Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Dead Fish


There are several phrases a Mompreneur dreads hearing when she walks in the door at the end of the day. Among them are: "I threw up three times today and have a weird rash on my butt" and "Remember that (insert any precious or dangerous object here) you told us Never To Touch?"

Last night, Bananna greeted me with "Mommy-there is something WRONG WITH MY FISH."

I stood in front of the plastic aquarium shaped like Sponge Bob's pineapple abode and peered through the brackish water at the lifeless form of our Japanese Fighting Fish. And Man, are those fish aptly named! You can go WEEKS without feeding them or changing their water. Erm...except when you can't. And then you end up with a four year old looking up at you with big blue eyes and asking "Is he SLEEPING Mommy? Is he just taking a long nap?"

For a brief instant I considered saying "YES-YES! Japanese fighting fish HIBERNATE in the Summer." Which would have bought some time to scoot down to PetCo and continue to perpetuate the myth that LIFE IS ALWAYS WONDERFUL. And those of you who know me can attest to the fact that I RARELY miss an opportunity to blatantly lie to my own children. Complicatedboy still believes Bambi's mother returns in Part Two.

But instead I said something to the effect of "That sucker is deader than a doorknob." And then I held her while she cried for what felt like THE NEXT THREE HOURS. And the whole time I'm doing the "mommy rub" (slow circles on the back accompanied by the words "shhh shhhh" ) I am thinking about how this is going to be such a great opportunity to talk about DEATH and I tell her "We're going to plan a GREAT FUNERAL for your fish." I can picture it clearly: Complicatedboy will deliver a beautiful eulogy, Bananna will cast flower petals into the water, we'll bow our heads as we finally flush and then we will go have a wake--WITH WINE. LOTS OF WINE. And I whisper in her ears how the fish will have this fantastic send off and then go on to swim happily in Heaven with Grandma and Chirpie, and gradually the pauses lengthen between sobs and I can see that she is clearly beginning to consider what an appropriate outfit would be for such an auspicious occasion...maybe even A PARTY DRESS?

And I take her wee hand in mine and we walk towards the bathroom together and I call over my shoulder to Sexyhusbandomine to bring forth the deceased that we might commence ceremonies--which is when Sexyhusbandomine sheepishly held up the empty aquarium and I realized the opportunity had passed.

And O my--the CRYING. The SOBBING. The HYSTERICAL CARRYING ON. And that was just me-you should have seen Bananna.

So Complicatedboy chimes in and suggests we write a letter to God. Apparently, while sitting on the end of his bed one night for HOURS waiting for him to fall asleep as he obsessed about his death, my death, the death of anyone he loved, the death of people he didn't know, and wether or not IRON MAN was a TRUE STORY.....I may have told him that he could write his feelings down as Letters to People in Heaven. I can't remember why I said this--although I'm sure it made sense at the time, and maybe I was trying to get him to do it for his homework project knowing it would freak the heck out of his teacher-but Complicatedboy thinks that I have told him that he can write a letter to God the same way he writes a letter to Santa each Christmas.... and he ran for pencil and paper:

DER GOD
HI THIS IS ME RITING THIS CULD YOU PLEASE
BRING THE FISH BAK FOR MY SISTER

He placed it reverently in the middle of the living room rug after asking Bananna and I to join him in a circle with our heads bowed.

And CAN YOU BELIEVE IT............while Bananna and Complicatedboy took their bath a LETTER FROM THE FISH ARRIVED. Apparently, in addition to being able to breathe their own poop for weeks at a time, these remarkable creatures can send messages to children after they have passed on. In bubble lettering it said:

I CAN'T COME BACK
I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
NOW WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO ASK YOUR DAD ABOUT GETTING THAT KITTEN

13 comments:

DE_Gene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kip said...

For the record, my haste was caused by complicatedboy grabbing my shirt and saying: "Can i flush him? Please, please can I flush him?" I felt some urgency to not sensationalize the flushing part. I probably should have consulted with the other adult in the house.

Lorrie Veasey said...

Maybe we should get you a "CHECK WITH THE BOSS" tattoo. You could tell your friends & family it's a tribute to Bruce Springsteen--but WE'LL know what it REALLY means.

kwr221 said...

Our first goldfish(s) died when Darling Daughter and her BFF decided they liked the fish so much that they needed to cuddle them in their hands and pet them.

We've since moved on to betas and big signs that say "DO not pick me up".

And we got cats to encourage her nurturing, nuzzzling, caring side.

Now they're tortured daily and have taken to giving the fish the evil eye.

We've had lots of "life ;essons" around here.

kwr221 said...

lessons, not ;essons, but you knew that.

I really like the "check with the boss tattoo" heh. :-)

anna said...

Oh, do I dread that day . . .

sarah said...

So hows about that kitten? what did daddy say? I mean it could take years to get over a premature flush...but if a kitten were involved...

TJ said...

Oh fish, isn't really where all the really important life lessons start?

Bj in Dallas said...

Our first fish encounter was a very agressive beta named Cowboy who did a flip out of his bowl and dried on the kitchen floor before I (or the dogs) found him. I had this big speech for his 'owner' about death, accidents, spontaneous combustion, etc, and she looked at the bowl and then looked at me and said "stupid fish"
(The toilet bowl ceremony was equally touching)

Miss Thystle said...

Be glad you don't have a yard! I've been to funerals for three hamsters & two hermit crabs. Complete with touching memories, flowers and HEADSTONES. My front yard looks like it's gardened by Morticia Addams.

Mary Anna said...

My older son didn't even seem to mind when the fish died. Now, when my 15-year-old cat passed away, that was an entirely different story. He still randomly cries, and when I ask why, he sobs that he misses Tigger.

BTW: No funeral for either. Rusty (the fish) was flushed before Thing 1 ever work up. Tigger had to be put down due to his increasingly violent temperment due to his dementia. But, the vet did make a paw print for us and sent several cards - along with the cat's ashes in an urn that's now in the guest room because I don't know what else to do with it.

Tash said...

No but for some dark reason the whole "he believes Bambi's Mom returns in Part II" struck me as so funny I laughed till I cried.

When I was four I went on vacation with my parents and Grandma was left to care for the fish - and she did. She fed them just as she was supposed to...too bad it was a 100 degree summer and she shut all the windows. Those suckers were plump and cooked by the time I got home...oh the horror!

Becky said...

Oh man, that made me laugh, but I feel your pain too! We lost two fish this spring--we accidentally filled their bowl with water straight from the tap. Whoops! We gave them a proper burial in the backyard.

But I felt guilt. All guilt in the house flows to mama.