Fins to left, Fins to the right

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

fin to the left

fin to the right

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.


37 thoughts on “Fins to left, Fins to the right

  1. You probably shouldn’t have fish. Cats and dogs (and other “real” animals) tell you when they want something. Plants wilt, which if you’re looking is a signal. But fish? Fish are sort of animated, but sort of not. I never “got” fish either. I’m okay with cats, birds, dogs and plants. Just … not fish.

    • I’m good with dogs and cats. I have a golden now and years ago, I had two cats. One lived to be 13 and the other was 15. I think I’ve got that part covered but not so much with fish. And I’m bad with plants too, I killed an air plant once.

  2. hahahahahahaha – Feed Fin. Don’t kill the fish.

    Best instructions ever!!!!

    I remember the time that I came home from a week at camp and all my fish were gone… my fish bowl that had half a dozen or so happy fish when I left was completely empty when I got home. I ask mom and dad and mom said that dad wanted to be nice and had cleaned the fish tank, but he couldn’t find any of the cotton I was using in the filter and so he had just put a washcloth in there as a substitute. Yeah… the next day he was giving them the proper burial!

    If only fish were the only animals we had accidentally let pass away in our care… don’t ask.

    • I’m trying hard to keep this one alive. This time he didn’t get a goldfish but some kind of blue betta fish. That’s quite a name, goldie-jimmy. Guess he picked that one because of the way it sounds when you say it out 🙂

    • Well hello there stranger! I was just thinking about you the other day when I saw you go past me in my Pinterest feed. I need to stop by over to your blog and see what’s going on with that grand adventure of yours.

      THAT was a good one! And very appropriate as I’m deep into Dune right now. I’m reading Sisterhood of Dune, the newest book.

    • Actually this type of fish is ok to be in a bowl. We asked the woman at the pet store and she told us to buy this kind of Beta fish because it doesn’t need a filter. Honestly, I’m more concerned about me killing Fin before the bowl does 🙂

  3. We won the fish too once that went belly up. I was solo afraid the boys would be upset. They said, “YES!!! Can we flush him down the toilet??!!”” lol Boys!

    The new ones are cute!

  4. Hah. I had to have back-up emergency fish locations if Emma’s fish died when she was away. We had Shrek 2, 3, and 4, but she always thought it was Shrek 1.

  5. I remember getting three fish when I was a kid. I was horrified to learn that fish eat each other! That was enough for me 🙂

    Maybe you should get a tank with a filter, though? When I was a nanny, the kids all had fish in their rooms, and thank goodness their tanks had filters. Made things soo much easier, because they rarely had to be cleaned. The only essential task that often fell to me was feeding them 🙂

    • We asked the lady at the pet story for advice and she suggested buying these types of fish as they’ll live in a bowl without a filter. I don’t want to get a bigger tank with a filter which could lead to more fish. Right now, Fin is more than enough for me.

  6. We almost killed my neighbor’s fish last year. Our only instructions were to feed it every three days. After a boozy family dinner, three people decided they needed to feed the fish without checking with me first. Luckily, these pet-store fish are either frail and short-lived or totally indestructible. Which is worse?

  7. Pingback: Broken the curse | My journey to live an authentic life

  8. Pingback: One Fish, Two Fish | My journey to live an authentic life

Let me know, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s