Friday, April 13, 2012

when the inevitable happens

Kids love pets; I think it is normal that they constantly ask for a pet. I grew up with dogs, and while I am still a huge dog lover today, I have no interest in adding any kind of pet to our home.

Today, however - Julien asked the inevitable question - "mommy, how about we get a pet fish?". Now, to most people, your probably thinking that it is a great idea to get a pet fish. Pretty simple to take care of, no walking involved and relatively little impact on your life.

However, you don't know my history with fish.  When I was 11, I begged my parents for a goldfish. They finally gave in, and off to the pet store we went.  I found a cute little fishbowl, and decided on the goldfish I wanted. The pet store clerk bagged it and home we went. I was so excited to have my fish. The next day, I decided that Goldie was lonely and needed a friend. Back to the pet store I went, and another goldfish was brought home in a bag.  A couple days later, I noticed the bowl needed to be cleaned. My parents were on their way out, and told me they would help me when they got home. That wasn't acceptable to me - these were my fish, and I was going to take care of them all on my own.

I grabbed a large plastic container, filled it with water and transferred the fish...what happened next scarred me for life - honestly, it did.  The fish swam down  - - and then they floated right up. I screamed for my brother to come and help me rescue the fish - but by the time he got there it was too late. I was heartbroken - who knew that fish don't need to be kept warm in hot water? Really - please keep in mind that I was 11, and I had the best of intentions. I didn't want them to be cold while I was cleaning their home.

I was in tears, and it was not made any better by my loving brother that kept reminding me I boiled my fish... (really, 20 years later and it is still something he teases me about) My parents arrived home to find me heartbroken and in tears, and to make it up to me my dad took me to the pet store, bought me a very nice aquarium and let me pick some tropical fish - with the promise that I not ever clean the tank without his help.

So, now that you know the back story, you will maybe, somewhat understand why I was praying that my children would never, ever utter those words. Julien didn't really understand why or how I killed my fish, but when he saw the bunny rabbit he wasn't even paying attention to me - as I was trying to hide the tears welling up in my eyes.

It took many, many years for me to even be able to speak of my first fish owning experience.....and now I can kind of see the humour in it. But my poor, poor niece - I found out last summer that she also boiled her fish......

15 comments:

  1. oh no, that would be pretty sad for a kid for sure. I find that fish die too often, well in our house they did and that was before we had kids so there is no way we are getting one and I hate cleaning fish bowls

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    1. I also learned to hate cleaning bowls.....thanks for visiting!

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  2. Childhood trauma is the worst! I totally feel you! My parents went with turtles as our first pets. More solid than fish and just as easy to maintain or they thought. My first was a female named Gertrude. I remember feeding her and going to my friends only to come back to her shell shocked. She flipped herself over and suffocated. I felt terrible for a long time because she was Just a baby turtle :(( I eventually got another that lived until I was 16 and he bit my cousin so my parents let him go in the wild :( I was so upset!

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    1. My cousin had a turtle....when he died, it was winter so they put him in the freezer - where he stayed for awhile...my aunt used to tease my cousin about having turtle soup....she was not impressed

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  3. We just set up our fish tank with guppies a few weeks ago and the kids love it! I say - go for it! Turn your negative experience into a positive and teach your son how to properly set up their habitat, he'll love it : ) Use this as a chance to make peace with the fish (and your past) ; P Good luck!

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    1. thanks for stopping by - we won't be buying any fish though. I had them all through high school and I am done.....

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  4. Someone boiled a fish?! What?! Poor thing (both your niece and the fish).

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  5. Oh no! Leave it to brothers with relentless teasing. I could see why you didn't look forward to that! :) I do find fish die too often too. :D

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    1. yes - brothers tend to not let you forget things...

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  6. ahhh I have a bad memories of my gold fish as well. coming home every day for a week and finding another one dead. I am happy that DS is too young to ask for pets...yet!

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    1. He has asked for pets before - but until the fish it never really hit home.....thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Ah man - good ol' brothers for ya! Mine never likes to let me forget about anything either.

    When my husband and I first moved in together we decided to get a goldfish. While cleaning the tank one day, the fish flopped out of the net during transfer and slammed itself off the side of the bar. Killing itself instantly. I don't think I ever could see myself caring for another fish again.

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    1. that's sad - it's no fun when these things happen

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  8. Like you said, you were 11 and just wanted to do the best by your fish. I hope that you've finally forgiven yourself. Goldie would understand.

    Besos Sarah.

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