Tuesday 6 December 2016

Smug Married: Daddy not No-ing better sees rabbit pulled from hat

Beloved's 'we'll talk about it' opened the door to Easter bunny joining the family, says Aine O'Connor

Aine O'Connor

Published 24/04/2011 | 05:00

'I can't wait!" Eh? "Until I get my rabbit!" Ehh? "Dad said I can have a rabbit." Daaaaaaaaaavvvvve.

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"I never said she could have a rabbit."

"Dad! You did so."

"No, I didn't! I said we would talk about it."

Aha.

"And when we went to the pet shop you said they were really cute too."

Aha-ha.

In 15 years of parenting Beloved has never managed to make peace with the stern/disciplinarian/saying no part of the job. He tries, but is clearly uncomfortable and almost looks like he's wearing a mask.

The secret to being good at giving out is for it to be an extension of your normal self. When it's an invention, or a persona you develop for the purpose, it's not entirely convincing and it can be a bit on the crabby side as it has not got the charm of your personality to balance it.

The result is that Beloved often says things like "we'll talk about it" which to a child, to our children anyway, means, "OK, you know I'm going to give in, just push it a little more so I can override my good sense and come to terms with the idea of my wife causing me GBH".

In short, the answer in the language of our kids is we either say a firm No or Anything Other Than No, which they interpret as a Yes.

Number Two has been angling for a baby sibling for some time. She has also been angling for a puppy. She doesn't see that much of a difference. The baby requests were greeted with an instant, resounding and unanimous No but for a brief moment last summer she saw a chink in the anti-puppy armour and has been niggling at it ever since.

Being so entirely devoid of any kind of animal empathy gene I feel almost unqualified to make decisions regarding pets. If it were up to me we'd have none, but that doesn't seem fair so we have fish, a hamster and a dog, Buddy Bonkers, the big, mad, nervous hound from the pound who you can't but love.

And Number Two does love the nutty hound but technically he belongs to her brother, and she wanted something of her own, hence the puppy requests. She got a hamster, but hamsters nip and are nocturnal so having one basically means watching them sleep or risking getting bitten.

There'd been, I thought, a lull in puppy requests. They had, it turns out a) morphed into rabbit requests and b) she was targeting her father. She gets her fill of me during the week and tends to hang out with Beloved at the weekends. We have entirely different relationships with her -- with me mostly she acts grown up and we are gals about town, but Daddy's little princess melts his mind into a clearly confused mush, and even he doesn't get what has happened sometimes.

But it works because the first I heard about the rabbit was how much she was looking forward to it. I could, of course, sail in and say no. But having done that with the puppy and the baby sibling and being a bit of a sucker I just said I didn't think it was a good idea.

And then, somehow, I was visiting a pet shop. Just for research. The price of the hutch etc drove me to Google (beware, it is impossible to look up "rabbit" without an ad for something female friendly with batteries coming up, "what's that Mom?") I found a hutch on Gumtree. We got the rabbit on Friday. The Easter bunny.

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