Bunsen

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8. Blogging. As a kid, I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I even remember checking out a book at my elementary school library that was about “how to be a writer,” because, — shocker — I was a nerd. It might not be my day job (though I still get to write and edit for that), but blogging allows me to do what I love and share it with the world. Thank you for reading!
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Now comes the part where I silently freak out that I might have left off someone or something really, really important. If that’s the case, I’M SO SORRY HOW CAN I MAKE IT UP TO YOU PLEASE DON’T HATE ME I LOVE YOU I’LL GIVE YOU A COOKIE.
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Want to join in the gratitude magic?  Here’s how it works: Set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 things you feel grateful for. (Or, see if you can beat my all-time low of eight.) The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s OK. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! To join other bloggers from the project, head to Tales from the Motherland for complete instructions on sharing your post. 

Important questions I’ve pondered while reading classic children’s books to my infant daughter

“The Cat in the Hat”

Is the Cat and the Hat holding Thing 1 and Thing 2 against their will? Are they getting enough clean food and water while he peddles them across the country in a crate with no air holes? Is PETA aware of the situation? Wait, are Things 1 and 2 even animals? Do they dye their hair blue or is it naturally that color? If I wore footy pajamas like theirs to work, would I get fired?

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Things 1 and 2

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“Guess How Much I Love You”

Why does Big Nutbrown Hare have to constantly one-up Little Nutbrown Hare? Can’t he just let him win at the Guess How Much I Love You game, even once? When Little Nutbrown Hare says he loves him to the flippin’ moon, can’t he just be like “Whoa, the moon? That’s so far — no way I can top that! I’d never say anything like ‘well hey, I’m pretty impressed you love me all the way to the moon, but guess what — I love you to the moon … and back! Suck it, Little Nutbrown Hare!’ No, I’d never say anything super douchey like that”?
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 To moon and back
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Does Big Nutbrown Hare also never let Little Nutbrown Hare win when they play Candy Land? Does he show off with fancy hook shots and dunks when playing a friendly game of HORSE with the neighborhood kiddos? Is he overcompensating for something? Does he also drive an obnoxiously large truck?
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“Where the Wild Things Are”

Why does this one Wild Thing have human feet? Is he the mutant result of some sort of unethical science experiment gone horribly wrong? What in the actual fuck, Maurice Sendak? Why would you do this to me my sweet baby girl? How many years of therapy am I is my child going to need to stop having nightmares about the human-footed Wild Thing??
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Where-the-wild-things-are
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“Goodnight, Moon”

Is the mush gluten-free?
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Goodnight Moon

Another mass shooting, another spike in my cynicism

When October 1 rolls around again in five years, or even next year, will you remember? Will you remember October 1 is the day nine innocent people were shot and killed by a deranged man with a gun at a college in Oregon?
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Or will you not even register the date’s significance, because it was just another mass shooting, just another day in America?
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Thoughts
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I shared this satire and commentary on Facebook on Thursday, mere hours after the shooting. I considered deleting it upon realizing how cynical it sounded, but decided not to.
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I don’t want to be cynical about gun violence in this country. When I hear about yet another mass shooting, I don’t want to simply shrug my shoulders and move on with my day. I want to be hopeful. Hopeful that this one will be the last straw. If nothing else, I want to be hopeful for the sake of my 9-month-old daughter, who before I know it will be out experiencing the world on her own, where I can’t protect her all the time.
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But I’m not hopeful. I’m cynical. I have been since Newtown. If nearly two-dozen school children can so easily be shot and killed, and we as a society do nothing to fix the problem — a problem that is uniquely ours, that doesn’t happen in other civilized nations — what could possibly give me hope it will ever change?
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Blame mental illness. Blame racism. Blame religion. Blame the media. Sure, those all contribute to the problem, to some extent. But that does not negate the fact that all these incidents still have one significant detail in common: Guns. Guns that can murder throngs of people in mere minutes. Guns that are much too easy for anyone with sinister motives to access.
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I’ve never understood the logic behind the opposition to stricter background checks. If you are a responsible gun owner, what do you have to worry about? Is it really such an infringement on your freedom if you have to wait a few days before obtaining a firearm? Or to pass a basic psychological evaluation beforehand? When it could prevent someone who intends to deliberately inflict harm on innocent victims from following through? Is that not worth it to you?
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I want to be hopeful that at some point, enough of us will admit that while individual rights, including the right to bear arms, are sacred, they are not so sacred that it’s worth sacrificing the common good, over and over and over again. I thought Newtown was that point. But here we are, almost three years and dozens of mass shootings later, and nothing’s changed. Nothing’s fucking changed.
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I want to be hopeful, but I’m not. America is sick with its gun obsession, its glorification of these weapons. Even if we found a cure for this sickness, it would probably be too late. Honestly, I’m not sure why I’m even writing this. Mostly to vent my frustrations, I suppose. I know it won’t change anyone’s mind. People never change their minds. I certainly don’t plan to, not on this.
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So, I am cynical. But maybe — just maybe — beneath this deep cynicism, there’s still a sliver of hope that this time, America will prove me wrong.

My Alpha Phi

APhi photo

I’ve been debating whether to share my thoughts on the “controversy” over the recruitment video posted by the Alabama Alpha Phi chapter. Frankly, I’ve moved past the need to defend my choice to be part of a Greek organization, but I suppose I’ll do it one last time.

Joining Alpha Phi at the University of Montana almost 12 years ago marked the first time I felt I could truly be myself without feeling judged. When I was with my sisters, I finally felt comfortable in my own skin, squirrely awkwardness and all. Every women — every human — deserves to feel like this.

This self-esteem gradually radiated into other areas of my life, and I owe much of the confidence and self-acceptance I possess today to Alpha Phi.

I could go on ad nauseam about the other benefits of being in a sorority, but surely you’ve heard them all before. Philanthropy, scholarship, leadership, etc. I have no doubt I am a more well-rounded person because I decided to go Greek.

But when it comes down to it, being an Alpha Phi in college made me happy. Being involved as an alumna and helping mentor our young collegians embarking on their own Alpha Phi experience makes me happy. Spending an evening laughing with my Alpha Phi sisters, who are still my best friends today and will be 30 years from now, makes me happy.

If that makes me “vapid” and “unempowering” (which is not actually a word, Ms. Smarty Pants Columnist who jettisoned this non-issue into the limelight) and “worse for women than Donald Trump,” so be it. (Side note: It doesn’t.)

I’m not defending the video by any means. The criticism of it, while overblown, is valid. I suspect most of the Alpha Phis who appear in it appreciate other “more respectable” qualities above good looks and having fun, and the video sells them short in that respect. But some probably don’t, and that’s OK. I hope their Alpha Phi still makes them feel valued for who they truly are, just as mine did for me.

aoe

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