My Bunny Rules Over Me

Have you every heard a bunny growl?

I can’t believe that I’ve been so easy on my Rome rabbit that he now has the audacity to growl at me!

How rude!

Both rabbits have been growling at Tony for a while.  Paris growls at Tony because he attempts to pat him while he’s eating.  The growl is to say, “My food!  Get away and stop bothering me while I’m eating.”

Rome growls at Tony every time he takes his shoe away from him.  Yes, Rome acts very much like a dog in many ways, one of which is he enjoys chewing Tony’s shoes.  “Not your shoes.. MY TOY!!”

They didn’t growl at me unless I was attempting to groom them (they hate the brush) and get annoyed at my persistence but even then, it was more like a grunt than anything else and it was only after many attempts at dodging and running away from the brush.   The lunge is usually at the brush, not at me.

That is, until yesterday.  Paris is still the same, he still grunts but that’s as far as he goes with us.  I used to think this was pretty bad but not anymore.  Not after Rome’s behaviour yesterday.

Rome thinks he’s top dog, alpha wolf and yesterday, his grunt turned into a growl and what sounded like barking!!!  How very dare he!

Rabbits live in a hierarchy and it seems that Rome has nominated himself as the head.  Tony and I who he once held in high regard (he used to lick/kiss our noses) have now dropped down to the bottom rungs of rabbit existence.  We no longer get kisses or any form of affection and instead get demands.

Whenever we ask Rome to do anything he doesn’t want or tell him off for doing something we don’t like, he vocalises his anger at our insubordination.

I find it a bit scary.  These bunnies are so weird.  I’ve never had vocal bunnies before.  I’ve never had bunnies willing to bite me to put me in my place either but these guys will lunge, bite and growl just to express their displeasure and believe me, it’s not due to any kind of anxiety from mistreatment or abuse.  They just like to throw their weight around and show dominance.

Speaking of which, Rome is a 1kg ball of fluff.  I am 50 times his weight.  I could sit on him and crush him and yet, he lords over us.

After he eats, he likes to get groomed.  So if you don’t groom him after he’s eaten, he bites on the fence to get your attention.  Once he has your attention, he gives you a look.  The look is “I’m ready for my pat now.”  and he’ll wait patiently for you to turn up to sit next to him in his area.  Once you’ve done that, he walks around and picks a place where he wants to plonk down.  He will then sit there and expect you to pat him.  You then pat him until he doesn’t want a pat anymore which he will indicate by sitting up and walking away.

That’s the process.  If you stray away from any of this what you will get is incessant fence biting and depending on how annoyed he gets because you made him bite the fence for ages / sit and wait for ages, he’ll either bite your ankles to reprimand you, make you pat him for even longer, or both.

That’s not all.  You MUST feed him, pet him, play with him FIRST.  You are not allowed to pay any attention to Paris beforehand.   It’s ok though because Paris knows the procedure and sits patiently waiting for his turn.

If you don’t go by these rules, Paris gets antsy (hell hath no fury like Rome’s scorn and Paris knows it) and Rome gets vicious.  Rome’s fence biting becomes loud and he’ll push and pull the fence violently which scares Paris and he will just keep doing this until you go to his area.  After which you get the normal punishment – he will bite your ankles or make you sit with him and pat him for ages or both.

Stick with the rules and feed him / groom him first and nothing happens, he’ll happily chill out while you spend time with Paris.  Sometimes he’ll bite the fence as if to say “OK I’ve changed my mind, I want more patting before you go and feed Paris… HEY!!  It’s still my turn!!” but if you ignore him at this point, he’ll understand you’ve gone by the rules and will stop biting the fence and just go and sulk.

Have you seen a rabbit sulk?  Rome is genius at it.  He even gives you a look and turns his back to you before lying down, pretending to lie down and love life but really he’s keeping an eye on you to make sure you see him doing it.  Amazing.  There ain’t no sulking like a Rome rabbit sulking.

So why did he bark yesterday?  Because he ran under the bed, his new place to hang out.  It was all fine until he decided to bite under the bed.  He’s done this before.  I yell “HEY! Stop it!” and he does.

Yesterday however he didn’t.  I yelled “Hey! Stop it!” he stopped for all of 1 second and went straight back to biting the bed.  “HEY!!! ROME!!! NO!!” STOP IT!!”  to which he stopped to look at me and then continued to bite the bed.  “ARRRGHHH!!!! STOP!!! NO! No biting the bed!”

At this point I should explain that he is actually under the corner of the bed that is up against the wall and therefore difficult for me to get to.  I had to jump onto the bed and put my arm between the bed and the wall to get to him and you know what he did when I did that??

He lunged at my hand and barked.  Yes.  He produced 3-4 loud, deep guttural sounds one after the other then lunged at my hand and I got scared (and then angry).  I had no idea what to expect but felt that it was the warning before a bite.  I couldn’t believe he actually threatened to (and he would follow through if I persisted) bite my hand.

That was going too far.  Even dogs don’t lunge at their human companions while barking.  We don’t ever hit them so threatening to bite me is very insulting.  I growled back at him which didn’t stop him from biting the bed or scare him in the slightest.

