This morning shortly after sitting down for breakfast, D went to feed our Betta fish, Fishy Red, only to find that the fish was gone. Apparently he had leaped out of the bowl (again) and was lying seemingly lifeless on the back door kitchen rug. Immediately D scooped him up with a napkin so the kids wouldn't have to see a dead fish lying there but as he went to pick up Fishy Red, it suddenly became apparent that he was still alive! D then tossed him back into the water and Fishy Red began swimming around as if nothing at all had happened.
Unfortunately, that didn't last. After D's mom came to pick up the kids for vacation bible school this afternoon, I started to notice that Fishy Red was in the bowl hanging vertically with his lips right up on the top of the water, as if he was struggling for oxygen. He was like that for a good hour or two before he moved toward the bottom of the bowl and had his head semi-buried in the gravel and rocks at the bottom. D and I began discussing that we didn't think he was going to make it and how we'd have to run out and get another fish before the kids came home so they wouldn't think anything had happened to their Fishy Red. About another hour passed by and I noticed that he'd stopped breathing. His little gills were no longer pulsating and he lay there at the bottom of the bowl, lifeless. I was heartbroken.
I immediately told D we needed to go to the pet store to get another fish and a more appropriate tank before the kids came home and noticed. D flushed Fishy Red down the toilet and we headed out for Petsmart. It was then that we realized that we'd most certainly have to tell the kids what happened to their fish because there wasn't a single fish in the store that even remotely looked like Fishy Red. After looking at all the different Bettas, I finally settled on one and D picked out a cool tank that goes great with the kitchen counter we keep the fish on and we headed home.
The kids came home at about 9:30 tonight and we told them about what had happened. N took it quite well, but was mostly just interested in why fish don't live forever. Both he and W were fascinated by the new counter top tank, complete with cover (no more leaping fish!) and a cool light switch that can be toggled off and on. We told N he could decide on a name for the new fish and he thought about it for a while before exclaiming, "how about Clementine?" It was perfect. W's reaction to the new fish was "fishy....kyoot!"
I talked at length with N about how even though we'll never be able to replace Fishy Red, we will love and care for this new fish, Clementine, and will always remember Fishy Red and the special fish he was to our family. The kids, especially N, had just gotten to a point where they'd come down almost everyday and check on Fishy Red and say hi to him, so I especially want them to embrace this new fish and bond with her too. When N asked me why we couldn't simply buy another fish that looked exactly like Fishy Red, I used that as an opportunity to point out that it was impossible to do since God makes each and every creature unique and special. N said he was sad that his fish had to die and it broke my heart to hear him say that because I know death is such hard concept for a kid that age to wrap their brain around.
Hopefully tomorrow will bring new smiles though, as they see Clementine swimming about in her new surroundings. Jeez, this parenting gig is truly tough!
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.