A Strange Request
My son Jake asked me a strange request last week …. “Can I get a fish?”
Every since he turned 10, Jake has been asking for more responsibilities. Just this weekend, he asked me how to make his own breakfast. Trust me, I’m all for it. That’s one thing less on my ever-growing list of things to do.
But a fish? Jake explained that he wanted his own pet that he could take care of himself. I guess a fish was the easiest thing he could think of.
Of course, I agreed. I mean, how much harm can a fish be except for the smell if he doesn’t clean the bowl? Jake spent the rest of the day promising me that he’ll clean the bowl if I would take him to the store the next day. Again, I agreed.
Then I remembered that we had all this fish stuff. The summer before kindergarten, Jake’s preschool held a carnival and Jake won two goldfish throwing something into something else that five year old kids can make in one shot. Jake lovingly showed me his bag ‘o fish and begged me to let him keep them.
Of course, I agreed. Then I realized that we didn’t have any place to put his two fishy friends. We hit the Wal-Mart and bought the full-fish package. For the low price of $20, we got a bowl, colorful rocks, a fishnet and some plastic things that I think were suppose to be underwater trees. We bought some food and a bottle of that stuff that helps tap water turn into something safe for fish to swim in.
We set up the bowl and dumped in the fish. Jake named them Phineas and Ferb, after that cartoon show. I couldn’t tell which one was Ferb or Phineas but Jake swore he could tell the difference.
So life was going on swimmingly (come on, you knew that was coming) until the day I came home to find the house smelling like a bad fish dinner. Jake was too young to clean this thing so cleaning out the bowl was now added to my to-do list.
I thought I got all the soap out but when I put the water back into the bowl, it bubbled a bit. I put a few more drops of the cleaning stuff, waited the 15 minutes and dropped the fish back in. That should fix it, right?
The next morning, Phineas and Ferb were floating belly up in the bowl. I gave them a ceremonial burial and was thankful that Jake was at his Dad’s for a couple of days. It gave me time to come with a good story.
Basically, I told him that they were just these cheap fish and we were lucky that they lasted two weeks. He didn’t cry so that moment of mom guilt was cleverly avoided.
Our latest addition to our home: Fin the fish
For most of the weekend, Fin spent most of his time hiding in the log. When we couldn’t find him, we started tapping the bowl until I remembered that scene in Finding Nemo where the weird kid taps the bowl and the fish all hear this loud banging noise.
A couple of times we found him floating near the top and we both thought he was dead. I worried if I had some kind of fish curse but after a few spins of the bowl, he swam away.
Jake’s gone to his Dad’s for a few days. My instructions were simple:
1. Feed Fin
2. Don’t kill the fish.