This is Minnie.
Minnie has issues.
The issues Minnie has really aren’t her fault, and she’s trying to learn to live with them.
Firstly. There’s the multiple personality issue. Cobbled together from a collection of knitting patterns and some “making it up as you go along” from Marie’s head, Minnie feels somewhat disjointed, like she’s not quite sure where she belongs, or what her heritage is. It leaves her feeling quite unsettled.
Next, there’s the gender identity problem. Marie was sure Minnie would be a girl when she began to make her. Somewhere between picking up the needles and sewing on Minnie’s head, Minnie started to look somewhat boyish. Minnie began to wonder if she was indeed really a boy bunny. Her new Mummy (Gracie) insisted that no, she was definitely a girl bunny. That she must have a pink and white stripy dress to wear, so people would not mistake her for a boy bunny. Minnie’s not sure. She finds herself looking longingly at the little boy bunny jumpers of the other rabbits she’s sees online, and can’t help wondering if she’d feel more comfortable in one of those.
That’s not the end of it either. There’s also the name. Minnie knows deep down that Minnie is really a mouse’s name, not a name for a rabbit. She wonders if people might look at her strangely and think “why has that bunny got a mouse name?” or “Minnie’s not a proper bunny name, it’s the name for a mouse”. She worries, does Minnie, about her name, but Gracie insisted, Minnie was to be what she was called. So Minnie it is.
Finally, Minnie has some body image issues. She knows that her tummy is much more round than it needs to be. This is unfair really, because she’s never so much as smelt a bar of chocolate, so it’s not as though she has that to blame. Just a little too much stuffing, which isn’t something she can fix with diet. Then there’s the cankles (can bunnies have cankles??). What’s going on there she wonders. It’s strange, almost like she had dinosaur legs, but yet not. Minnie knows her legs are definitely a bit too chunky.
What Minnie doesn’t see. At least not yet anyway. Is that none of these issues matter in the least bit to Gracie. She already loves Minnie, in spite, or perhaps because of, all her idiosyncrasies. Minnie is Gracie’s bunny, and Gracie is just as happy as can be.
Minnie’s heard bedtime stories with Gracie. There’s one in particular she likes. It’s about another bunny; this one is made of Velveteen. Minnie hopes one day that what happens to that velveteen bunny will happen to her. She hopes to become REAL. This is what Minnie knows about being REAL:
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.**
We’re really hoping Minnie can overcome her Bunny issues. Really hoping. It’s going to cost us a fortune in Bunny therapy otherwise.
**Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit (Or How Toys Become Real) by Margery Williams