Strange post title, I know. But over the years, our bathroom has been home to many creatures great and small. In winter, it is not unusual to find a little calf in a pile of hay when you go to brush your teeth. Later in the day we just ask Mom “Who’s the little cutie in the bathroom?”. Either they where born on a rainy or cold night, and us soft-hearted wussies decide it’s to cold for the baby. Or the calf is tiny and needs to stay in the Bathroom Hotel for a few weeks, to catch up on growth.
First of all, the Resident Rabbit. Muffin, who is roughly five years old, is as chilled as a rabbit can be. She has had a variety of roommates, and nothing surprises her anymore. We got her from Firn’s art teacher, who found the baby bunny in her garden. After assumed the bunny came from the school, and had hopped over the road, we decided Muffin’s guardian angel needed a calm life and brought her home. The bunny was ours before we could even say “Mom, can we keep her?”
Most of the calves that came in where small, runty looking, sickly and had the typical long face of a calf with a bad start. Unfortunately, these calves didn’t make it far in life. They never grew well and took a long time to get pregnant. Luckily God decided to remind us of the good in life. Even now we have a few old Bathroom Babies that still live happily, giving milk and having calves. Elite’s Petit is a memorable one, after being born two months early, she couldn’t stand for three days. Mom would feed her her bottle while Firn or I held her up. Now, she is nine years old, and still going strong. And let me tell you, nine isn’t young for a cow.
By far our favorite Bathroom Baby, was a wee little thing named Beetle. She was born on time, but a third of the weight she should have been. At 10kg, she wasn’t supposed to make it. But even at such a small size, Beetle was perfectly formed, and she could stand within a few hours. Immediately after she was born, we took her to the bathroom, and started to dry her off and warm some milk. Our vet told us “Give her TLC and pray”, we know when he says that, he doesn’t know what to do and thinks the animal is not gonna live. We decided to prove him wrong.
After the first few nerve-wrecking days, Beetle started to explore the house. She would slip and skid on the tiled floor, mooing in annoyance. We would come running and pop her back into the bathroom. However, after a few days she mastered the art of walking on slippery floors, and surprised us at breakfast. It soon became a habit of hers to visit us at breakfast, her little hooves pattering on the floor. She would suck on someones sleeve until they gave her some bread, then toddle off the greet the dogs. They treated her as a weirdly sounding hound.
After breakfast we would take her out into our garden, which we name “Garden Without Animals”. Don’t get me wrong, we love our critters, but critters love eating flowers… Of course, all the little runty calves live in our garden. Everyday is April Fools Day on this farm. Beetle loved the garden, she would lie in our untamed patch of nasturtiums, vanishing completely.
When Beetle was three months old, Dad kicked her out of the house. He said he got tired of bathing with a calf in the same room (it wasn’t bad for us girls). She lived in a small building next to the house, and came inside regularly for some dog biscuits. Once, we found her climbing onto the parents bed…
All too soon, it was time for Beetle to leave the camp surrounding our house, and mingle with her own kind. Even out of the house she was given special treatment, becoming happier and fatter by the day. At the age of two, she went to the milking cows and a few months later, gave birth to a huge calf (35kg) named Gypsy.
Now the house feels empty and we miss the pitter-patter of little hooves. But, the pitter-patter has been replaced by a quite meowing.
Remember the kittens I wrote about last time? They live in the bathroom now, going outside into our garden to play with the newest of the bathroom bunch…
This is Bietjie (which means ‘a little bit’ in Afrikaans). She was born on the 31st of March, weighting 17kg, nowhere near as small as Beetle. Still, we bundled her into the bathroom, moving the kittens to make space. We have always enjoyed having a calf in the bathroom, even though Dad won’t admit it.
So, in the bathroom she stays, at least for now. One day she’ll be as big and healthy as our Beetle…
And one of the kittens just stepped on my keyboard