A Fish Tale

December 30th, 2009 | Posted by Alison Spath in Parenting

So admittedly, I’ve been doing very little cooking in recent weeks, this last week in particular. I feel like I’m just now getting my bearings in this new kitchen. I’ve been busy finding a place for everything, trying to figure out what’s going to work, what’s not, what I need and what I don’t, what can be donated, thrown away or put into storage to be dug out as needed all while wondering where the hell all this crap came from in the first place.

This would be why I haven’t been writing much about new recipes or foods I’m trying lately – there are no new recipes or foods to speak of. I beg for forgiveness as I veer wildly off course for a short while here.

Ready to veer?

While packing and unpacking, Zak uncovered the fish bowl – the same fish bowl we used to house our monarch caterpillar this summer actually. Thinking back on how that ended and the fate of our poor little caterpillar, we probably should have seen this coming.

Take note, this is a bit of very obvious foreshadowing.

At one point after Christmas, a conversation went down between Zak and the girls that ended with the promise of some fish to fill the aforementioned fish bowl. I absolutely would have vetoed this decision had I been there to cast my vote. In my mind fish = a dirty fish bowl = one more thing I have to clean. The only way he got me to agree to fish before they walked out the door to the pet store was by signing an affidavit stating that I would never have to clean a fish bowl and that he and the girls would take care of everything.

Fine. Sign here and then you can go get your fish.

Did you know that at Petco fish come with a 15 day warranty? True story. Just bring back your dead fish and a sample of the water and they’ll scoop another one out of the tank for you, no questions asked.

(More foreshadowing.)

So on Sunday they got fish. Two fish to be exact, one for each of them. And then on Monday morning when I was on the phone with the phone company trying to figure out why our internet is still not working (this post would be brought to you by some neighbor we’ve yet to meet named “Ruth” who very fortunately has her wireless network wide open. Thank you Ruth for unknowingly keeping me sane until the phone company gets their act in gear) and at that exact same time as luck with have it (or unlucky, if you are a fish) Zak was on a work call – therefore leaving the girls relatively unattended with new fish and a brand new container of fish food.

Do you see where this is going? Let’s just say that on Tuesday, Goldie wasn’t looking too hot. She was spending an awful lot of time at the top of the fish bowl last night. I think we better just jump right to the punch here and reveal what we woke up to first thing this morning, shall we?

As Maxine pointed out in the video, we don’t have nets. So I went down to the kitchen to scrounge around and came back upstairs with the best thing I could to find to scoop out our poor little fish.

A 1/3 c measure.

Dead Fish

Ava showed Maxine and suddenly it started to sink in.

Show Max

Uh oh.

Uh Oh

Oh no.

Oh No Oh No

Oh no oh no oh no no no no no put the camera down you stupid woman and comfort your child!

What to do? What to do?? Wait! I know!

Who wants left over chocolate cheese cake for breakfast?!

OK – let’s not go there. Cheesecake for comfort! Are you sad? Here! Feel better! Eat something sweet!

Why is that the first thing that comes to mind? Although come to think of it, how many times did I whip out my boob to nurse this child when she was sad or hurt or frustrated or bored? Is it any wonder we use food to make ourselves feel better? It’s practically built in and ingrained into us from Day 1!

Comfort food musings aside, after putting the camera down and saying good bye, we skipped the visit to the fridge and headed for the couch instead to spend 20 minutes crying about fish and talking about what we believe happens after someone dies. These things happen. It’s OK to be sad and mourn the loss of our little friend. He was a good fish and he was probably sick before he even came home to us (back peddle! back peddle! I didn’t expect her to be so sad! Quick QUICK turn this ship around QUICK!) and he’s not sick or suffering anymore.

Why don’t these kids come with a manual? Did yours come with a manual? Check the index for me, is there a section on Dead Fish?

A few more tears and lots of hugs instead of rich desserts, I think we’ve all recovered from our fishy incident that greeted us with the rising sun this morning.

And no, we are not going to take Petco up on their offer for a replacement fish. Obviously. Goldie is in a better place now and therefore long gone. Instead we’ll allow what’s left of the fish food to last 50% longer than it would have otherwise.

Now… who wants cheesecake for dinner?

