Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wanna Teach Your Kids About Death?

Buy them an aquarium.

My daughter got an aquarium for Christmas. A pretty good one too, since conicidentally the week before I hooked up with some loudmouth in a poker game who was convinced I was just lucky. Apparently lucky enough to upgrade the tank we were going to buy to a much nicer version. Even got one of those castles and treasure chests that make fish feel right at home.

And then we added four fish to the tank. My daughter immediately named them. Two of them were called "Zack" and "Cody", after the main characters in some wretched show my kids love about two twins growing up in a hotel. I've seen it a few times, usually after being told that "it's really funny", and I can't wach it without thinking "Wow, when my kids act like that, they learn about physics and force equals velocity times mass and all that good stuff", and then I leave the room.

But at any rate for the last three months Zack and Cody have been swimming in small cricles and eating food and, of course, admiring the view from the castle battlements. Until Sunday.

Sunday morning I wake up and wander into the bathroom to get ready to shower.

Really, try to contain your excitement out there.

I am interrupted by a piercing shriek, which I recognize as the one my daughter uses when she's in real pain, as opposed to the one shes uses the 95% of the time she's being a drama queen. Honestly, she stubs her toe and we used to get ready to go to the ER. Now we just tell her to put some butter on it. That usually confuses her enough to get her quiet, although one of these days she probably will get out the butter and then we're screwed.

But this shriek was one of real pain, so I started to dash downstairs and heard her finally piece together a coherent sentence "Zack's dead!!"

And he was, although unfortunately it was the fish and not the TV character. Which would have been great. Nope, Zack the fish was doing the upside down float, and his three cohorts seemed not to care. We scooped him out and held a nice little service over the toilet, then sent him off to his eteral reward, which apparently was a trip to our septic tank.

That night we went out to dinner and when I asked my son what he was getting he looked at his sister and then muttered to me "Not the fish."


Blogger Maggie said...

Just don't come home dressed as The Gorton's Fish Stick Guy...

9:52 AM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

R.I.P Zack.

I like the part about confusing her with the butter...gonna have to try that!

11:15 AM  
Blogger Rhonda said...

you'll have to try a hamster.
except they don't flush well.

1:40 PM  
Blogger eclectic said...

Aw... that's hard. I'm sorry for her loss. Good for you to hold a little solemn service for her fish. You could get her another one, you know?

2:08 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

Aww poor little fish, still a puppy or a kitten would have been worse to deal with....

2:11 PM  
Blogger The Recovering Straight Girl said...

I'm glad I'm not the only adult that is tortured into watching that damn television show.

Once we had a fish who was upside down with it's little wing/fin things flapping and it's mouth gasping for (breath.) It was dying but just wouldn't die. I felt that it was terrible to allow my children to watch the poor thing suffer so I did the most humane thing I could think of. I poured a bunch of Vodka in it's bowl until it "went to sleep." Fish are heartbreakers for sure.

2:21 PM  
Blogger JD's Rose said...

Awww... too cute.

And, your daughter... a drama queen?


3:34 PM  
Blogger Tyguy said...

Yeah, I've tried the self Euthanasia by Vodka. Didn't work, but funny enough the end of the story did involve a toilet.

Mental note ~ Don't fall for the butter trick when Tysgirl decides to try it on me.

5:25 PM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Maggie, I actually went as a drowned Gorton's guy for Halloween one year. Of course, my wife went as a belly dancer and no one paid attention to me.

Tysgirl, go for it. The "Ok,...wait, what??" look on their little faces is priceless.

Rhonda, my parents yard has about 8 rodent burial plots. I'm in no hurry to duplicate that...or to explain to the plumber why a hmaster backed up the toilet.

Eclectic, two new fish will be joining us this weekend. Soon death will be common place in our house nad my kids will be as hardened to it as your run of the mill sociopath. Wait, why is this a good idea?

Pixie, yeah, about the cats...

RSG, and you taught your kids a valuable lesson about what happens when you drink too much vodka. I hope you sent it off with Grey Goose at least.

JDR, you have no idea. She gets it from her mother.

Tysguy, no, if I were you I'd think I'd let her pull the butter trick. Could have some side benefits.

7:34 AM  
Blogger tysgirl said...

Limpy: you wouldn't happen to know why butter is on my grocery list 6 times, would you?

8:05 AM  
Blogger SignGurl said...

Wait until one of your daughter's friends decides to feed the fish the entire container of food at once. Fish are gluttons and they explode when ingesting too much food. That's a good lesson.

