True Story

Qtilla said in a comment that I could have my boy give an elaborate cemetery for the cat (it has now been a week) so that he could grieve. Which is an awesome idea and something we're going to do this weekend. But it brought me back to the days of yester-year (two years ago) to a story about the Boy's First Fish.

The story really deserved its own post.

Once upon a time, I bought a goldfish for my son. We were living in a teeny little apartment (see: Hell) and a teeny little pet seemed an appropriate addition. It would be good for him, I decided oh-so-wisely, to have a pet to be attached to, to learn about feeding something every day, help me clean the tank, et cetera. A lesson in responsibility, developing attachments to animals, blah-de-blah. A good first step to someday having a dog!

Initially, all went well. He named the fish Number One, fed him every day and 'helped' me clean the tank. Number One was a little quiet, but the boy chattered at him happily and showed all guests his new pet. The first three months were Fish Owning Dream (except that time the boy dumped the entire food jar into the tank, but we solved the problem).

Everything was fine and beautiful bubbles until Number One died.

After about ten minutes of early-morning "Oh SHIT",
I decided that this was just another good life step. My parenting path in life is honesty and no-nonsense. I don't want to tell my kid his goldfish is 'on vacation' if the goldfish hasn't actually gone on a vacation anywhere. Death is a natural part of life and should be confronted on age-appropriate levels. As should all things. So, confrontation time! How to explain death to a three year-old when that death is something personal instead of something abstract happening on a television?

After some phone deliberation with my partner in crime, I break it down to the kiddo and he asks the normal questions and we have a pretty decent conversation about this.
He's broken the news to all our neighbors and aunties that his fish is dead (repeatedly) and we bury Number One. He has me sing Rock A Bye Baby in honor. No bagpipes or Amazing Grace, though.

All is well! He isn't traumatized by the idea of death and I have climbed yet another Parent Hill. Woot! I sneak out later and dig out the buried Number One and flush him, because I had a paranoid flash of a cat digging him out and parading his edible body on our back porch in front of the boy.

Everything is good until my conversation-forgetting husband brings home a Replacement Goldfish. That looks exactly like the old goldfish.

I must note here that we are a Zombie Friendly household, and as such the boy has long since been educated on them. You may sense where this story is heading, and if so, go ahead and start laughing now.

So yes, the next morning, the kiddo wakes up and runs over to the fish bowl so he can update all of us on the status of his dead pet. But wait! Number One is in there, looking healthy and fishy! Amazing!

Before I can explain to him that Dad got him a new fish, he informs me that Number One is a zombie. I attempt to explain that no, Number One is not a zombie when he runs outside, digs into the Gr
aveyard for Fishes and comes up with . . . nothing.

Of course.

By now he is utterly convinced Number One is a zombie and nothing is going to change his mind about it. So I did what any reasonable, Zombie-Loving parent would do.

I went with it.

Zombie Number One lived a nice few months after that, by the way, and kiddo started calling the fishy food 'brains'.

1 comment:

Elwood said...

Zombie Goldfishes (another one of my future band names, btw) and a Rick Roll...awesome.