So I got the vacuum cleaner out and turned it on to scare the crap out of him.   It’s the only thing that got him out from  under the bed.   I’m annoyed that I had to resort to the vacuum cleaner.

It’s very inconvenient to pull out of the cupboard and carry around to where he is and then plug in.  By the time I do all of that, God knows how much damage he’s done to the bed.  I can’t see because the damage is next to the wall underneath the mattress.

Where did I go wrong?  Maybe I’ve been too gentle on him and now he thinks he can get away with anything but where’s the half way mark with discipline when he ignores yelling?

I make loud noises sometimes by thumping, clapping or hitting the floor or bed to startle them but he just ignores me.

I remember one time back when I was a kid, our pet rabbits got under the fence, ran over to the neighbour’s yard and ate all their flowers.  When my neighbour came out and saw them, he took off his shoe and started whacking them, he managed to whack one rabbit on the back, one on the bum and another right on the head.

The one that got hit on the head never let anyone touch her ever again and would run away from all humans.  😦  It did however, get the job done because the bunnies never ran over to his yard from that point on.

I don’t want to do that.  We never hit our bunnies.  Paris has responded to my yelling.  Now I don’t need to yell at all.  I just have to say “Paris, I’m watching you!” and he’ll stop but Rome is something else.

He is combative, vocal and dominating, all 40cm of him including his ears 😉 and he knows we wouldn’t hurt him so is taking full advantage of this.

It’s now clear to me that I haven’t given him clear and appropriate (for him) repercussions for his bad behaviour.  So I’m not letting him in the room anymore for starters.  Give them an inch and they take a mile.

This cheeky one needs to learn some manners and I now have to start getting creative with how I enforce boundaries.  I must somehow convince him (and myself) that “He’s not the boss of me!!”

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Doing Bikram Yoga Again because I’m Vane and Need Some Pain

We started going to Bikram yoga again.

I went to maybe four or five Bikram yoga classes in total over this last 9-12 month period.  One of them was accidental (ie I walked into the wrong room and sat there not realising, long enough to be too late for the class I was supposed to be in) and the other was forced (ie I couldn’t get into the class I wanted because it was full / booked out so went to Bikram instead).

The last 2 classes however were voluntary.  We went because we felt we needed it.  It only took a year to miss it 😉

The strange thing is, it’s not as bad as I expect it to be while I’m in there but by gosh I feel horrible afterwards.  My body aches and I’m always tired and I seem to be straining my neck a lot because I feel my shoulders and neck are so tense they cause me headaches for the next 2 days after class.

I’m also still losing large chunks of hair afterwards because my head drops hair when my body is hot and/or stressed.

Surprised I can still do the postures even though I hadn’t done them in ages.  Though my eagle is looking crooked these days and my initial back bends are more or less upright.

The rest of my postures are probably the same standard as they were before we stopped.  That is impressive.  It means vinyasa and yin have maintained our strength and flexibility overall so we can still do the movements we hadn’t done in ages.

So why did we feel we needed to do Bikram yoga again if the other yoga styles were maintaining/improving strength and flexibility already?  Vanity.

Bikram yoga is the only yoga that gets our skin soft and supple.  It gets rid of any lumps and bumps.  All the pimples and blackheads disappear because your pores open up and you just sweat it all out.

Bikram yoga is also the only yoga that’s gotten rid of my bingo wings, which have returned regardless of all the damned chaturangas I do and it’s not got to do with the postures but our diet.

You see, the only yoga that makes me change the way I eat is Bikram yoga.  That is because when you don’t eat well, you will feel it in that room or afterwards and after a while, you just get sick of feeling like sh*t all the time and so you either stop the Bikram or you change your diet.

Evidently I’m vane enough to go back just because I don’t like all my blocked pores or my wobbly arms and it’s the only way I know how to fix both.

Tony doesn’t like feeling “toxic” and according to him, Bikram yoga is the only thing that makes him feel like he’s eliminated all the toxins from his body.  He is convinced he’s wrung all the toxins out of his body through his sweat.

He is always the one moaning about not having enough vegetables and “eating too much junk”.  Those words are in inverted commas because he uses them every time he complains about the food we’ve eaten.  At the same time, he’s the one that’s always buying said junk and brings some home with him every day.

We now eat biscuits, cakes, crisps, crackers, chips, takeaway multiple times a day, every day and the only thing that’s going to stop us from continuing to do it is if we feel horrible afterwards.

Except, if you take the Bikram Yoga out of the following equations, we don’t feel anything but satisfied and full!

Eating Junk +  Bikram  Yoga = Feel Horrible / In Pain

Eat Well + Bikram  Yoga = Feel High as a kite

Whether you’re motivated by pain or gain, when it comes to diet, Tony and I have both found that Bikram Yoga is what is needed to make us change it.  So, we’re back.

Well, we all need something to motivate us to make changes / get in that room right?

The Boys Turned One!!

It wasn’t much of a hooha, I didn’t even take pictures of them.  What kind of a furbaby parent am I?

