Saturday, May 31, 2008

Not ready for a pet


Anika came home from school last week super-excited. Her teacher was getting rid of all her fish! Anika said the kids could have a fish if they brought a signed note from their parent giving the green light. Well, I wasn't thinking anything would actually come of that! There were 20 kids in the class to compete with after all.

Anika wrote the note with white crayon on black paper. It went something like this: "My Mom says I can have three fish; the orange one, white one, and striped one. She needs some food for the fish too". What a cute thing for my daughter to do! I didn't think that paper would actually make it to school.

The next afternoon Anika comes home with a ziploc bag with a fish inside. Ack! The teacher was serious. Anika wasn't lying. We weren't really mentally or physically prepared for a pet. I liked having pets as a kid but now as a parent there are already enough reasons to wash my hands.

So anyway, reasons why we shouldn't have a pet, let alone a fish:

  • Isabelle already put enough fish food in the bowl to feed 100 fish. For some reason, fish don't get obese from buffet-style eating. They just die.
  • Fish have really good digestive systems, if you know what I mean. Certainly no backed-up problems. However, that means frequent bowel cleaning, I mean bowl cleaning. (sorry, couldn't help myself!)
  • Animal Right Activists will be knocking down our door once they see the cute (but teeny) home our fish has. Our fish hasn't hit the glass once yet. (I really don't see a point in long-term investment in a fish bowl at this point- don't fish have a life-span of about 2 weeks?)
  • The kids like to get their hands in the bowl and feel the fish. Is that okay? Very hands-on learning at this house.
So yeah...any suggestions on how to keep kids satisfied with potato bugs for pets?

Sad update: Goldie just jumped the tank. Literally. I started blaming the girls when I saw him/her 3 feet out of the bowl, but after I put her back in (she was fine), she jumped out again! A few minutes later she died. Now I'm sad...I feel like the worst pet caretaker ever.


Megz said...

Don't worry. It will die soon and all your problems will be solved. You will just need to hire a grief counselor.

I feel guilty when I think about all the pets I loved as a child and haven't provided that opportunity for my children. But then I stop to remember how the cat went #2 on my sandals, and Tan the puppy always was urinating on me and how I would visit the pets graves and cry....So then I don't feel so guilty about depriving my children.

T said...

I'm not a pet person... W is pretty convinced that I was happy when the pet lizard kicked it. I wasn't, but I was only sad for W, not the lizard. We've had a few fish over the years - and we've never moved past the small bowl stage (of course ours were all beta fish and they like small bowls) A friend of mine had a quick burial by dumping the entire contents of the bowl into a local construction pit... saved all sorts of clean-up, and then eventually a "monument" will be erected in princesses' honor at no expense to her. my poor kids can't even visit graves because all our fish got burials at sea.

T said...

you REALLY can't blame yourself over the suicidal fish! (lower the water level a bit though and the rest might stay in a little better unless they REALLY miss elementary school)

LC said...

Wow-- a fish that did tricks. What a pet to remember. How lucky you are that you didn't have to clean the bowl or hire a fish-sitter for your next vacation. Heck, the kids probably didn't even have time to name the little guy?

Megz said...

Wow. I am so psychic. So sorry for your loss. The flowers are on their way. Hey, what about your cat?? Why don't you count her as a pet? Od did you finally dump her at a relztive's house?

cold cocoa said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Surprisingly Anika said "I don't care Mom" when I was consoling her about the fish. I thought she might have some tears, but no! She wouldn't even witness the flushing funeral! "Sick..."
Megan- I thought I told you what happened to Brenda the cat.

Megan said...

Sadly Brenda got "dumped" at my house and she ran away a half day later. Hopefully she is happy somewhere!

DDRUSSEL said...

Erin, didn't you have a dog as a child that jumped the fence and was hanged?

Sorry to bring up a sad, unsolicited reminder, but it was my first thought when I connected Erin + pet + jumping

cold cocoa said...

wow- that's gruesome DD. No, it didn't get hanged! Hung? It just jumped the fence with something around its neck but I'm not telling you any more because the stories just get so exaggerated! But this fish jumping 3 feet was some serious insanity.

rut said...

Well, when I heard our oldest offer consoling words to me after it happened, and hearing that she did the same for Cold Cocoa, my grief diminished substantially.

She was a good fish.

And for the record, Brenda is a good cat, and we only "dumped" her on my sis because we wanted her to be where she'd be loved.

Now, she and Goldie are having a heavenly chase on the Other Side.

May all of the plants that have perished in our care beautifully frame their adventures.

Sher said...

Ha! I can't believe I missed the pet conversation. Maybe you won't even catch this. We don't do pets but we have had, in the distant past, a fish whose gross bowl I always had to clean and I do NOT like catching fish. I think they are a bit creepy. We had a bird. I like birds but this one was truly the only evil parakeet I've ever met. I'd be nice and feed it and it would hand on my finger -- drawing blood. Some thanks! Finally the cat. I ended up being allergic and I didn't appreciate it always stalking my baby (Connor). We've given up. It would have been interesting to see the fish jump but then you'd have to touch it to put it back. EWWWW.

Sher said...

That was hang on my finger not hand.

DDRUSSEL said...

Erin, don't worry. We had our beloved mutant dog Reagan and a tuxedo cat named Boots. Reagan died of lifetime in October and Boots died in April. Both of old age. Matt even paid to have the cat autopsied to make sure it wasn't something awful like choking on spare change or a packing peanut. We are now in a moratorium on pets. Moral of the story--buy a pet with a long life span.

cold cocoa said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. Such a good topic. Yes, pets can be close to the heart, even if we don't like them. Does that sum it up?

And Daralyn, even if they have a long-life span that could be harder when they pass on. I'm thinking this attachment of two days is all we could handle with our pet fish. But a pet we actually loved...that would be too hard!