Friday, December 19, 2008

Rescue Bunny--a bizarre gift of love

So, my kid has this weird fascination with pretending to be a small, helpless animal. Occasionally, he likes to be a ferocious predator, but mostly he gravitates toward small and helpless, like a bunny.

Case in point: Rescue Bunny.

Rescue Bunny is a rather odd game of pretend, likely borne out of many hours spent pretending to rescue people from fires, people who are lost, people who are injured and can’t get to a hospital, etc. Somehow, those logical and somewhat expected little-boy fireman and police games morphed into this strange version in which the bed (or the couch, in a pinch) is a floating vessel of some sort—a vessel which exists solely to sail in search of drowning and often injured animals.

I don’t even know how the idea came about, really. I blame the child’s father. He was playing Rescue Bunny with the kid long before I even understood the point of the game. I knew that Marcus was intrigued by bunnies and had some favorite stuffed bunnies, but I didn’t know until Rescue Bunny was a favorite pastime that the boy had devised a simulated means of rescuing them. And why from water? Have you ever seen a bunny in water?

But the game lives on, long after it should. The first animal rescued is usually a bunny who happens to be Marcus, and then other animals are discovered (or should I say their stuffed counterparts are flung from the bed and then spotted afloat) and my heroic son must climb from the bed, grab the endangered critter, and toss it aboard to safety, where the co-captain (his dad or me) quickly wraps the poor thing in a blanket to warm and dry it. Sometimes the bed—er, I mean the boat becomes so cluttered with animals that we must go ashore to the animal hospital and drop off our load for veterinarian’s care.

To say this game of pretend is mind-numbing would not do it justice. And I’m sad to tell you that the boy never tires of it. He could play and play and play, rescuing one reckless, risk-taking, fuzzy beast after another. Is this normal? I dimly recall playing Little Lions when I was a kid; Lions was a similarly pointless pursuit in which my sisters and I, and any other kids we could coerce, would crawl around on the ground pretending to be cubs. I think it was inspired by a kid cartoon called Kimba or something like that…

Anyway. Rescue Bunny is a pastime that could only be endured by an adult when he or she truly adores the child who pleads for such an investment. I feel certain this is one kid memory I won’t be missing. I suppose I might miss the initial rescue in which Bunny (my little guy) is all wrapped up and cuddling for warmth on my lap. But honestly, all the rest of those stranded stuffed toys could keep on doggy-paddling and I wouldn’t mind a bit.

Ah, what we do for our little folks.

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