It’s because Rome’s birthday coincided with the boiler maintenance and I had to clean the house and keep the boys in the hutch for most of the day.

Paris’ birthday was a couple of days later but he was in a mood.  He kept getting scared, ran away from any inkling of a pat and wanted to be left alone ALL DAY!!

I did give them a tonne of treats though, enough to make them super fat, obese even, if it weren’t just for a day.  I think they must’ve thought they won the jackpot when it happened.

I really thought rabbits would stop eating when they got full but these boys scoffed down those treats like it was nobody’s  business.

I also introduced them to new things like apple snacks (dried apple sprinkled with thyme according to the ingredients) and I accidentally bought and gave them some snacks which I thought were Alfalfa because they were called Alfalfa snacks but when I looked at the ingredients (after I gave it to them whoops!) it was mostly wheat and sugar!!! argh!!!

Needless to say, they LOVED it but I’m going to consider those snacks, the equivalent of a birthday cake and won’t give it to them ever again, well, maybe next birthday unless I find something healthier or make my own!

Rome was just like a kid.  He couldn’t decide if he wanted to run around or eat so, he’d run around as fast as he could, come back, take a bite of his treat and then run off again.  When I say as fast as he could, I mean FAST with skids, dodges, high jumps and everything.  He was happier than happy and really loving life on his birthday.  It’s as if he knew and was celebrating being alive!  Either that or the treats made him hyperactive 😉

Paris wasn’t the same.  He was more shy than ever which makes me think he must have had a traumatic birth OR it wasn’t actually his birthday when we thought.  He actually withdrew so much I felt really rejected because all my attempts at giving him affection were flipped off.

He’d take his treats and run away with them, to eat them in private, or wait until I wasn’t around before he’d come out to eat them.  He was so disconnected, neither Tony nor I were able to pat him for the entire day and so, he spent his birthday alone.

Although that makes me sad because I never think one should spend their birthday alone, if he got to spend the day how he wanted, then that’s what mattered.

He seemed pretty happy the next day and he’s been really  happy with being petted every day since.  Maybe the sugar in the treats made him tired and grumpy?  Go figure.

I’m just happy that they’ve learned to eat fruit!!  They’re now eating dried pineapple and papaya too!

Anyway, they are now 1 year old, fully grown adult bunnies with funny and uncannily opposite personalities.

Ah the dichotomy.

I can tell you that we love them both just as much as they hate each other!  (in other words, for life!) ❤

Why do we have so many things?

Things.  We have way too many.

I have things in Australia and things in the UK.

When Tony and I moved in together, he had all his things and I had all of mine, doubling our “thing” count.  I also found out that he too had some things in Australia as well as in the UK (quadrupling our thing count).

In order to fit all our things into a small 1 br flat, we threw away a lot, gave a lot to charity, gave some away to friends and still to this day, we are inundated with an abundance of things.

Just by receiving gifts or purchasing them and living in 2 different countries, I now have a minimum of 2 of everything.

I’ve sent bags and bags of clothes to the charity bins myself in London and I did the same in Australia.

There were things I gave away through PIFfing (Pay It Forward), some I got charities to come and pick up from me and some individuals came to pick things up for free.  It included large furniture, near-new mattresses, kitchen items, books, electronics and all sorts.  Some I sold.

I actually did this in Australia as well as in the UK!!

But it seems no matter how much I let go of, I didn’t make a dent in my overcrowded cupboard and drawer space.

konmariallthethings

You know I read her book a couple of years ago?

I only managed to do it with clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery and you know what happened?  I GOT MORE!!!!!!  I didn’t even buy them.  It was all given to me.

The universe abhors a vacuum.

I learned that if you want anything, you must first create a vacuum / a space for it and because the universe abhors a vacuum, that thing you want and created space for, will fill that space.

This belief has worked so much for me that cleaning out my cupboards created a vacuum.  The problem is, I  never thought of what I wanted to fill the space so now, I just have more of what I got rid of, sitting where the old things used to be.

The cupboards I Konmaried (I can’t believe I used that as a verb) are still neat, just really, REALLY squishy.

I had a dream a couple of nights ago where I visited a neighbourhood where people hung all their unused jackets, bags and toys outside of their house like decoration (imagine a 3D version of a ginger bread house).  I wondered why when people had 2-3 story houses, they hung things outside and was told that they did this because their houses were too small to store all their things.

It made sense to them but with each house I went past, I just repeated the same questions, “Why do they have so much stuff?  Do they even need it all?”

And so now I ask myself, why do we have so many things?

I’ve recently just taken another bag of clothes to charity and some plant pots but our home is still full.

It seems, it is time for me to do some Konmari-ing once again and this time, I think I should do it properly.  ie just like the  poster says, KONMARI ALL THE THINGS.

Now THIS is going to be interesting!!

Why Bunnies? Why Two?

When we tell people we have bunnies for pets, we actually get asked, “Why bunnies?” and when they hear about the crazy things we have to deal with, they will ask “Why did you get two boys?!”

I’m going to explain here so I don’t have to repeat myself over and over.

