The other day while doing our weekly shopping at Wal-Mart, Bill made us all stop by the pet department and stand there staring at the fish tanks trying to decide if Logan was old enough for a fish. He's been thinking about this for weeks and every week we go shopping, we make the pit stop to the pet department and contemplate fish responsibilities (and I remind him that he will be the one cleaning the tank). He finally came to the conclusion that a fish would be a good purchase.
Logan picked out his fish, the biggest gold fish in the tank. He promptly named it "Fishy". We bought a classic round fish bowl that included a starter kit with gravel, a pathetic, odd-looking plant and fish food. We were set. When we got home, Bill had "The Fish Talk" with Logan, explaining the rules like not taking the fish out of the tank and don't put anything into the tank. Mainly, just be happy with only looking at your fish and don't expect to torture it like you do the other pets.
Somehow, we expected him to listen. Does he ever listen to anything else we say? No. But we were delusional enough to think it would happen now. Maybe it was the fluorescent lights they use in Wal-Mart that drained us of all rational thought. You think that's a conspiracy theory? Take a look at who is shopping at Wal-Mart. Case closed.
For the entire day he had his fish, I lost count with how many times I told Logan to get whatever he had in his hand out of the tank (tubes of lotion, dinosaurs, books, etc). I threatened to take his fish away. I even caught him hovering over the bowl as if he were going to spit in the tank. He was immediately banished from his room and the baby gate went up. For Fishy's safety.
Last night Bill came home from work and began the bath routine with Logan while I got Carter fed and ready for bed. I had just planted my butt on the couch with the laptop to mindlessly surf facebook when Bill came downstairs. "Did you know Fishy is dead?", he asked. I was not terribly surprised. The poor fish only lasted a couple of days, if even that. "What should we do?", Bill asked me. "Well, we need to tell him the truth", I insisted.
Bill continued to get Logan tucked in all the while Logan talking about how his fish was sleeping. I cringed. I've never wanted to lie to my kids about life lessons and now we were about to explain death. I wondered if he would even grasp the concept considering we're not religious. It's not like we could tell him that Fishy went to heaven to be with God and Jesus. Ugh. How were were going to do this on a 3 year old level.
Bill came back downstairs after Logan was asleep. "I'm going to get another fish. He's not going to understand death right now". Not wanting to debate it since we had clearly done enough of that this week, I just shrugged my shoulders. "Sure".
And that is how Fishy #2 came to be. We'll see how long this one lasts.
Edited to add:
Fishy #2 is dead 3 hours after publishing this post. Logan went down for a nap and the fish was alive when he went down. No more than 15 minutes after that, the fish was dead, or really, sort of dead. Pretty close. He was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. He didn't even make it 24 hours. We are now going to talk about death and the big pond in the sky. Or something like that. Needless to say, there will not be a Fishy #3.