An unexpected guest

Rosie Rabbit and her friend, Rosie Rabbit
Rosie Rabbit and her friend, Rosie Rabbit. Image by S Braham 2013

I wrote in an earlier post about how my girls’ class had chosen a toy rabbit (Rosie) at Build-A-Bear. The idea is that Rosie goes home each weekend with one of the children. Rosie then gets to hang out with the child and their family, and the lucky parents get to write about all they do in Rosie’s class diary. Lovely as the idea sounds, I expressed concern that some parents may use it as a way to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ and that these parents would write a great big long list of all the wonderful things that they did with Rosie. It seems I have a big mouth or at least big fingers that type such things.

This is because Rosie came to stay with us not for the normal three-day stay, but for eighteen days. This was as it was one of my daughter’s turn to have Rosie over the Easter holidays. And, as it was the Easter holidays, my husband and I had planned quite a lot of activities to keep the kids happy and entertained. Lots of activities that now Rosie would be party to and I would get to take lots of photos to stick into the diary. A case of Big Mouth definitely strikes again.

My heart sank as I saw my daughter come out of school with a huge smile and a huge bag which I knew could only mean one thing – my daughter’s name had finally been drawn out of the hat and it was our time to have Rosie for an extended stay. I thought about what I had previously written, and I thought about having to take Rosie everywhere with us for the holidays, and I thought about the possibility of leaving Rosie behind somewhere, and groaned to myself. However, I plastered a huge smile on my own face and joined in both my daughters’ excited, animated chat on the way home of all we could do together over the coming weeks.

The first thing we did on getting home was to read the previous diary entries and look at the photos the other parents had taken. These were wonderful. People had obviously taken a lot of time and effort. There were lots of fantastic photos of Rosie and detailed descriptions of what she had done. I had totally misjudged the other parents. It seemed that Rosie had just tagged along with whatever the families were doing. No-one had written anything about a vast range of activities they had done. That pleasure, it appeared, would fall to me.

The second thing I did was to strip Rosie of her outfit and wash it. Last time I had seen Rosie she was wearing a school uniform consisting of a crisp white shirt and grey pleated skirt. However, Rosie has clearly been through the mill as the shirt was absolutely filthy and the skirt wasn’t much better. There was no way I was going anyway with a bunny in such dirty clothes. I mean, what would people think? I did think about writing this as the first diary entry but decided that would be very childish and churlish of me.

My daughter went to bed very happy that evening and insisted Rosie slept with her. As I tucked the two of them into bed, I suddenly recalled all the photos I had seen of Rosie in bed with every other child that had taken her home (there were fifteen. I went back and counted). My heart started palpitating and my palms started sweating as my parental neurosis took over. “How many germs and bugs are there in that thing?” I muttered to my husband as we kissed the girls goodnight.

Rosie joined in with our Easter festivities and came with us everywhere over the holidays. At first, my daughter was very keen to have Rosie with us. My husband and I, however, were not. “Where’s Rosie? Have you got Rosie?” we kept saying to each other as we grabbed each other’s arms and looked at each other in fear. After a couple of days, my daughter lost interest in Rosie and I had to keep reminding her to take her with us. This may seem an odd thing to do given my abject fear of losing the damn thing. However, I had visions of arriving somewhere and my daughter having a spectacular meltdown (she is very good at these) over not bring Rosie with us. Trust me, my paranoia over losing Rosie was much easier to cope with then one of her strops.

I took lots of photos and sat down at the weekend to write the diary entry. I thought about all we had done and thought about what I had written about parents who showed-off by writing about all they had done. I thought about pride coming before a fall and how I always open my mouth and put my foot in it. I thought about how everyone else had written two pages for their entries and there was no way I could fit everything I wanted to write in two pages. But, surely, I would be justified using three? We did have Rosie for the Easter holidays after all – it wouldn’t be seen as showing-off, surely?

I sat down and wrote about what we had done, how and why Rosie had enjoyed it, and how she had been a very well-behaved bunny and was a credit to the class. I loved writing it. I hadn’t written for a while and it was great to be writing again, even if it was only the class rabbit’s diary. I read what I had written to my daughter and she thought it was “good.” Praise indeed from a five-year old. And I suddenly thought, “Hell, I have to do this again!” My other daughter hasn’t had Rosie yet and I’m now praying we get her for the weekend and not the May half-term break.

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