I had rabbits as pets when I was younger, I found them to be super intelligent, very loving and quite cheeky.  Other than the chewing and the occasional digging, they are quiet.  They can also be litter trained and they clean themselves so you don’t have to wash them, they run around themselves so you don’t have to walk them and the extra bonus is that THEY ARE SO CUTE AND FLUFFY!

Why boys?  Because boys in my experience were always nicer and more accommodating.  The girls were fiercely territorial and quite violent (lunging at and biting you and other rabbits) in comparison.

What I didn’t remember was that my experience was only of what bucks (male rabbits) were like with the does (female rabbits) and humans, not with each other – I’d never had 2 boys!!

Tony has never had pets in his life and wanted a dog so we went to Battersea Cats and Dogs Home to see if there were any suitable companions.  All the dogs were HUGE and the little ones were so energetic they might as well take up the space of a big dog.

Also the little one that was there kept pissing everywhere in its excitement and I wasn’t really looking forward to having to clean up piss from all over the floor constantly.  Little did I know I’d end up with that situation anyway with 2 boy rabbits!

Our place isn’t that big so we knew it just wouldn’t suit to have a dog cooped up inside.  I hate going outside in the freezing cold but I know if there was a dog, I’d be the one to have to walk it outside every single day for a couple of hours of play.  I’m alright for this in the summer but definitely not in the winter.  No yard means compulsory and multiple outdoors visits in the cold for me too and I wasn’t keen on that at all!

I’d settle for a cat.  Except, well, I’m allergic to cats.  On a good day, I’d get the sniffles after many hours with them.  On a bad day, I find it hard to breathe with only a tiny bit of fur (not even the cat) present.

So rabbits it was.

We picked them up and they arrived in our home on 31st December 2016.  They were 3.5 month old boys.  They are not brothers but they were kept in the same play area together and looked like they got on.  They were the only two in their play area and were snuggled up to each other.

Thinking of getting only one, we decided that 2 were better together so they could play and keep each other company and snuggle together when they needed more warmth.  We also didn’t want to split up their friendship if they’d already made one.  So, we got them both.

The advantage of having one bunny is that because they are social animals, the one bunny will want to interact and so the bond between you and the bunny will grow quite quickly.   You can then dedicate all your time to this one bunny and train them to do little tricks.  Rabbits learn very quickly!

The disadvantage is that if you are not around to give it the time and interaction and affection it needs, the bunny will get quite lonely, bored and depressed.

Rabbits are very social beings, if you think about how they live, they live in warrens of large groups.  They are used to having company.

If you keep a rabbit by itself, you have everything else in your life including it but… all it has in its life is you and you don’t even speak its’ language!

As much as we think we’ll be enough, I don’t think we are ever going to be the same as another bunny friend.

When there are two bunnies, they are great emotional support for each other and can encourage play and confidence in each other plus they get to display normal bunny behaviour with someone who understands their language perfectly.

They have each other as well as you, so psychologically and emotionally, it is much better for them.  Though, bonding and interacting between you and them can be slower.

What I didn’t factor in however, was that having two also means the possibility of them fighting and not getting on at all, as they got older,  which is what happened to us.

This is more painful than having one, on any given day.  Now you have 2 individual rabbits that need your time separately!  So, this is when the whinging and all my stories of fisty-cuffs comes in.

We’ve managed quite well living with them for 8+ months now.  The fights started in the beginning when their hormones kicked in so we separated them.

They fought again when we tried to make them friends (after neutering) and put them together (forced bonding) but when we realised it wasn’t going to happen and they’d rather kill each other than live together, we’ve kept them apart and it’s all been very calm and peaceful.  They’ve been quite happy binkying about in their own respective areas.

That is, until the other day when Rome got through the fence, intruded on Paris’ area and they fought, unsupervised because we were out of the house at the time.  We came home to a lounge room full of clumps of fur everywhere and drops of blood.

I think it’s fair to say, ours our now enemies for life and will fight to the death if they ever get together for long enough and especially when we’re not around.

Needless to say, we’ve been extra cautious with the fencing and have been watching them when we see them both on either side of the same fence.  They’ve still managed to inflict injury on each other that way.

SO…. if there was any advice I’d give to anyone considering getting a rabbit, I would still recommend getting 2 but I would suggest that when you get them:
a) they are already neutered
b) they are already bonded (after neutering)

I must stress that you choose bunnies who have been neutered FIRST before being bonded.  We chose rabbits that bonded before being neutered and there is a risk that the bond breaks once the hormones kick in and they start fighting for territory or dominance.

It turns out that fighting happens with any sex combination so it doesn’t matter if you get girl-girl, boy-boy or girl-boy combos, when the hormones kick in, anything can happen.  You could be lucky and they remain bonded but it’s hard to tell beforehand what will happen.

If you’re getting them young, choose siblings from the same litter otherwise, just get one rabbit, get it neutered THEN take it to a shelter to go bunny dating, so it can find its own friend/partner for life (preferably one that is already neutered as well).

If I could do it all again, that’s what I would do.