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18 Responses

  • Jennifer says:

    Awwwww…..poor Goldie. That picture of Maxine in tears broke my heart. :( She looks SOOO sad. Was Goldie Maxine’s fish? I think you handled it perfectly by just talking it through so they understand. :)

    Although, I think I would sneak some cheesecake for myself to make everything better for me. (haha)

  • Erin says:

    Ohhhh, poor Goldie and poor girls! Max’s little face is too much. Loss is hard, no matter how big or small (or scaly). This made me think of The Cosby Show episode when Rudy’s fish dies and they have a funeral for it. I love, though, that you reflected on not emotionally eating in this scenario. You are one smart, kind, powerfully good Mama!

  • Amy says:

    Oh, sorry to hear about the fish. I got my Master’s in Fisheries and can’t keep a fish alive to save my life.

  • Carbzilla says:

    Oh nooooooo – Maxine’s face crushed me! Poor thing. Yes, you’re a GREAT mom for not offering cheesecake.

  • Cindy says:

    oh…Ali…My heart so broke watching the girls explain what happened! Some of life’s lessons are tough. No manual and you did just fine!
    Kyle had a hampster once that he ignored and it ate a hole out of the cage and escaped. We had to write a “come home” card and set it outside with celery. No good. I am sure lil hamster is happier not being ignored by a 4 yo who was freaked out by a 1 oz hamster!

    kids and pets. I have mixed feelings!

    big hugs and kisses to the girls!

  • First off, sorry about the fish. Obviously your youngest was quite upset.

    But I have to thank you for this post. That three part photo reaction sequence was possibly the funniest thing I’ve seen all year. I have tears running down my face. I’m evil I know but that last photo almost made me fall off my stationary bike.

    I can’t stop laughing….I’m bookmarking this post!!!

  • Julie says:

    Sorry about the fishie.

    You kill me Alison, you really do! The photo montage, your commentary, whipping out your boob, the video and Maxine saying he got killed…hilarious.

    You don’t need no mom manual girl, you can write one.

  • Holly says:

    oh alison…this is such a classic story. although sad, i think everyone can relate. and yes, the best part of the video is max saying there are no nets. and the fact the fish got killed. so precious :)

    and i can’t help with the manual thing. everytime the thought of having a kid pops in my head, i remember i can barely take care of myself!

    love you mama!

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  • Amy says:

    Oh gosh, how funny. Just not for Max. Reminds me of when I offhandedly told my daughter that the cat had died, thinking it would be no big deal and it WAS. A very big deal. But it sounds like you guys had a great talk about death and dying.

  • Bernadette says:

    OMG I am laughing so hard! Because geez, I’ve been there… we must have got our kids from the same place because mine came with no manual either!! I’ve been winging it for 22 years and haven’t lost one yet (kids that is…).

    You are SO funny!

    kisses to the girls!!

  • Whit says:

    OMG I am laughing so hard, but also crying and not just from the laughter. First of all, Max and Ava have THE CUTEST VOICES. I love to hear kids talk. They are the most precious munchkins EVER. Seriously.

    Secondly, those precious munchkins remind me of when our ‘Goldie’ died. She always died. Always went to a watery grave as well. A rite of passage in every kids life. The Death Of Fish.

    Thirdly, I hope you threw that measuring cup away.

  • “he got killed” – best line of the movie!

  • Pat says:

    OMG they broke my heart! Poor Max! If there was any decent cheesecake in this backwater redneck place, I’d ship it to you!!!

  • Libby says:

    Aw…. poor Maxine. You can tell on the video she really doesn’t get it. Hope she’s not too traumatised. When Christy “accidently” killed her guinea pig I was way more upset than she was :-).


  • barb says:

    My daughter mailed this to me to read and I am laughing but empathetic at the same time. Long ago, my daughters also had goldfish. One was named Goldie! (Must be a common name for fish like Brooke or Brittney is for humans.)Our 18 cent goldfish grew long and luxurious tails and were quite tame and lovely for a year or more until they both got a fish disease called “ick” and first one died and then the other. The trauma was greater than I imagined because when I flushed the first to expire down the toilet I found the girls were expecting something more like a funeral at the flowerbed. When one of the girls related the experience at school and even drew a picture describing the hurt; “when my Mom flushed my fish down then toilet”- it became apparent that it was saddest day of her life. We gave the second fish a little burial service. My daughters are now 26 and 28 and don’t seem to have permanent damage from the whole experience. Thanks for the very sweet story!

    • Alison says:

      I loved this story Barb! It sounds like your daughters are about the same distance in age as my girls… and I’m so glad to hear they were scared for life by the fish incident! Our second fish is swimming, now I’m thinking I just may have to go the proper burial route when the time comes!