8:30 AM  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

'not the fish' - that guy will someday be a politician.
And why didn't you bury it in the back yard? You can expect all kinds of stuff now to end up down there.

9:05 AM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Tysgirl, I know nothing. (The check better be in the mail TY)

Signgurl, we actually keep the fish food out of the reach of little hands for just that reason.

Joe, the ground is frozen. Otherwise Zack would have been out there with a dog, two cats and a crab. And a hooker or two, but that's off the record.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Scott and Lynne said...

Ah, we too had many beloved fishies die and go off to 'toilet bowl heaven' when my daughter was young.

Get a dog or a cat from your local Humane Society...they are much more resilient than very small pets.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Party Girl said...

Ah, see, that's real love right there between the brother and sister. Why? Cause my brother would have looked right at me and said, "the fish."

10:27 AM  
Blogger Jay said...

Poor little fish.

I think most kids are satisfied with just the aquarium. Why bring innocent lives into the equation? Just tell your kids the fish are sleeping, or in the castle, or they have special invisibility powers.

12:16 PM  
Blogger puerileuwaite said...

Name the next fish "Zed", so you can lighten his inevitable death scene with a "Zed's dead, babe", and introduce your daughter to Pulp Fiction lingo at the same time.

1:30 PM  
Blogger SoozieQ said...

I think I'm going to defer to you when I have issues with what to tell my Niece when these types of things arise. Since she's not my kid, why the hell not, right? ;-)

3:26 PM  
Blogger shellibells said...

LOL. no, don't eat fish for dinner, good idea.

Funny, my Kdawg got a fish tank 2 weeks ago, only 5 gallon. We filled it got some pretty pink stones and turned the filter/heater on for a few days. Today we went and got 3 fish. One was the tiniest little thing you'd ever see. Tiny, Stripez and I forgot the glow in the dark eyes name...well...
Tiny was getting sucked up against the filter and then when we unattached him he swam upside-down for about 15 minutes. Since I knew what was coming I simply said, 'we should send her to fishy heaven now before we have to wake up and see her like a floating board. So she took the fish to the bathroom, I walked to the kitchen to wash my hands and she yelled, MOOOOOM, say bye to Tiiinyyyy! so i yelled BYE TINY, and with that, there was a flush.

One down, two to go. I am not sure they will make it thru the week, but given they do? got any good ideas for pretty fish that don't grow TOO big?? ours are kinda boring and we're down to two here?

8:20 PM  
Blogger Lady K said...

Losing a pet is such a trauma. When I started losing all my fish it was ALL I could do to flush them. NOT a good idea with dogs or parakeets, though.

LMAO at your son at dinner. That was sweet of him.

8:42 PM  
Blogger limpy99 said...

Scott & Lynne, our dog came from the local animal shelter. So did one of our former cats. We're big on the adoption thing. Well, I am. I think my wife tolerates the dogs because I'm so damn cute.

PG, I was actually hugely surprised that he didn't do that. That would have been his standard M.O.

Jay, too late to try that with the aquarium, but my daughter's totally getting an invisible pony for her next birthday!

Pug, you're so off the potential internet babysitters list.

Soozieq, that might be the worst idea you've ever had. But, sure, I'll explain any facts of life to your niece that you'd like. (Wonders what kind of tattoo would best fit a toddler)

Shelli, we have one very small fish that seems to do alright. The other fish are Tetras. They seem fine, right up until they croak. I checked it out after Zack went to his eternal reward, and they apparently have a life expectancy of nine months. Our tank is 10 gallons, and there's plenty of room for four.

Lady K, I can't say I get all that upset with the fish. They're not exactly personality plus. And they can be replaced for about $3.49.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Dead fish are traumatic. So are dead plants. For some reason, a dead steak doesn't bother me.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Alkelda the Gleeful said...

By the way, I was being totally glib back there. As soon as I said, "Dead steak," I remembered the time my father took me to the slaughterhouse. I saw one of our cows right after she was killed. Yes, I ate her as hamburgers afterward. Still... wah!

10:38 PM  
Blogger Lil Bit said...

Aww, po' Zack. =(

An aquarium is a MUST for kids.
Why do I say that? - cuz I had one. Still do. LOL

11:56 AM  
Blogger Groovy Lady said...

Keep an eye on the temp! We boiled about 20 fish not long ago and had to have a mass burial.

I was worried what that many burials at sea would have do to our sea.. so we ended up burying them all together in our backyard. They have a really nice Tupperware coffin.

They'll probably stay fresh for years.

10:11 PM  

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