On Tuesday night, Elliott went to a birthday party. It was a swimming/beach themed party and he wore his swim suit. He came home two hours later bouncing through the roof, mostly because of his party favor.
A little teeny tiny goldfish. I was not thrilled, to say the least. In my mind, this was in no way a "favor", and the anti-animal mother that I am, immediately started telling my kid that the fish was going to die. I mean, come on. It probably wasn't going to make it through the night, we had no fish bowl or fish food, and regardless of it's little will to live, there wasn't much hope.
A few minutes after I posted a picture of the fish on instagram, the mother of another party goer offered to bring over some fish food and I accepted. We put the little guy in a very big vase, fed him and went to bed.
Wednesday morning, he was still swimming.
Thursday morning, he was still swimming.
Thursday night, late, after the kids had gone to bed I was up working on a project for my mom. It seriously felt like the fish was staring at me, or at best, willing me to look at it so I stopped the project and turned from the kitchen table to watch it swim in it's home on the island. It's swimming pattern was strange. It looked frantic. It would struggle to swim to the bottom of the bowl and then float up a little...and then desperately try to get to the bottom again.
I texted Ross who was upstairs: "I think the fish is dying!"
He came down and we started talking, me keeping an eye on the bowl the whole time.
As we were talking about my project, I saw the fish stop struggling to stay at the bottom of the bowl and float towards the top. I interrupted Ross and said, "look! It's dead!". He said, that maybe it was resting and we should give it a minute. I told him no, that it was dead. What is it about fish? They are creepy to begin with but as soon as they die, and their little fishy souls leave their bodies, their eyes are super creepy.
Anyway, upon my fervent insisting, Ross agreed that yes, the fish was dead but asked if he could finish his milkshake before flushing it down the toilet. I obliged. That seemed like a fair request.
The next day, yesterday, we got up and were busily getting ready to take Wyatt to school. Elliott stayed home. When I got into the house, put Quinn and my bag down, Elliott said to me, "Mom, where did you move my fish?" I told him that his fish died, and that dad flushed it down the toilet. We talked briefly about why little goldfish don't live very long.
I thought he might cry. He's a sensitive little guy sometimes. But, he walked away from me, and went upstairs. He came down with a couple sheets of white paper, got out his crayons, and drew and cut out two beautiful fish that we taped to sticks and used as puppets for the rest of the day. I suppose it was an homage to our little fish friend.