Thanks everyone for your kind comments. I thought I'd actually type up a wee post for you in response.
I actually followed his pattern for the tail, except I knit it round. For items like this (thin tubes of I-cord), I like to add reinforcement so that they are sturdier. For example, the legs on the Shaun the Sheep mobile sheep all have pipe cleaners inserted into the legs so that they can properly stand. I suppose I could go buy flower wire, but I'm a crafty mom and I have excess pipe cleaners on hand.
Inserted is the incorrect term. I originally tried to insert pipe cleaners into I-cords knit with 4 stitches with worsted weight yarn on US2-3 needles and I found that it was frustrating and quite futile. I couldn't shove the pipe cleaner in there.
So, I now actually knit the pipecleaner into the I-cord, making sure the yarn 'wraps' the pipecleaner as I bring the yarn from the end of the knit row to the front for the next row. One hint is to keep the pipecleaner long so that you can push the base end into the animal before sewing (this allows for more stability). I then cut the tail tip end and knit the I-cord to cover the pipecleaner.
As for advanced planning on the rat...well, I don't know if you noticed, my uhmmm advance was one day in advance. And I almost didn't finish it. It was planned for my sister (who is born in the year of the rat), but my son decided he likes it and it's now his.
What else? oh, last year was the year of the Boar (aka Pig). I think that that was an auspicious year, but what do I know? I just now checked to make sure that child one is born in the year of the Ram (aka goat aka sheep) and the other is born in the year of the Dog (or as she says ' gog').
And don't get me started on astrology...the dog is a bull (and the sign completely suits her -- hee bull dog) while the goat is a aquarian (what's aquarius again? water? a water goat?)
*there's not pics (sorry) because I am tired after this weekend's festivities. My son's 5th birthday party with 18 4-6yr olds--not to mention the below 3 and the over 8 crowd.
ps. fleegle tagged me for 7 facts, I'm pondering them...