When you start staging your real life so you have something to blog about.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I crossed that line today.
I really, really wanted to have a fish funeral. But only so I could blog about it.
You see, about a week ago, I was putting Kate to bed when I noticed that Swimmy, her fish, was laying sideways on the bottom of the bowl. I came out and told Andy that Swimmy had met his untimely demise. Thinking we would break it to Kate gently and then have a Cosby-esque fish funeral, I went back to her room to finish the
insufferable Berenstain Bears book we had started and waited for Andy to come in. Except when he did come in, he tried not to interrupt us and instead swiftly whisked away the fish bowl.
He was going to flush her fish without even telling her. And without a proper fish funeral!
Before we got to the
long and painful moral of the story, Andy was back. And so was Swimmy, in sparkling clean water.
“What just happened?” I asked him when I left Kate’s room.
“He wasn’t dead,” he said. “I went to flush him and he started moving so I couldn’t do it.”
Swimmy apparently had incredible will to live.
Until about three days ago, when he really died. For real. But to make sure he was good and dead, Andy and I left him in the bowl until tonight. (Ok so really we just didn’t get around to doing anything with the dearly departed until I became concerned that our house was going to start to smell.)
Once again, I started planning the fish funeral in my head. I was imagining what Andy would say, what cute and touching things Kate would say, and if it would be an over-the-top breach of her privacy if I surreptitiously hung my Flip camcorder from the bathroom mirror so I could capture it all on video.
And blog it. It was all about the blog.
So as bedtime neared tonight, I told Andy I thought it was time to break the news to Kate.
“We can have a fish funeral!” I said with a little too much excitement.
“Well, we could, but I flushed him earlier while you guys were at Target,” Andy replied.
During my stunned silence, he explained to me that he figured it would be easier for Kate if he just took care of it.
Surely, surely, there are a million and a half child development articles about using such opportunities to introduce the idea of death and dying to kids, but I haven’t googled it. Unfortunately for Kate, her learning experiences went right down the drain. Literally.
And, dammit, I wanted to blog about a fish funeral!
So despite the fact that the physical evidence was gone, I still thought we should clue Kate in before she noticed the empty fish bowl in her room, so Andy called her out to the living room and gently explained to her that Swimmy had gone to the Big Bowl in the Sky.
“I don’t care,” she said.
Not exactly the response either of us had anticipated.
“Well, next time we’re over by the mall maybe we could stop at the pet store and get you another fish,” Andy told her. Because, you know, she was obviously so attached to this one.
“I want a different pet,” she said.
“You could get a different color fish,” Andy offered, hopefully.
“No, I want a different kind of pet,” she said patiently. “Maybe I could get a hamster.”
Andy looked over at me and fortunately for everyone involved he correctly interpreted my “if you consent to that idea I will flush you down the toilet” look and said something about waiting until Sammy was older before we get any more pets. And then I put a stop to the whole conversation by offering to read her a
blasted Berenstain Bears book.
Later, as I thought about the missed opportunity of a fish funeral, I began to wonder if the fact that I was staging my life for the sake of a good blog post was a problem.
But I googled it, and it’s not.
Here’s the gold standard in fish funerals. Apparently the emotional bonds between children and their fish haven’t changed in the past 25 years.