"The third floor has a lot of great stuff. But go to your left when you get in, not the right."(whispers)
"There's goldfish!"This was the scene at a kids' carnival a couple weeks ago where mini got her very first pet. After successfully throwing a football through a hole, she was handed a plastic bag containing water and a tiny, orange, slow-moving goldfish. She immediately named him...
wait for it....
Fishy didn't look like he was going to make it home. But mini was so excited, she insisted we stop by the pet store on the way home to get a proper home for him.
Horrible mother confession time: knowing full well that carnival fish never last more than a day we dragged out the purchase, hoping to avoid blowing $25 on fish accouterments that would not be needed for more than a day. So we stalled.
"Ooh, a toy store! Let's stop in the toy store! We need to get your classmate a birthday present! How lucky are you today!"Ah, the old "distract them by luring them into a toy store" trick. Works every time.
We didn't stop there though. No, we conveniently missed the bus by just a minute, accidentally got off one stop late, all in an effort to avoid this additional purchase. And Fishy was looking paler by the minute.
Sadly, Poker Chick's ruse ran out and she did, in fact have to purchase a fish bowl. And food. And fish bowl cleaners. And, of course, multicolored gravel. No self-respecting city fish would live without.
|Behold: Fishy in his new pied-a-terre.|
So she did what any guilt-ridden mother would do at this point, she celebrated Fishy's homecoming but warned Mini that goldfish don't live long, especially carnival fish. It became a teaching moment, a science lesson, about how everything is food for someone else, and small fish are really just made to be food for bigger fish. So they're not supposed to live long. Awesome. Using the old educational route to alleviate guilt.
Fishy thrived in her new luxury home. Every morning Mini woke, sparkle in her eye, and ran to the fishbowl.
"Fishy's still alive!!!!"she'd exclaim.
After a few days of this, we all got kind of used to Fishy. Other kids' fish died off, but Fishy survived. We made it to the one week. Changed the fishbowl water. And Fishy made it through. A few days later, Fishy was still swimming around happily. In fact, Fishy was looking downright sprightly. Yes, sprightly.
So it was shocking even to Poker chick herself that when the nanny finally discovered Fishy floating in that horrible side-down position in the bowl, who was the most upset? Yes, yours truly. The hypocritical mother. All that stress worrying about mini sobbing in her room was clearly wasted. Mini enjoyed the whole pet-owning experience, but was equally comfortable relinquishing her fish-feeding responsibilities.
What's interesting about this story is that it has Poker Chick wondering if the carnival scene would have played out differently in the suburbs. Do you welcome a fish when you have a yard and dirt? Do only city peeps cringe and run for their lives when they see fish offered as prizes and warn each other promptly? We'd love to hear from our city and suburb friends to see if this theory holds up.
So R.I.P. Fishy. Here's hoping you're in fishy heaven, enjoying that SpongeBob Squarepants "diver" Mini wanted that we were too cheap to buy you.
In the meantime, one thing was clear: joke was on mom, who wept like a little baby at the loss of Fishy. He was a good fish. Really.