A couple of nights ago, Sophia(11) ran downstairs from her room to declare that Haley(3) had been in her room while she was at school and had spread fish food all over the place. She said I had to come and see the mess “RIGHT NOW!”. I told her to, “find the To Do list in my purse, rate this problem as 7 out of 10 of importance and I will get to it”. I went on to say, “I am making dinner, grading your homework, and I need to go to the bathroom, but I’m holding it”.
“I knew things had been too quiet for too long earlier today”, I said to myself.
Well, Rick(my hubby) got to her aid before me and helped transfer Little Lou to a holding tank until we could clean out his little home. You see, Little Lou was not just an ordinary fish in many ways. He and two others, were a reward to Sophia at the end of the summer for completing her dreaded Summer Bridge material that I make them work on whether they like it or not!
Harrison(6) also chose a fish. One of those weird goldfish that have the jelly like bubbles on the top of their head. We drove home with me listening to their hopes and dreams for their new pets; with Sophia including how she knew that her’s were going to the be the best of friends. We walked in the door and Rick said all excited like , “Hey, I guess we’re killing fish again?”!
We set up their aquariums and discussed pet responsibility like any good parent does. Harrison’s poor fish was down for the count after just a couple of days. His interpretation of a pinch of fish food varied slightly from the pet store lady’s I think. Instead of a dusting of a few flakes, he provided more of a scooping type pinch that he felt his fish enjoyed.
I tucked Sophia into bed that first night, watching her peacefully enjoy her aquarium like a night-light on her bedside table. It really was quite beautiful, with hot pink and purple gravels and plants for the fish to swim around in. The next morning however, we found out that she experienced more of a Hunger Games type scenario. She described how Little Lou took all the food and kept attacking his 2 aquarium mates. This went on for a couple of nights until Little Lou was the victorious tribute.
After this, we all had some attachment issues with Little Lou for a while but then we grew to enjoy his presence and the fighter and survivor in him. It served him well. His tank conditions were quite treacherous by the time of his passing. We usually take respite between our fish killing but we have been unable to convince our pre-pubescent, dramatic, daughter that Haley did not kill her fish in cold blood and his one gluttonous meal was more of “the straw that broke the camel’s back” type scenario vs. a direct cause and effect outcome considering her aquarium maintenance. She also wasn’t satisfied with the explanation that Haley was simply trying to help her out by relieving her of her fish feeding task for at least the next year and she deserved the far lesser conviction of “unintentional fish slaughter”. In addition, Rick was unaware that the aquarium heater, that they had also transferred with Little Lou in to my wide mouth flower vase, was appropriate for a 2-5 gallon tank and they were just a WEEEEE bit short on water volume. There was no autopsy but I feel the final cause of death was multi-factorial and we found him the next morning.
Haley told Sophia that she was really sorry that she ” died her Yiddle You”. Against our better judgement, the aquarium is ready for our next victim… I mean furless friend. Fingers crossed I thoroughly rinsed the Dawn dish detergent from those pretty little gravels. I will never again put flowers in that vase without remembering Little Lou’s final Green Mile. R.I.P. Little Lou