Friday, November 20, 2009

Sparkly, Shiny, and Swimmy

I'm still not sure exactly what it was that created Savannah's sudden obsession with having a pet fish, but it's been all she talks about for the past week or so. Then on Wednesday at school she was talking about it to her substitute teacher and telling her all about how much she wants to get a pet goldfish one day. That wonderful teacher said to her, 'Well why don't you just go get one? They're only about a dollar!' Savannah came home from school SO excited (and imagine how thrilled I was at her teacher's response). Savannah asked if it was true that they were so cheap and I reluctantly admitted it was true. I was quick to jump in, though, with the fact that we'd have to buy a fish bowl and food and other things that would make it more expensive. She asked if she could use our spider cage from her old pet "Spidey" (a wolf spider she found outside one day who lived to be over a year old after the guy at PetSmart told me it probably wouldn't last more than 2 or 3 months). I didn't know anything about goldfish our how much space they needed to I said I thought it would be fine to keep them in there, but we'd still have to buy food. That still only added up to about $4, according to my estimations, for 2 goldfish and some food. I was a little desperate scrambling for more reasons why we shouldn't get fish so I sat her down and tried to rattle off a long list of duties that would go along with having a fish.
1-You'll have to feed them everyday. "No problem!" she quickly blurted out. (Of course, I know it's true that feeding the fish is probably any kid's favorite part about having them)
2-Since they eat, that means they poop so you'll have to clean out the water at least once a week. At first she was a little grossed out as she started thinking about that and asked hesitantly, 'you mean I have to touch their poop?' But after I said yes and gave her a look like the decision has been made and we won't get the fish, she found courage from somewhere and bravely replied, "Okay, I can do that!"
3-I thought and thought to come up with a 3rd thing. I was hoping to come up with a big long list! But after a few minutes the only thing I could think of for the 3rd and last item on the list was to love them and talk to them and sing to them and give them kisses (on the outside of the cage) so they'd know they were loved. And of course that is what Savannah most wanted to do with her fish. She already loved them before she even knew she was getting any!

Trying to make my list and explain the financial burden of goldfish made it painfully obvious to me that there was really no reason why I shouldn't just go buy her a few. I told her she'd still have to do something to earn the $4 it would take to buy them, so I had her help me sort through and hang up every piece of clothing in our house. That was a big job because it included the much dreaded seasonal switch where you put away all the old summer clothes, pull out all the winter clothes from big tupperware bins, and hang them all up or put them away where they go. I'd been procrastinating doing it for a while so I was glad she gave me the motivation to finally get it done. So, once it was done we all packed into the car and headed out to buy her 3 little goldfish ($.28 each), some fish food, and a net (to scoop them out when they died, which I figured wouldn't take too long to happen). It came to $4.03, and she was so excited to be able to pay for it all by herself. I admit it was really fun at the store watching all of the kids so excited as we ran to the fish tanks and they started pointing to the fish they wanted. They were skipping all the way to the checkstand and it was really cute.

Here's a picture of the girls when we got home from the store.

Well, now that it's Friday and we've already had the fish for 36 hours, I regret to inform you that Swimmy and Sparkly passed away during the night and the littlest one, Shiny, is sick. I feel like a goldfish murderer! If you notice in the top picture, Savannah had just fed her fish and there's SO much fish food in the water! I knew it was too much, but wasn't really sure how big of a deal it was. The next morning Swimmy and Sparkly were laying at the bottom of their cage on their sides. Apparently fish will eat themselves to death. I've also learned that goldfish are very dirty and when you're using a small bowl, the ammonia from their own wastes will turn the water deadly in a day or two! We changed the water yesterday morning and planned on doing it daily, but this morning when we woke up the water is so cloudy and gross looking! I'm assuming it's from the two dying, which must have caused the otherwise healthy one to get sick, too. The water looked totally fine last night. We have Shiny in clean water now, but it doesn't look good for her. Savannah woke me up crying this morning but I tried to comfort her by telling her her pets were in heaven now in the most beautiful goldfish pond ever and they're with their mommy and daddy and they're so happy. I think we're done getting goldfish until we can get a much bigger fish tank. I would've filled up our little swimming pool and moved them there if it wasn't so cold outside. Maybe next summer we'll get more when we can do that. It's been quite an eventful and dramatic few days around here! Poor little goldfish...


Emily said...

Your kids are so cute! You wouldn't think that 28 cent goldfish would be so much work, huh? :) I still remember when I was a kid and my brother & we had goldfish named Luke & Princess Lea (yep, right around the time when StarWars was awesome). I was super bummed when they died and we had to flush them.

Happy-Hardings said...

I'm so glad I found your blog. Your kids are adorable. Like you.