I like my Easter bunnies chocolate. Not hopping around my living room. There is a reason for that.

I got to explain it to my daughter Gumdrop, because her kids are begging for a pet bunny.

I tell her: First, the kids will figure out in a hurry that bunnies don’t lay chocolate eggs. (At least, you hope they figure it out.)

And second, once Easter is over, you still got the bunny hoppity-hopping behind you wherever you go. Or else he’s chewing on the cord to the TV, because God forbid the poor little thing should be in a cage.

Which you don’t have anyway because your husband promised to build one and didn’t, so the bunny has to sleep in the guest bathtub at night, and you’re going to have a fun time cleaning all the hay and bedding and whatnot – especially whatnot – out of there when Aunt Chlorine shows up to visit.

I know.

Years ago, when my kids were little, Uncles Leech and Lurch surprised us all with a real live bunny one Easter morning.

This bunny’s name was “Playboy,” because Leech and Lurch thought it would be hilarious to hear the kids talking about their Playboy bunny. Haw, haw.

Well, my brain was obviously weak from chocolate deprivation over Lent, and I let him stay.

And he was cute. I’ll say that. My kids actually stopped shoving chocolate eggs down their throats long enough to cuddle him.

Now this was back when we all lived in Chalmette. The entire Gunch family came over for Easter dinner, including my sister-in-law Larva and her husband Fred and their kids, and my other sister-in-law Gloriosa, who wasn’t married yet. My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, brought the ham and vegetables; I made confetti potato salad out of the hard-boiled eggs the kids dyed but wouldn’t eat; and everything else we ate was chocolate.

Ms. Larda, who wanted to make sure her grandkids wouldn’t suffer from not having enough candy at Easter, had brought even more chocolate eggs, and Gloriosa, the family health nut, brought some little oatmeal balls she made herself to add to the baskets. Nobody was grateful for them except Fred, who had decided to eat healthy.

After dinner – which the kids didn’t eat any of, naturally – we grown-ups went out to sit and burp on the front porch. The kids played with Playboy bunny in the living room until he got sick of them and hid under the sofa.

Then Gumdrop, who was 7 and the oldest, talked the others into a game. They would dump all their candy into one big pile on the living room floor. She would think of a number and whoever guessed it would get to pick out a piece of candy. But if they missed it, she would get to pick a candy. Well, you can imagine how that went. When the screams got loud enough, me and Ms. Larda stomped in there, sent Gumdrop to her room and picked up all the candy off the floor and put it equally in everybody’s basket.

Now Gloriosa’s little oatmeal balls came without wrappers and they were on the floor, too. But I knew she would get real mad if I threw them out, so I scooped them up, made a quick sign of the cross with them and put them in the baskets anyway.

After everybody left and the kids were in bed, I sneaked over to Gumdrop’s basket. I told myself I wouldn’t take nothing good – just a handful of that healthy stuff.

Patooie! It was so awful, I knew God was punishing me for stealing the child’s candy.

A few minutes later, Playboy hopped past and deposited a little pile of bunny nuggets behind him. I remembered that Lurch and Leech said bunnies can be litter-box trained, but obviously they didn’t bother. I started to clean it up. Funny. It looked a lot like Glorisosa’s … ACK!

After I gargled a lot, I threw out everything that looked oatmeal-ly in the kids’ baskets and took a can of Lysol and sprayed everything wrapped. Then I called Larva.

I said “You know those oatmeal clumps from Glorisosa …”

“Fred got them all,” she said.

“He ate them?” I said.

“He tried. He put them in a bowl with milk. But they were so bad he spat them out. And he’ll never eat health food again.”

And he never did.