The Big Fish Bowl in the Sky

I put Leah to bed 30 minutes ago.  We followed the same routine as we do every night:

1) She puts her finger out and I apply "teeth medicine" (Ambesol) for her to apply to her gums.

2) She puts her finger out and I allow her to dip her finger into the "lip gloss" (Vaseline) to which she applies to her lips.

3) She then looks at me and says, "Ooh, my beddy (belly) hurts.  I need some beddy medicine." And then I open the Vicks and let her take a dab to put on her belly. 

Editor's note: I would let her apply the Vicks without the pretend pain, but I love hearing her pretend, night after night, that her belly starts to hurt at the exact moment that we complete the lip gloss routine.  I play into too.  "Oh, your belly hurts?  Well, then we better get some medicine for that!" 

And then while she situates herself amongst her 40 blankets and NumNum (a stuffed Snoopy) I feed Fishy, her blue beta fish that I have hated taken care of since my wonderful sister gave Leah the fish back in June. 

Except tonight, Fishy was not swimming amongst his plastic cave and vegitation. 

Because Fishy is dead.

Just floating there on the top of the bowl, sideways.  I made a face when I noticed and flung my head back a bit, to which Eagle Eyes over there said, "What happened Mom?  What happened?" 

To which I replied, "Oh, Fishy is so hungry tonight!  He surprised me!" 

And, for once in her life she just accepted that and didn't ask to witness the event. 

So, I left dead Fishy in the bowl and continued with the bedtime routine and texted Greg the minute I got out of there that he had a funeral to hold tomorrow morning.

So, what exactly should we tell her?  This isn't our first pet that has died, but this is the first pet that has died in the house.  This will certainly be the first pet that is flushed down the toilet, and, considering that it's very difficult to do anything in this house behind a locked door, she might very well witness the event.  She is older now than she was when we lost Doozer.  She remembers things now.  She talks in full sentences now.  She tells me when I have boogers in my nose and when I dribble food down my shirt.  Things are different now and I'd rather not scar her this early in life.  There will be many times in the future for that.

Should we say that Fishy is in heaven?  That's what we say about Doozer.  Also, about Grandma Pat.  However, I don't think she really knows what heaven means, as a couple of weeks ago she screamed, "Grandma Pat!  Grandma Pat!" as a woman who lives around the block and has the same hair cut as my mother did, drove by.

I was like, "What?!  That's not Grandma Pat!  That's ____________ (I'm protecting the innocent.)!  Grandma Pat?  Wha?  She's in heaven.  Do you remember that?  That means that she's not driving down our street in her Camry.  Really?  Grandma Pat?  I uh, here, have a lollipop."

So, anyway, back to Fishy.  If there is anyone reading who has been in this situation, how do you suggest we do this?  Comments welcome!


Anonymous said...

Take the fish out. Flush it, and lets have a contest. How many days does it take her to notice? I bet never. If she ever does, and i doubt it, say the fish went to live in joans pond.

Anonymous said...

maybe is about time to let her know what Heaven is really all about........

Anonymous said...

The reason why I let my girls get fish at a flea market, or lizards (yes lizards) at a craft fair is so they learn how to care for something else. (which lets face it...I end up taking care of) The other reason is so they will learn about the cycle of life. It's a heck of alot easier to bury the lizard so they can learn about death than a loved one!
I know you don't want to hurt her....but it may be time to have a small talk about heaven and death and let her feel the feelings.


Anonymous said...

The beta died within 4 months?! I've had mine for years and they're still swimming.

Anywho.. you do what they do on TV and just go get a new one and replace it. But that would be ignoring the situation, which isn't good.

I'd tell her that they fishy grew up and went to fishy college =]