The weather this fall has been more like early summer than it has autumn. Temperatures have been in the 70’s and 80’s with lots of sunshine and light breeze. Knowing that winter will be here before we know it, I have been encouraging the kids to play outside as often as they can to take advantage of the nice weather.
Such was the case last weekend. We had all the windows in the house open, and Kaylee was in the backyard playing. We have no problem with her playing out there by herself. We have a 6 foot privacy fence around our yard, and with the windows open we had a great view of our backyard to watch and listen to her. She was out there for quite a while playing nicely. Then all of the sudden she came running toward the house screaming as though an axe murderer was chasing her through the yard.
Matt jumped up and intercepted her at the door asking what was wrong. It took some time to sort out the anguished sobs, but she finally was able to tell us that the bunny was going to get her. Matt and I chuckled and didn’t think any more of it. We do have a rabbit that lives underneath our shed, and while it’s never come out while the kids were out playing before, we thought it entirely plausible that it darted out across the yard and startled her. We tried to convince her that the bunny wouldn’t hurt her and that it was safe to go back outside, but she absolutely refused.
A few minutes later I got a text from my next door neighbor. Their son was having his second birthday party and they had rented a bounce house for him. They were inviting all the kids in the neighborhood to come jump in the bounce house while they had it. Brendan was getting ready to spend the night at a friends house so he didn’t go, but Cameron and Kaylee both wanted to, so we headed out the front door and went around the side of the house to their backyard.
As we got about halfway around the side, their backyard came into view and Kaylee let out a bloodcurdling scream. It took a moment for it to sink in what was upsetting her. But with her cries of “the bunny, the bunny”, it was obvious that the bounce house was the culprit. And as that thought entered my head I realized what it was that had scared her earlier as well.
The bounce house was basically a giant slide with a kangaroo at the end. The kangaroo was at least as tall as the house and towered over my fence. When she originally came in screaming we didn’t have a good angle on that side of the yard so we didn’t notice the giant kangaroo peeking over the fence. But if I had to guess she either saw it rising up over the fence as they were inflating it, or noticed it after they had finished and it scared the living daylights out of her.
Given her insane fears of mascots in costumes, it really wasn’t too big a surprise that even after she realized what the giant bunny was that she was afraid to go on it. Cameron wanted to stay, and I offered to take her back into the house but she wanted to stay and play with her friend. She wouldn’t go anywhere near the bounce house however, and kept shooting it little glances as if to make sure it was still where it was when she last peeked.
After a bit our neighbor went into the house and got her a sucker. So she and I sat in the shade of the bounce house and watched all the other kids having a blast. Cameron in particular was having a great time. It’s one of the few opportunities he gets to run, jump, and be loud all at once without getting into trouble. We stayed a little more than an hour before we had to leave and get some other things done.
Towards the end Kaylee thought she might want to go on the bounce house and even consented to taking off her shoes and walking to the entrance. Once there though she had second thoughts and clung to my leg like a life raft. It was disappointing that I couldn’t convince her to go on the bounce house because I’m sure she would have had lots of fun. For whatever reason the sight of other kids having fun didn’t do anything to convince her.
On our way out of the yard she turned and waved at the giant kangaroo and said, “bye bunny” so at least it seems she made her peace with it. The next day she kept looking out our back door toward our neighbors yard and asking where the bunny had gone. I think she loved that bunny/kangaroo even if she didn’t want to go near it.