A fish story: the one that didn't get away.

Two of my friends got Owen an aquarium for his birthday. We have been out of town for most of the month......so my friend Wendy just brought the fish over yesterday. O was enraptured with his new pets and sat staring at them and talking to them like he had never seen anything so cool.

Fish are a great little kid pet....and we have a very small aquarium...meaning minimal maintenance. Fish do not need housetraining. They do not get fleas. They don't eat much. They are quiet and easily replaced (and disposed of).

We headed into the living room to chat, mainly becuase I couldn't handle hearing "mommy look at my fish" one more time. We griped and caught up and laughed until we noticed the eerie silence. I was hoping that O was still just enraptured by his fish (but did find it odd that I no longer heard him talking to them). Wendy, the much more pessimistic and experienced mom reminded me that silence means trouble. We go into Owen's room to find the lid off the aquarium. O has both hands in the tank and the net nearby. He proudly grins and explains that he is "catching his fish". I notice a small piece of orange tail stuck to his palm and that same fish gulping near the surface. The brown fish is hovering under the filter trying to disappear. We mop up the mess, explain to O that these fish stay in the aquarium and he can only look at them ( his excitement for them diminishes slightly) and I wonder if the orange one is going to make it. We might be flushing fishies and making swap outs sooner than I anticipated.

O rushes to show daddy his new pets as soon as he walks in the door and to everyone's surprise the orange fish is still swimming ( although a little bit crooked). O is still enamored and seems to understand that he can't catch them..........but I did catch him trying to pull the aquarium off the side table he set them on. He explained the obvious that he was just trying to take them to bed. ( mental note....move fish up higher).

I was hoping the bubbling noise and light would help O fall and stay asleep. But no such luck. O screams at the top of his lungs at 2 am and weasles his way into bed between me and Shaun ( as he does at least every other night). But the first thing out of his mouth ( yes even before "can I have a poptart please" or "watch cartoons") is " I want to see my fish". He slips down the side of his bed and runs into his room. Then I hear, "Where orange fish go?" repeatedly ( he is very creative with the names I tell you......I named the orange one Rhonda ( she is a redhead) and the brown one Wendy ( a brunnette) after the benefactors). I send Shaun in to fish out the dead fish that I imagine floating at the top of his aquarium thinking of what other things I need to pick up ( besides a red-headed fish) while I am at Wal-Mart. Shaun reenters and explains that there is no orange fish. Not floating on the top. Not hiding in the cheap plastic plants. Not swimming around happily. I giggle at myself as I picture making lost fishie fliers and posting them on telephone poles in our neighborhood. I figure I am just tired and that it will reappear later.

We run our errands, go eat lunch, go to a friend's house to play and come home several hours later hoping ( at least I am hoping for a nap). O checks on his fish ( the remaining brunette) and I scan the water, surface, plants, and even behind the filter for Rhonda. No Rhonda, but I do notice a funny odor in the room.

Something tells me O caught his fish after all.