Once upon a time, a very dear friend of ours secretly offered his Beta fish to our children. The children accepted his offer and the next day he left the pet fish on our door step, rang the bell, and ran away.
Our friend then sent a text message explaining why there was a beautiful blue Beta fish (safely contained in a vase full of water) outside our front door. The children happily welcomed their new pet into our home, gave him a name, and forgot to feed him for the next three years. Luckily for the fish, I bought fish food, and my husband and I took turns remembering to feed him. He was a good fish. He lived a long and happy life.
Fast forward a handful of years, and add another child to our collection. The topic of ‘pet animals’ is once more placed on the table by the children. Remembering our lovely (and incredibly low maintenance!) old fish – we troop to the pet store and acquire a new beautiful blue Beta fish.
Because Oldest has a Guinea Pig and The Boy did not take care of his pet mouse, New Fish belongs to Little One. New Fish is named Rainbow and loved beyond measure til the color fades from his/her tail and he/she lies motionless on the bottom of the tank. Little One is SO sad and Mum (that would be me) is such a sucker for those big brown puppy dog eyes, a replacement fish is purchased and installed and adored.
Replacement Fish (an almost identical blue Beta) is named Cinderella (or Rainbow depending on which name is remembered.) Cinderella/Rainbow is not as hardy as original Rainbow and swims off to a watery grave sooner than expected. Mum is firm this time, no more fish!
Fast forward one more year. Oldest requests A Fish of Her Very Own, for Christmas. A beautiful blue Beta fish please, pretty please! Mum says no, I don’t think so (but plots to acquire New Fish in secret and pull off a fabulous Xmas morning surprise!)
Christmas Eve, Mum gets poor little light deprived New Fish out of hiding and sets up fancy pants new fish bowl in the master bathroom – a place safe from the prying eyes of children. The family enjoy a lovely Christmas Eve, with dinner and kid movies and games and excited anticipation.
Little One, off playing for a moment, pops back to the kitchen to announce that “Cinderella is NOT dead after all” – family exchanges looks of confusion. Mum asks for an explanation. Little One explains, her old fish did not die, her old fish has been living in the master bathroom this whole time!