For Chloe's first birthday, I bought her 3 small 10 cent fish. I think they died before we even reached home.
I refused to be defeated and bought her one more expensive fantail goldfish. His name was Fish. He was orange and white, and Chloe loved him. She loved him so much that at 18 months, she figured out how to scale the front of her dresser and get on top of her changing table so that she could reach the fishtank. One day I found her up there, something clenched tightly in her little hand. It looked like a hairbow sticking out of her fingers, so I didn't worry about it until I noticed the water everywhere, and the piles of gravel, and finally, the empty fishtank. How she caught that sucker I'll never know, and how he survived the ordeal virtually unscathed is nothing short of a miracle. Sure, he always swam upside down after that, but he moved with us from our apartment to our first home and swam cheerily inverted until one day when he choked on a large bite of food. I think. Chloe's not talking.
A few months after Fish passed, Chloe won a little fish at a party by throwing a ping pong ball in his bowl. His tiny, little bowl. Nemo lived in that bowl for several months, in increasingly cloudy water, until I realized he actually was going to stay with us. I went out, bought a new, bigger aquarium and a couple buddies for him, and now we had Nemo, the feeder fish, Tinkerbell, the calico fantail, and Gill, the Black Moor.
Addie and Chloe took turns doing this to the tank.
That's about half a can of flake fish food in there. And yes, the fish are actually in there, too, somewhere. You can see Nemo at the top. He's looking pretty bloated.
That batch of fish stayed with us for a couple years. Gill gradually changed color from black to gold, and grew to dwarf the other two fish. When they died several months ago, I'm pretty sure he had something to do with it. But he's not talking.
So now, giant, orange Gill has the tank all to himself. Until Maggie decides he needs extra care. Whereas the other girls were content to just encourage the other fish into obesity, Maggie has concern for his entire well being. For instance, the other day he must have looked like he had a cold because I found half a box of tissues floating in the top of the tank.
Another day, he looked bored and illiterate, so she provided entertainment.
Not only did she give him a book to read, but she drew pictures on the outside of the tank.
Maggie also likes Gill to feel a part of our holiday celebrations. A few weeks ago I discovered several small plastic carrots, collected from other Easter decorations, resting on the the bottom of the tank. I decided to leave them there. I figured they wouldn't dissolve, and Gill's big enough that if he decided to eat one, I think he really could get it down.
Most recently, one day I decided to break out of my usual morning lethargy and do a little gross housekeeping, namely cleaning out the shower drain. I removed several large, cheesy looking hairballs from its depths, then went to check on the kids in the kitchen. As I walked past Gill's home, I did a double take. I saw something resting on the bottom of his tank that I could have sworn I had just placed in the garbage can in my bathroom. I looked closer and realized that Maggie had now decided to share her favorite breakfast cereal with Gill.
Am I wrong in thinking that looks like something that would generally be found in a drain? I think not. This particular mess turned into several days of cleaning because even after I had removed all the shredded wheat and cleaned the entire tank, the water kept clouding up. I choose to think that it was leftover from the initial cereal hairball, and not because Maggie was pouring her milk in the tank. But I could be wrong.
(In case you don't know, you can now buy Chocolate Frosted Mini Wheats. They are delightful. And my kids love them. They (and the fish) eat more of them than I do. Plus, nutritionally, they are healthier than a bowl of Raisin Nut Bran (I did a comparison for Bracken's sake when he started complaining about how good our kids have it). But seriously, healthier chocolate cereal that actually tastes like chocolate. Have you tried the Special K Chocolately Delight? It tastes like death.)