Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fishy fishy

At the fair this weekend, Matt spotted a carnival game where one could win a goldfish.  Players paid $3 for a chance to toss a ping pong ball into one of about fifty tiny fish bowls.

Matt looked longingly at the lucky kids holding goldfish in clear plastic bags.  I looked with dismay at the tiny opening to each of the target bowls.

"Do you really want a goldfish?" I asked.  He nodded, eyes never leaving the display of prizes.

We've both been wanting a pet.  Last month, I looked into rescuing a cat.  When I consulted the management of our apartment building, I learned it would cost $400 up front and an additional $35/month.  The cat idea was abandoned.

But a goldfish, while not as interactive, could be a compromise for the time being.

"Okay, let's go get some fish."  I took both boys by the hand and headed for the car.

We went to PetSmart and found a fish bowl for $8.99 and a bag of rocks for $1.25. 

The boys spent a long time scrutinizing the fish in a whole wall of tanks.  Matt chose a little orange goldfish and named him Spike.  Gabe chose a silvery fish and called him Oscar.  Both fish together cost twenty-six cents.

Both boys were anxious to settle our newest family members into their new home.

I congratulated myself on a job well done.

Until Tuesday morning when I found Oscar floating at the top of the bowl. 

I took care of his poor little body, my mind racing.  The boys were with their Dad and step-mom, so I had some time.  Should I use the death of the goldfish as a teachable moment?

I thought of their happy little faces when we carefully set up the bowl.

Hell, no.

I purchased Oscar II that night and prayed fervently that Gabe - the most observant child ever - wouldn't notice the difference.

Wednesday night, the boys came home and ran straight to the fish bowl.

"Wow! Oscar is whiter!" Gabe said. I held my breath until they both ran off to play with their toys.

I'm crossing my fingers that from now on things in the fish bowl go swimmingly.

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