Friday, September 30, 2011

My Daughter, Darla the Fish Killer


I have a terrible confession to make.  My daughter is like Darla, from Finding Nemo.  Although, we at least realized it early on, so we don't allow the killing to go on.  But yes, Elizabeth has sadly, killed a fishy friend.  She loves fish very much, but we learned the hard way that giving a fish to a six year old for Christmas is a bad idea.

Christmas 2008, Elizabeth had turned six in August and Beka was 20 months old.  Elizabeth had been asking for a fish for quite a while.  Chris and I had not said yes, because we didn't think she was mature enough, but she really, really, really wanted a fish and as Elizabeth would say, "I used my cuteness on you."
Finally, after a lot of talking about what to do, we decided to get her a fish - but a fish that wasn't fragile, which meant a guppy or a beta fish of some sort.  So we slowly purchased (and hid) the fish tank and accessories, because it was her Christmas present.  We were getting excited, we knew she would love a fish and would be thrilled.

Christmas Eve found me at Petco talking to a salesman and requesting ONE fish, not two fish, I didn't want the little suckers multiplying on us.  We barely knew what to do with one fish, I had books I was reading, but mainly I was clueless.  Finally, he helped me pick out a guppy.  I purchased the fish and headed to the car and as I sat there looking at the fish swimming happily I was suddenly overcome by guilt.  This poor innocent fish, I knew Elizabeth wasn't really ready for a fish, but I also knew she wanted one and sadly, I had visions of her torturing the poor animal to death.  I was a bad, bad person.  I was going to hell for fishicide.  And as I drove home I talked to the fish.
"I'm so sorry, it's nothing personal.  You seem like a nice fish and I sincerely hope we are wrong and she doesn't accidentally kill you."   I called a friend and told her I was a monster and she started laughing as I shared my remorse and guilt and how I could see it now, we'd be the people know to pet stores as fish killers if we purchased another fish and another and another.  What were we thinking?  This was a bad idea, no scratch that, it was a terrible idea!!!

I got the fish home, I told Chris the instructions to help the fish make the change for the store tank to our tank.  So what does he do?  He just dumped him into the tank, no slow change.  That poor fish, I was worried about my daughter and should have been more concerned about her father!  AAAAHHHHHH.  . . At this point all I could do was shake my head and wonder, what were we thinking.  He seemed okay - he was swimming.  We set up the tank in Elizabeth's bedroom and turned on the heater to the specified setting given to me and went to bed.

Christmas morning found us waking up to shrieks of delight from Elizabeth.  And she had an excellent Christmas.  That was the year that much to Sarah's displeasure, everyone decided to purchase Elizabeth a Barbie Princess Throne and Princess clothing and shoes - complete with wand and tiara.  Elizabeth was over the moon.  She danced and flitted for us and played happily until about lunch time when she came running down the stairs crying.  Her fishy was dead!!!!!!  The poor guy didn't even make it 24 hours with Elizabeth as his owner.  Sarah came down looking rather disgruntled and explained that she had been stirring the water in the tank . . .with her wand!   In her defense, Elizabeth did have some help killing her fish - Chris did just dump the poor dude into the tank with no regard for slow acclimation.   The poor fish was already in some distress when out of the blue he suddenly finds himself being poked and then swirled into a whirlpool by a long silver wand.  He probably decided it was better to just go towards the light so he could be done.  He knew that staying in our house would mean he'd die sooner rather than later and decided no time like the present.  And we have not purchased a fish since. . . and won't EVER AGAIN!

I wonder if when I get to Heaven if I am going to be judged for being an accomplice to fish killing?   After all, he was only a harmless little guppy, but I knew she wasn't a harmless girl.  At least not when it came to fish.

Elizabeth is much older now, but we still don't have a fish and we won't for a long, long time.  The truth is, Chris and I discovered something.  We are not pet people.  We love animals and think they are great . . . as long as they belong to someone else.  Neither of us have the patience to deal with animals that require maintenance and training, since we have children who require that now.  Someday we might have animals in our home again, but it's doubtful.

I hope you all have a good week.
Love in Christ,
Maureen

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