Monday, September 26, 2011

Honesty Isn't Always the Best Policy...

I went to Pet Smart this morning to buy a new fish - a yellow guppy - to replace the one that I found lifeless at the bottom of our little aquarium about a week ago. 

I managed to hide our one-gallon-tank behind lunch boxes and a bag of potato chips for a few days hoping the kids wouldn't notice that one fish had gone missing before I had a chance to get to the store. Then a couple of days ago while Abby was still at school - thank goodness - Noah was standing next to the kitchen counter (before I replaced the lunchbox) and says, "Mom, where is Abby's fish?"

"What do you mean, bud? It's in there."

"But I don't see it."

"Oh, I am sure he's just hiding....hey - do you want a cookie?"

Lying to my kid. I know. I am not proud, but I tell ya, if Abby had found out that another precious fish had gone belly-up, it would not have been pretty. 

It was this past 4th of July when she discovered her zebra fish at the bottom of the tank. (That very same fish that I was tricked into getting three years ago.) She completely flipped. Flipped. I am talkin' screaming, crying, could hardly went on for probably thirty minutes. No lie. It was awful. There was no calming her down either. At one point, Pat and I looked at each other as she was wailing, her head buried in her pillow, as we sat on her bed - and we had to to keep from laughing. Terrible parents, aren't we? Her reaction was just so over-the-top dramatic, we were both taken off guard, I think. She had never had a meltdown like this before. Ever.  Of course, she wouldn't flush it. Once she regained her composure, we wrapped it in a paper towel and buried it next to a bush at the front of the house. She made a sign with its name - Flower - and taped it to a popsicle stick to mark its grave. Poor kid...and fish.

Yeah, I didn't want to put her through that again...and I didn't want to witness it again either.

So when I asked the guy at Pet Smart if I could get a fish with a longer yellow tail, I told him that I was doing a bad thing and replacing my daughter's fish without her knowing.

"Oh, we get that at least two or three times a week," he said, all nonchalant.

"Really?" I laughed, feeling relieved. "I'm glad I'm not the only one."

Still, I have my fingers crossed that this yellow guppy - Charming (Jr.) -  keeps on swimming for a good long while.


amanda said...

oh honey i am sure you aren't the only one!! pretty sure it is a parents rite of passage :)

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

At first, I was shaking my head because I really don't believe in hiding death from kids and then you wrote about her first fish experience... Yeah. I don't blame you! Do you guys have discussions about death on a regular basis? Maybe she has questions or fears that she isn't sharing? Poor baby...

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

I agree with you, Tracey. Death is something that definitely has to be explained, and we have talked about it on several occasions. Honestly, I think her reaction to the fish was a mixture of emotions because we were in the process of packing up the house to move as well...and a little bit of seven-year-old drama queen kicked in too. This time around, we are still getting settled into our new place, and I just didn't want the fish drama again...for her sake and mine. haha :)

Jenny Ramsey said...

raising4boys said...

That is a tough one. I remember hearing that's good for children to have pets and that it's a good way to teach them about death.

But I don't blame you if she took it so hard the first time. But I love that she buried and put a grave marker in the spot. My son sadly flushed his first fish that died.

Chelle said...

Haha! Here's hoping Charming (Jr.) stays alive and happy for awhile :)