I would like to begin this post by stating that I am aware that in some quarters the term ‘special friend’ has another meaning, a more adult meaning, this is the wholesome type of special friend that makes you go “aaaaahhhh” and not “urggghhh”. Max has recently made his first friend, a friend so special to him that every morning he wakes up and the first thing he does is call out for them and every night before bed he demands that we pay him a visit. A friend so special to him that he shares his food with him and lovingly strokes his hair.
What makes the relationship even more special is that this friend lives next door to Max and they get to play together every day. They are roughly the same age and share a love for carrots. Max has even invented his own impersonation of his special friend that involves squinting his eyes, displaying his front teeth, and making a sucking sound a’la Hannibal Lecter. Max has full blown dialogue with his special friend, doing his best to prop it up the conversation at both sides. This is a friend so special that I have actually heard Max say his name whilst sleeping.
Max’s one and only friend is a rabbit called Bugs, see what they did there? The boy is obsessed and insistent on seeing Bugs first thing every morning, armed with carrots and celery and whatever else he can sneak out of the pantry, yesterday I found him feeding the rabbit a croissant. The rabbit has never had it so good, a forgotten pet that has outgrown the child owners initial enthusiasm is now receiving daily visits from a loved up little’un. Usually content with a bit of manky old lettuce he’s now chowing down on French pastries and enjoying back, neck and shoulder rubs courtesy of a toddler.
Who knows how this special friendship will pan out, hopefully it’s just a phase and he isn’t going to end up being a ‘special child’ whose only real childhood friends were family pets. Pet rabbits have a tendency to die premature and horrific deaths, mangled by lawn mowers or pecked to death by magpies. We now have a vested interest in preserving Bugs’s health and will do all we can to keep the special friendship alive, at least until Max is old enough to appreciate the delicate flavour of roast rabbit.