As mentioned, rabbits are quite territorial but females tend to be very protective of their territory (must be the instinct to protect their nest) so I would get a male first, get it neutered, then take it to a rabbit shelter to get a female companion.

When they meet, it will be in neutral territory at the shelter.  They’ll be introduced to several different bunnies but one at a time, to see which is the best match.  When a match is found, they usually stay overnight at the shelter together for a couple of days just to make sure that they really do get on with each other, before you bring them both home.

When you bring them home, the male will be more easy going with welcoming the female into its home territory than the other way around which is why I suggest getting the male first.

We don’t regret getting the two we have though.  Even though they’ve turned out to be more work having to do everything twice and buying 2 of everything and spending time separately with them, they are beautiful boys and it’s been a real pleasure getting to know them.

Paris is lovely and well behaved.  He doesn’t bite anything or go anywhere unless he has permission (except when he’s planning his revenge on Rome).  He will sit for ages and bunny purr when you pat him.  Sometimes however, he’s so shy he won’t let you touch him at all so he rejects all your attention and spends a lot of time by himself just lying around in his hutch.  He takes a lot of coaxing to stick around and would rather hide than play.

Rome is more outgoing so will always greet us for pats but with that personality also comes the need for a lot of attention.  He is ultra curious and will test all boundaries by chewing, pushing, biting, scratching at, jumping over, through, under anything and everything.  It is very entertaining but it also tests our boundaries and sometimes, we end up wanting to strangle him.

They are polar opposites of each other which is why it’s so hard for them to get along but how are you to know this just by seeing them at the pet store cuddling side by side?

Now that we know their personalities, we’ve pretty much realised that you can’t force them to be together if they don’t like each other.

We’re also struggling with the decision to let one go and replace him with a female.  How do you choose?  They’re pretty much family now and both have good and bad qualities about them.

So instead of choosing between them, I dream that one day they can meet their life partners and I daydream that maybe if they had partners, they’d be kinder to each other and their partners would help dissipate any bad blood between them and they could all actually get along together.

That would however, mean having 4 rabbits… like I didn’t have enough work as it is!!  For that we need a bigger place.  Ahhh… nothing like kids/furbabies to get you taking on a larger mortgage hey?   It’s either that or choosing between them!

Have you seen that clip where someone offers $100K for people’s dogs?  Every single person said no.  I feel like this is one of those decisions… hmmm I say I love them but how much do I really love them?  LOL

Journey From Periodontitis to Super Healthy Teeth and Gums Naturally (plus my tooth powder recipe)

“THIS IS THE BEST THEY’VE EVER BEEN!!!!!!!!!!”

Those were the EXACT words of my dental hygienist after she peered into my mouth, during my visit to see her this week (yesterday) and checked my teeth and gums.  Yes, she was THAT enthusiastic about it.

My teeth and gums are now officially, “… so clean, I don’t have anything to do!!”  Yes, those were her words again.

I was really happy and still am.  It’s been 6 months since the last time I saw her.

She looked so baffled for a while.  She kept saying, “I don’t understand.” while she poked and prodded my gums and teeth looking for plaque to extract.  After 6 months, she expected that I would have accumulated at least some plaque but perplexed she said, “I can’t find anything!”

She even asked me what my dental routine was and if anything had changed because she was having such a hard time finding plaque she was “questioning (her) own eyesight”.

You don’t know how happy I am, much to the dismay of my hygienist – she cheered when she found a tiny bit of plaque.  “YES!!! I got some!!! FINALLY!!!”

It’s great when someone loves their job so much that she’s slightly offended when you turn up and don’t allow her the privilege of doing it!! Hahaha

I’m sure anybody would be happy to hear this kind of news but none more so than me.  You see, this was 3 years in the making!!  It sounds like a long time but then again, how long did it take for the periodontitis to develop?

After all, I suffered from severe “toothache” for at least 2 years before it became completely unbearable and by that point, the gum infection was so bad it was almost eating away at my jaw and I had a big cyst growing in my gum too.  Yup, that was my point of unbearable that made me go see the dentist.

There was nothing wrong with my tooth but the gum around it was pretty much infected and so swollen that the tooth had to be extracted so that the area with the biggest infection (and the cyst) could be cleaned out and given room to heal.

I was in a lot of pain, my gums bled all the time, they were very inflamed and they had receded to a point where I now have a huge gap between my two front teeth and slightly smaller gaps between all my teeth, when I didn’t have gaps before.

Initially, thinking it was gingivitis, the dentist told me to use Corsodyl for my toothpaste and mouthwash to help heal the gums.  I used it for as long as I could, to no avail.  Not only did my gum problems remain, my whole tongue went black!!!  Literally, black and the periodontist had to be called in.

This gum problem didn’t happen overnight.  This was years and years of poor dental hygiene.  Oh I brushed my teeth, thank you very much but for all my good intentions, I wasn’t doing it properly.

Not until after I lost my tooth, did my mum tell me that we have a family history of bad gums so I was “genetically prone” to gum disease.  Someone like me needs to take extra care when dealing with their gums!!

Thanks mum for telling me AFTER the fact!!  So, the outlook for my gums to ever be healthy, were not good.  I was told that it was going to take a lot of work.

