I'm having a busy week for some odd reason :), highlights of today including a very dramatic fish story.
I went to pick up my six year old from a birthday party last night; I wandered into the backyard, which was lit by tall mini-torches in the late afternoon sun and decorated with the sounds of little girls. There was a large blue plastic pool painted with bright tropical fish, and, to my surprise, it was full of tiny goldfish. My six year old stood ankle deep in the water looking for just the right fish to take home. My friend handed me ~surprise~ a clear plastic bag filtered by the sun...inside was a little fish that peered at me through the bag with small black eyes and a silvery gulping mouth.
When we got home, everyone crowded around to peer into our makeshift fish bowl (I caught one child trying to put her fish in a cornflake bowl and another who grabbed a dark green cider bottle from his bottle collection before we pulled out a flower vase). Everyone was eager to feed the fish all sorts of goodies before we could go buy some fish food. Someone even placed her special "shells" from this day in the tank for the fish to look at.
At one point, I found a little brown nugget floating on top of our "fish bowl" that looked suspiciously like a piece of animal poop. When I quizzed my cute little six, she said "I just found it where we found the rocks! It's not poop, I promise!" It was, incidentally, a piece of deer feces that she didn't know the identity of and that she had collected and saved with her rocks on the aforementioned day several weeks ago, unbeknownst to me.
This morning, she was up bright and early to feed her fish large chunks of soon-to-be soggy bread and her fish were soon-to-be-dead. Poor little thing cried and cried. She sat in her bright blue polka dot dress and sang to the one remaining fish (we started with four) a sweet little song while making fish movements with her two hands pressed together. Later we had a little fish burial in the gravelly dirt of the backyard. Sang an irreverent version of a child's song (I Am a Fishy of God-- luckily I'm not struck down yet) and said a little prayer, since we had exactly three minutes to have our little funeral and get my older daughter somewhere.
Later in the day, we traipsed to the pet store with uncombed hair and purchased a little round bowl, some food, and some new friends for our lone fish. There are now chairs pulled up in our kitchen around the island where peering, delighted eyes watch little fish glub-glubbing in a clear bowl. There have been some happy sighs, some "It's been so long since I've had a pet," and even one "where are we going to keep the fish bowl?" A boy, last to bed, longingly looking at flitting fish, a little girl, first to rise, sitting on the counter, gazing with wide green eyes at them. Hmmmm.... who knew in 24 hours and we'd gain four surprise pets, lose three, gain two more. A good lesson in math and pets we never knew we wanted.
Funny video of my six year old singing to her fish here.