Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Sensitive Sole

This is not a duplicate post, although it does have a very similar title to a recent one of mine.

It is just me demonstrating my limited vocab.

And yet again my wonderful boy showing off his softer side.

For my son’s first birthday, which seems like an eternity ago, I decided to get him a tropical fish tank.

It was a present I really thought about, hoping that it would be a good use of a few quid rather than a waste of a lot.

My theorem proved to be correct.

The vibrant colours and movement often kept my boy’s attention, and he also enjoyed our various trips to the local aquariums.

They also served well at plugging hour-long-holes in our daily routine.

Sadly, because we moved around a bit in the next couple of years, I left the tank with my parents. And while they – my mother in particular – looked after our set-up, our fish stocks dwindled just like that in The North Sea.

I did not forget about the tank, and earmarked several spots in our new property, once we were ready for it.

Eventually its new home became our hall, and it rather adds to the whole chic reception feel of this area of our house.

With Junior being older the appeal of the glass box has become even greater.

And its usefulness has increased too.

My son knows we have to look after the fish by feeding them and maintaining the water.

He also took great interest when we were re-stocking, as the guy at the local fish place – of the non-dead and unbattered kind – guided us on the number, type and order of fish we should be introducing back into our near three year-old Nemo look-a-like container.

A neon-tetra actually survived all that time, but strangely my son never asked what happened to the others.

The story was a bit different when we lost the first fish from our new pool of gill bearers.

I suppose he was much more attached to this lot, due to his age, and also because he had actually chosen these fellas.

He has not come up with names for them, not ones that have stuck anyway, but he knows the name of the four varieties we have.

We came home one evening, shortly before the holidays, and our black molly was no more.

Well, he was motionless on the bottom of the tank to be more precise.


I did not bring it to my offspring’s attention immediately; more pondered how to deal with it.

My pondering did not last long, as I have always thought honesty, or a relative version, is the best policy.

“One of our fish is dead son.” I informed my boy.

He established which one it was, which immediately became his favourite.

“When will he be back Daddy?” He enquired.

The answer to that question was rather more a re-affirmation of explanations past.

Another chance to subtly drill home my where-Mommy-is philosophy, if that is possible.

Our emotions over the next sixty minutes or so were all over the place.

There were not a lot of tears, just a few, but he makes me laugh, and in the very next moment can pull right at the swinging brick inside my rib cage.

“I hope Mommy takes good care of him,” my bundled of joy explained.

At least better than us, was my un-uttered reply

“Does this mean they have a pond in heaven Dad?”


“Well if they do Max, I hope it is appropriately heated.”

Over the next few days, and now weeks, we have both made reference to our lost fish, and I hope by giving consistent answers that my son's understanding and grieving process slowly move further along.

As does mine.



Roads said...

That's a lovely, touching story, Ian.

There are so many questions out there, and they all have to be answered, somehow.

You handled this one very well. Especially since you just couldn't write the script -- because you can never know what they'll ask you next.

harassedmomsramblings said...

You did well in explaining that!!

I have never considered a fish tank as a gift but it really is a lovely idea that they can keep forever really!!

Zoeyjane said...

It sounds like that was handled perfectly and that he took it perfectly. Now, will there be new fish, soon, is the question?

Tismee2 said...

Are you SURE it was dead? I mean sometimes they feel a bit off colour and flop about a bit but a dose of Fish Rescue sorts them out after a day or two.

Just wondering....don't want to accuse you of being an acomplice to murder or anything..!

Happy New Year!

Penelope said...

Awww I just want to give both of you boys the biggest hug! You are doing such a wonderful job Ian, I hope you know that.
Happy New Year to you both :o) xxx

Single Parent Dad said...

Roads - Thanks, and you're right, life with a toddler can be a bit impromptu

Harassedmom - Thanks. A fish tank is a brilliant gift for kids, for so many reasons.

Zoeyjane - We have no plans to go fishing, but that could change.

Tismee - Quite sure. Otherwise his cremation on our wood burner would have been most inappropriate.

Penelope - Thank you, and your virtual hug is well appreciated.

Mama Nabi said...

So sorry about the fishie... ah, life and its lessons. Not always rosy but you seem to have an excellent handle on things.

Happy New Year, you two! Love from Minnesota, USA.

Working mum said...

Lovely present and you were right about it being useful. We have different varieties of goldfish and daughter helps to look after them. Unfortunately after one holiday one of the Blackmoors was missing. Try explaining to a four year old that gold fish are cannibals!

GoneBackSouth said...

Aah, that sounds like a bit of a moment - it can't be easy, explaining all that stuff to such a little one. When my husband's mother died my daughter was two and a half and we told her she'd gone to live with the angels. I hope 2009 is a good year for you and yours.

Single Parent Dad said...

Mama Nabi - Thank you. From Staffordshire, England.

Working Mum - I would give it a go.

GoneBackSouth - It is all relative, that's not a pun BTW. Thanks for your comment.

Crash Course Widow said...

Anna and Max must be on the same we're-now-four wavelength when it comes to death, their missing parent, pets, etc. She's been saying the exact same kinds of things as Max.

And it's really good for me to hear how another widowed parent is handling the same conversations too. Thanks for sharing.

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