After that entire ordeal and given my age (too young to be losing teeth), I was put on the dental surgery watch list and had to visit the periodontist and the hygienist, every 3 months, each for an entire year (They would call me and send me letters to make sure I booked in!).  That’s 8 visits to the dental surgery in the year after my tooth extraction!

In the second year, I had to visit the hygienist every 4 months and the dentist every 6 months.  I didn’t have to see the periodontist anymore.

Now in the third year, I’m back to normal and off the watch list and back in the good books, with only the normal half yearly visits.  With each visit, I got better and better feedback and it seems, my teeth and gums are now the best they’ve ever been!! YES!!!

So what’s the routine?  How did I do it naturally?   Here’s everything you need to know:

The Routine
Morning – Oil pull
Evening – Brush, Floss, Tongue Scrape

That’s it.  The hygienist looked at me funny when I said I only brushed once a day which made me think I should up it to twice but after seeing my teeth and how clean they were, she said, “Well, if you’re doing it thoroughly, I guess once a day is enough!”

So, here’s how you do it all (thoroughly):

Oil Pull
You will need 1 x spoon (we use a teaspoon) and coconut oil.

Get a spoon  full of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 20 mins and then spit it out.

You can read up on it elsewhere for more detail (there are books on this process) and I think you’re supposed to use a tablespoon of oil but my mouth ain’t that big, so 1 tsp is enough for me.  Also, you can use different types of oil but we like to keep it simple and use coconut oil for EVERYTHING.

The long and short of it is, the oil is supposed to pick up all the toxins and bacteria in your morning-breath mouth and then you expel it all when you spit it out.

The bacteria collected by the oil will be the type that likes to infect your gums and sit in/make your cavities, plus the toxins you’ve been emitting during your sleep. ie all the stuff you don’t want in your mouth!

We oil pull first thing in the morning, every morning.

Brush
You will need 1 x electric toothbrush and my special homemade toothpowder 😉

I used to use normal/manual toothbrushes but when you have bad gums, you’re just not going to do as good a job as the electric brush and you need all the help you can get!

This is the one thing that made a huge difference to my gum health so if you don’t have one and you have bad gums, get an electric toothbrush NOW!!!  It’s worth the investment – it will be a lot cheaper than the cost of tooth extraction!  Believe me, I know!!

To brush your teeth, simply wet the brush head, dab it quickly into the toothpowder and you’re ready to brush.

The trick here is to BRUSH YOUR GUMS and not your teeth.  Angle the brush so it’s brushing that section where your gums hold onto your teeth.  The brush will massage / vibrate / jiggle the gum so anything (no matter how small) that’s sitting between the gum and tooth will come out.

You don’t want ANYTHING to sit between gum and tooth, the relationship between your gum and tooth must be tight!!!  If you let anything get in between there, it festers and it’s all over red rover –  the hygienist will have a field day.  That festering is what causes your gums to bleed.

The periodontist told  me to concentrate all the time brushing, on the gums and if I want to, I can use the last few seconds to go over my teeth but it wasn’t necessary.

How many years had I spent doing it all wrong by spending all my brushing time on my teeth?!! I wish someone told me this a long time ago.  I really do.  Now, you’ve been told!

Another thing to note is that if you have a small mouth like me, you must find a toothbrush head that is small enough to fit all the way to reach behind the very back teeth!

As for the toothpaste / powder.  We don’t use store bought toothpastes anymore because after my tongue turned black and I couldn’t taste anything for a week, I decided to opt for a more natural approach to my gum health.

I’ve been changing and tweaking my toothpowder / toothpaste recipes for the last 3 years and we’ve been using a certain recipe which I thought was awesome for about 6 months prior to this one but it has caused staining / yellowing of our teeth over time, so since it turned out not so awesome, I’ve tweaked it again.

This one I’m sharing with you now is the one that’s got the best result so far (as per my hygienist’s comments above), minus the two ingredients which I suspect were most likely to cause staining.

Toothpowder** Recipe
Put all of the following ingredients into a pestle and mortar and grind until it becomes a fine powder and mixes evenly, then put the powder into an air tight container.  I use an old lip balm container that has a screw top lid.

1/4 tsp bentonite clay
1/2 tsp himalyan salt
1/2 tsp bicarb
1/8 tsp stevia (leaf powder)
2 drops clove essential oil*
3 drops peppermint essential oil*

*I made sure to find ones that were food grade and FDA approved for ingestion.  Even though we’re not swallowing it, we’re putting it into our mouths!  If at any point you do accidentally swallow, then all the  ingredients are edible.

** Note this is a POWDER not a paste so it won’t bubble in your mouth or even be the consistency or taste of your normal toothpaste in the slightest.  If using for the first time, expect something very different.  It will taste salty (I put the stevia just to mellow the salty taste), a little grainy until it melts, with a hint of mint.  You get used to it after a while.

This powder will last 1-2 months (maybe more) because you don’t need much at all.  As mentioned, just dab a wet toothbrush head onto it and whatever sticks to the toothbrush is all you need.

