Monday, March 29, 2010

The Art of Learning

My daughter, newly twelve, jumped up from her homework one night and said, "Hold on a moment, I need to check something." She proceeded to twirl. And twirl and twirl. With her arms flung out and her back slightly arched, standing on her toes, she twirled in my living room for almost a minute. Then she paused and began twirling in the opposite direction.

When she finally stopped, she stood, swaying gently, looking pretty darn dizzy. Then she said, "Nope, doesn't work."
"What doesn't work?" I had to ask.
"If you spin in one direction and then spin in the other direction, you still get dizzy."

I love how kids think. My other child, nine-year-old Alex, is trying to teach our dog to read. He taught Princess to sit, shake, stay, come. So, of course, the next step is obviously reading. Ask any well-educated dog.

He started with teaching her the word "princess" but then came to the conclusion that even if Princess could read her own name, she wouldn't be able to let him know because she can't talk. Now Alex is creating signs with commands on them, so she can respond with an action. Clever, huh? I found his pile of written commands on the counter this morning. "sit" "stay" and of, course, the much desirable and lesser-know command, "poo."

I love how kids think.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vicis Rabbits

The letter started like this: 
I have never had a bunny in my life because my mom's bunny peed on her lap and so then on she hated bunnies. I like them but they look vicis because they are all shaky. 

This letter came home with my son, one of his classmates wrote it in response to the show-and-tell bunny we'd brought in earlier that day. That bunny was scared out of her mind and was definitely shaky. Fortunately, not vicious. But I see the kid's point.

Somehow, I have developed a reputation for being the bunny lady. Okay, fine, yes, I do like rabbits. I own a lot of rabbits. But it isn't a crazy love-affair sort of deal. I find them cute, amusing, and at times vicious. I am not immune to their flaws. Also, I have way too many of them. A common side-effect of owning rabbits I hear.

When I set the bunnies loose in my backyard four years ago, I was warned terrible thing could happen. Raccoons could eat them. They could escape into the wild unknown world of moving vehicles. Dogs could carry them away. No such luck. 

We still have the same seven rabbits. I was silently hoping a few would be picked off and we'd have a more manageable number over time. But the bunnies are fatter, happier, more content than ever. They do occasionally get loose, but are easily herded back into my yard with very little effort.

I got a call at six in the morning recently from one of my neighbors. The same neighbors that own a Rottweiler and don't like kids. They do, I found out, like rabbits. So does their dog.

Snowflake, a sweet faced neutered male rabbit of mine, had dug under the fence and was hanging out in their yard early that morning. I woke to the sound of a snarling dog and screaming lady. I had a feeling it had something to do with the rabbits and I pulled the covers over my head and tried to go back to sleep. I guess my neighbor had other ideas. By the time I picked up my phone, she was still pretty upset.

"Your rabbit is loose and my dog almost ate it!" she said into the phone. 
 "The rabbit escaped?" I tried to sound surprised.
"It ran back into your yard. I filled the hole already. He could have been killed." Neighbor lady was not happy.
"Oh. Yeah. Well, don't worry if your dog does eat a rabbit or two. We have seven. I don't even think the kids will notice. Don't feel bad if it happens. It's okay."
"IT'S NOT OKAY WITH ME! I don't need to see that sort of thing," she replied before hanging up.

Well, when she puts it THAT way, it does make me seem a bit heartless and strange. What does she expect when she calls before I've had my morning coffee? Without my coffee I tend to be vicious and shaky. Not a good combination. Ask any nine-year-old.