We went to Family Day at the Patterson Fire Department, where Mikey enjoyed all the offerings – bounce houses, parade, face painting, etc.
He also wanted to play the game where you attempt to toss ping pong balls into fish bowls to win, well, a fish. We pushed off his first request, not really wanting a pet, but as we were leaving he asked again and Mike and I thought: Why not? These games are rigged and he’ll never actually land one, anyway.
We now own a fish.
About three balls into the bucket of balls we purchased he sunk one right in. Gonna have to sign that kid up for basketball.
Anway, the lady handed us over a plastic Ziplock bag with a goldfish in it and I asked her, “Uh, any idea where one buys fish food around here?”
She directed me down the street to the pet store, where I purchased a little container of fish food. Fantastic. I then went to the dollar store in the same plaza and got a glass vase thing. Wonderful.
I wasn’t sure Axie – that’s what Mikey named him (no, I have no idea where the name comes from) – would even make the car ride home. Mikey really wanted to hold the fish but we had to keep telling him to keep the bag upright to keep the water deep enough for the fish to breathe.
At least three times my husband or I looked back and found the bag laying flat on the back seat and shrieked. It was divine intervention that we didn’t have a casualty on the way home.
We got home and I poured two bottles of water into the vase, to which Mike asked if the fish is going to get store-bought bottled water every time we swap it out, or if it can just live in tap water.
A consult with Google informed me that if we have well water and it’s not treated for anything too crazy then the fish should be fine. So… No more bottled water for you, Axie.
Mikey enjoyed sprinkling the little fish flake food into the vase, and we even had to cut him off for fear of mucking up the water or overfeeding the little guy.
By the end of the day we decided that the vase wasn’t big enough. I mean, who wants to literally just chase their tail all day, even if it is just a fish? It seemed cruel. So my husband ordered a little “aquarium” online that came with a bubbler and a filter.
It was dropped off the next day and after securing an engineering degree to set it up, Mikey was left with a lovely little aquarium for his new pet.
The next day, which was Day 2.5 with our newest addition to the family, Mike asked Mikey if he fed Axie breakfast and Mikey replied, “No, I don’t want to.”
And just like that he lost interest.
I really hope he gives his future love interests a little longer than that.
That same day my husband said to me, “So, uh, what are going to do about the fish when we got away this weekend?”
I gave him my best wide-eyed, gaping open mouth stare, then said: “Well, do you want to ask your parents to drive 40 minutes here and back to feed it? Because I sure as heck don’t want to pay a teenager to come feed the dang thing!”
This is exactly why I didn’t want anything else that requires food, shelter or any other personal care being introduced to the household. We can barely take care of ourselves.
UPDATE: Luckily – or unluckily, depending on how you look at it – we didn’t have to come up with a plan because we found Axie “sleeping with his eyes open” on Day 5. He went to the fish doctor, where he is going to live for the rest of his life.
Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mother of a 5-year-old. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.