While I was researching different ingredients I noticed people would get all crazy about using bicarb because it’s harsh on the tooth enamel.  When you see how little is used on the brush and the fact that we’ve been doing this for 3 years and our dentists have told us both we have zero cavities and healthy teeth and gums, from personal experience, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Floss
I use interdental brushes.  They look like tiny bottle brushes and are what you need to use if the gaps between your teeth are too wide for floss.

Tips – Use a back and forth  motion approx. 10 times per gap.

Use a mixture of floss and different sized interdental brushes depending on the size of the gaps between your teeth.  There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to interdental brushes.  For myself, I have 4 different sized interdental brushes!!

You seriously need to test all the different sizes and use the size that fits perfectly.  How do you know which that is?  Try one size and if it’s too big (it bends when you try to push it through the gap), use the size just below.  If you push the brush and it easily slides through your tooth gap, you need a bigger size.  You push the interdental brush into the base of the gap (at the gum line).

Make sure you brush (interdental) / floss YOUR GUMS.  The goal is to get any bits out from between your gum and teeth that the toothbrush missed (as per my comments on brushing).  The interdental brush must fit snuggly into the gap so it brushes your gum and the bases of both teeth, on each side of the gap, all at the same time.  The floss must slide between your gum and the tooth you’re cleaning.

My dentist recommends dental tape over floss, I can’t say from experience because as mentioned, I use interdental brushes.  If you try to use the smallest interdental brush and it just bends because it doesn’t fit in the gap, then use floss/tape.

Tongue Scrape
We use a tongue brush to get rid of any residue left on the tongue before a final rinse.  This doesn’t contribute to healthy gums but I mention it because it’s part of our oral health routine.

These days, if I’ve ever been naughty and lax in my dental hygiene and my gums start bleeding (eg. several late nights falling asleep without brushing, sleeping over at other people’s places without your toothbrush, eating lots of chips and sugar and not brushing for whatever reason like that time when Rome rabbit chewed through and severed our toothbrush charger wire so our toothbrush ran out of batteries), I pretty much can stop the bleeding and get them back to healthy and normal within 24-48 hours just  by doing what I mentioned above.

I’ve been considering making a mouthwash but after you’ve cleaned your tongue and when you feel how clean your teeth are, a mouthwash really is not that necessary.   All you’ll really need it for is to get a burst of minty fresh!

Perhaps I’ll make one just for fun.

A note if you’re just starting out / need to get back on track:
I’ve noticed that the gum bleeding and pain reduces faster, if you add a drop of clove oil into the coconut oil you use for oil pulling and oil pull using that mixture, twice a day.

For severe gum pain, rub a drop of clove oil directly onto the gum before you go to bed (as mentioned, use food grade/ingestible essential oil that is safe to put directly onto skin) and the inflammation and pain dies down / is gone by morning.

Perform all the above dental routine twice a day until your gums stop bleeding (usually 24-48hrs for me) and then you can reduce to once a day.

Note that at the beginning, the gums will hurt and they will bleed so the feeling will be to avoid rubbing them with brushes but you must persist with it.  When I brush or floss (interdental brush) and the gum bleeds or is painful, to encourage myself to continue, I imagine that the blood is pushing the gunk out with it which is a good thing!

Just know that if you continue to oil pull, brush and floss (interdental brush), every day, twice a day, the gums will be a little less inflamed each time and eventually, they will have no more gunk to push out and they will stop hurting/bleeding.

Lastly, if it doesn’t work within 24-48hrs, visit the dentist/periodontist so they can monitor your current state and progress.

I used to hate seeing the dentist because it hurt every time they prodded in my mouth, I thought I had sensitive teeth/gums but that’s the whole point, it’s actually not supposed to hurt at all.

When your gums are healthy, they won’t bleed and the dentist prodding with their sharp metal tools, doesn’t feel like anything but pressure!

So if you’ve been struggling with your gum health, I really hope this helps you get it back to healthy and if you’re currently experiencing gingivitis or periodontitis, it takes work but you can fix it.  There is hope!!

All you need are the right tools and technique!  I might have taken close to 3 years but that’s because I was experimenting with various oils and recipes for toothpastes and toothpowders and getting tooth brushing lessons from my periodontist and feedback from my hygienist on whether my tooth paste was working!

You now have all of the information, for the things that worked, in one spot so should be sorted within days/weeks!

I’ve specifically  not put any brand names, sizes or types of brushes that we use (as you need to work out the sizes for yourself), or brands of ingredients used but if you want that information as a point of reference or if you just want to use the same stuff we do, feel free to ask.

If you do try this, let me know how it works for you.  I’d be really keen to hear how you get on and how slow/quick it takes.

Right now, all Tones and I have had is each other and our periodontist, dentist and hygienist and 3 years of experimenting on ourselves experience for feedback but since it’s worked for us, I really think it can help others which is why I’m sharing the info.

May you now have naturally healthy teeth and gums!! ❤

Summer Bunnies Drive Me Crazy

Do you remember that R. Kelly song?  I’m referring to it because I’ve started my Hip Hop classes 😉  and all the Old School songs are starting to flit in and out of my mind.

