On Oct. 19 my oldest daughter turned 5 years old. The big 5. We decided to redo her bedroom in Hello Kitty, get her a few toys she's been wanting and get her a pet of her own. We looked at everything from lizards, to frogs, to kittens, but we finally decided on a couple fish.
We ran out and bought a tank, set it up, conditioned the water and away we went. We dropped her off at pre-school and I dashed to Plainfield to put up the newest additions to our family. The people at the pet store told us if the water was conditioned properly, we shouldn't have any problems. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, on Wednesday I came home from work and watched a little TV. Before jumping in bed I decided to go check on 'Goldie' and 'Finding Nemo'. It turns out the transition didn't agree with 'Nemo' and our fish tank was down a man. I found the little dude floating, so I netted him out and hoped that my daughter wouldn't notice.
Luckily for me, the way the tank is set up, it gives a gnarly reflection and if you look at it from her angle, one fish looks like two. Seemed like my problem was solved until I could get a new one. However, the person at the pet store suggested we condition the water some more, even though it tested fine, and not purchase a new fish for 7-10 days. Good enough -- as long as the reflection game continued to work.
Now I have a bigger problem. I came home to find 'Goldie' do a little bobbing, and not in the Muhammad Ali sense. So now, I'm down two fish and now have to explain to my kid what happened. I know eventually she's going to learn about the realities of life, but I'd like to shield her from that for a while longer.
Coming up with plans while on the road to volleyball, I came up with a few:
1. Leave 'Goldie' in there for a few more days and tell her he's just really sleepy and that's why he's cruising around on his back.
2. Purchase 25 more fish and hope that if I lose one at the rate of one every two to three days, we can hold out until she loses interest.
3. Claim aliens abducted them.
4. Cut out characters from 'Finding Nemo' and let them float until they dissolve.
5. Break the tank and claim her mother did it
6. Accuse our dog of being a super evil genius dog and she opened the lid and ate the fish
7. Play 'Nemo' and convince her they left the tank and became part of the movie and might not come back for a week or two
8. Whip up some fish sticks and when she asks what we're eating, run to her bedroom exclaiming "OH NO!!"
9. Cloud up the water so we can't see anything to buy us some time.
10. Break down and tell her what happened.
While No. 9 and 5 are my favorites, I'll probably break down and go with No. 10. That way when my obvious lack of fish rearing skills offs our next two additions, it isn't such a shock to the system.