Goldfish are often the first type of pet parents go for, they seem like a safe option in the first step in becoming pet owners and let’s be honest they are the least maintenance out all the pets you can choose. Well at least I thought. Apparently keeping fish is quite a science, you have to keep the PH level of the water accurate, keep the tank away from direct sunlight, remember NOT to feed them every day but REMEMBER to feed them every other day, DON’T over feed them and to avoid this you should give them so many grains per fish that they should eat within so many seconds, I mean the list goes on. Oh and not to mention the pet store requires you to prepare your fish tank water for a week in advance and then you have to take a sample in to get the PH level tested to THEN you get your fish.
Once you finally get the fish the one thing you must do is be consistent with maintenance of your tank water, otherwise it quickly goes a green black colour very quickly and when the time comes to clean the tank trying to locate a fish in black water and keep your patience with a small child is no easy job. Just to find the fecker is hard enough let alone keeping your children from trying to assist in fishing them out. With the ups and downs these little creatures become part of your routine and quickly wriggle their way into your heart. Until the day you find one floating at the top of the tank.
Nobody can prepare themselves for the death of a pet and nor for explaining the concept to a toddler.
Like many other parents…… lying is always the easier option than the truth and the first time one of our fish died we told our daughter we took him to the vet because he was sick and the vet had to keep him there until he was better. Two years on she still remembers that dam fish and we are still keeping the lie up so if this is your option keep the concept simple for the long haul. This was only until the day the second fish died and I swear it was carma catching up on us for lying. Either way, we needed to face the truth and deal with the situation at hand like proper adults.
So little Goldie was bobbing at the top of the tank and facing the truth as proper adults we had to show our little girl what had happened. I’ll never forget her little face, her bottom lip folding in as the tears filled her little eyes as she looked at me as if to say, you can fix this can’t you mum. I couldn’t handle it and immediately I paused the whole thing. I took my husband aside and said “No, this is too hard let’s just tell her he’s sleeping, I mean fish have to sleep too don’t they, we could say he had too many fish flakes so he’s having a sleep in”. My husband looked at me blankly, firstly like I had a rather vivid imagination for an adult then his face changed to you know what you need to do.
We consoled our little girl and prepared for the ceremony around the toilet, we all said a few words then flushed our fishy friend to a better place. Following the ceremony my daughter asked “so where did Goldie go mum” I said “he has gone to heaven to be with his fishy friends that have also died”, she replied “does the toilet pipe take him to heaven mum?” and of course I’m going to have to say yes! I wasn’t about to jump from one pan into another, I’d just recovered from a traumatic ordeal. “Yes” I said, “he has gone to a wonderful place where he is no longer in pain or suffering so Goldie will be so happy now”.
The following days my wee girl missed her fishy friend but she slowly came round to accept the idea until the day we passed a cemetery. She said to me “what’s that mum?”, thinking I had the dying concept down to a fine art I said that’s where they put the people who have gone to heaven. My daughter quickly replied “it would have been hard getting them down the pipe eh mum”.