I had a grand old time doing warm up stretches to “S-Double-Double-U-to the V-V”.

Tones joined me for moral support in the first class and enjoyed it so much, he’s now continuing along with me.  Can you believe it?  Someone who doesn’t dance and doesn’t like to dance is enjoying Hip Hop classes!!

Then the second week, a friend of ours joined after I told her about it, she then told someone else after she did her class and that person came along for a class too.

Though I think this sort of thing for beginners, requires some commitment.  So far, we’ve committed and gone for 10+ weeks.  That’s 2 week chunks of the same choreography, with 3 different teachers and their different styles.

That means we’ve learned chroeo for the beginning of at least 5 different songs.  Unsure if I’ll remember them all, would be a miracle if I did!!

I must admit I felt completely retarded and un-co for the entire first class and most of my second class.  I think it took me 6 goes (ie 6 weeks because we only go once a week) to finally get comfortable with some of the movements.

Even after 10 goes, I still forget moves and step on the wrong leg which just throws everything out of whack.

On the first day, my brain would say one thing and my body wouldn’t comply and would do something else.  I was definitely having learning difficulties.

Teacher:  Let’s do arms first.
(We learn actions for the arms for 8 beats which involves pointing forward with the right hand and then placing the right hand in front of the left shoulder.  That is it.  I can do that.  I am happy.)

Teacher:  Now let’s do feet.
(This involves walking forward but stepping or sweeping the foot out to the side before placing it in front of the other.  OK all good, 8 beats and only one step per foot.  Awesome, I could do that.)

Teacher:  Now let’s do it altogether.
This is when I had a brain fart.  It’s like learning to pat my head with one hand and rub my stomach with the other, for the first time.  It was evident I was missing a huge chunk out of my corpus callosum.

If my brain was sending off signals, they weren’t going anywhere.  I could actually feel and see the synapse in that moment – a blank space where the neurotransmitters failed to exist or transfer.  It was just one massive, dark, abyss.  Meanwhile, in the mirror, I didn’t just look like I couldn’t dance, I looked like I was having trouble walking.

The amount of concentration required to remember such simple choreography is intense but anyway, I eventually figured it out, about three quarters of the way through class!!

The teachers actually film the class and post it on Facebook (in a private group) so we can see how we did and watch our own progress.

It is so funny.  Having them just hold the camera is enough to put everyone off, well, me anyway!  It wasn’t even filming but once we saw the camera come out, we completely forgot what we were supposed to be doing.  I know I just froze.

I’ll tell you what, it’s definitely teaching us to stop being so self conscious – it teaches us to dance like nobody’s watching!

The thing is, one of the teachers actually says, “Imagine you’re performing for people you love.”  He then lists people you know like family and friends and how you’d make them proud.

Umm…. yeah…. way to put the pressure on there mate.  If I were dancing a performance, I would have made sure I remembered the ENTIRE choreo and been practicing it over and over until I was doing it in my sleep!!!  At my current skill level, performing after just learning some choreo and still not being able to remember it all, would mean running and hiding backstage!

Nevermind, it’s all fun and just like with Bikram Yoga (where at the beginning it was so uncomfortable but we knew it was good for us), we’ve committed to going regularly and long term because it’s the only way we will see improvement.

Now back to the title of this blog, I thought the title apt for a number of reasons:
1.  As mentioned above, I’ve started Hip Hop dance classes and we dance to RnB.

2.  It sure feels like summer here in London.  I can’t believe the number of sunny days and blue skies that we’ve had.  I mean, I’ve even complained that it’s too hot!! How is this possible?

3.  The bunnies are starting to moult, AGAIN.  I think I’ve already written a blog about all the chores that come with just that event.  I can’t believe they’re doing it again!

Summer seems to bring about other extra chores with regards to looking after the bunnies, such as
a.  changing their litters out more often to prevent stink and fly larvae.
b.  checking that their butts are clean and dry and that flies, which hover around their litters a lot, haven’t laid eggs/maggots on them (apparently it’s a big thing for rabbits in summer and is called flystrike).  I just peek every now and again as the bunnies run around to see if their butts are dirty but the boys have been very good.
c.  freezing water bottles so the bunnies can lay on them to keep cool and checking on the bunnies regularly to make sure they aren’t suffering from heatstroke.
d. feeding them less but more often because they seem to not eat their hay if it’s been left out (it becomes too dry and they don’t like it and then they don’t eat at all).
e.  a whole host of other things (such as dealing with spiders and moths) which if I mentioned would turn this into 2 blogs.

4.  Add all the above to the fact that I get irritable when I’m hot and..  “Summer Bunnies Drive Me Crazy”.

Technically it’s not really the bunnies or the summer that will drive me crazy.  Rather all the added chores and Anthropod management involved with the season.  Thank God the terribly hot weather only lasts for a couple of weeks in London hahaha!!  There’s got to be some advantage to it always being cold!!!

Anyway, after an entire year of winter (I spent London summer time in Sydney last year, where it was winter), I’m glad to have had some heat!!

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