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......