So one day (several months ago) I received a phone call from my mama that went like this, "So, I was thinking of what to get the kids for Christmas and your dad and I thought fish would be a great idea." I laughed. And said, "No." She came up with some fairly convincing reasons why a fish would be good for our household, but I still laughed and said, "No." I know what happens when a person takes on fish...the story usually ends with a trip to the toilet and an explanation of whether or not fish go to Heaven. No thank you. Then it was her turn to laugh, saying something about passing the baton of parenthood.
My mama is a persistent lady. It's one of her God-given gifts. Persistence. For several weeks leading up to Christmas, she would randomly ask me if I had considered her proposition and I would again say, "No." I said "No" many times before I finally gave in and begrudgingly said "Yes". See? Persistence = her God-given gift. This would be the point when she could have rightfully thrown out a certain Charlie Sheen quote.
So, after Christmas our children became the proud owners of a new fish tank. We took ourselves down to the local Petsmart and bought the fixings for the fish tank using a gift card from my parents that was specifically designated for keeping the fish alive.
We came home with our new fishy family members: Elmo, Alvin and Sheldon the snail. Things were going along swimmingly for several weeks (Oh, yes. I'm all over that pun). We fed them and kept them alive. Until this week.
You see, there was a hollow tube that was in the center of the tank. It filtered this color changing light that the kiddos were obsessed with. They would stand in front of the tank quickly pressing the button making the colors change rapidly all the way through Roy G. Biv. Why this hollow tube never caused concern, I'm not sure. I should have recalled scenes from "Finding Nemo" and how easily fish get themselves into precarious situations. Anyway, Elmo (whom I sort of pegged as a trouble maker early on) chose to swim down the tube...and couldn't make his way back out. All he had to do was swim back up the tube and out, but it was more than he could handle. I'm guessing he watched this scene from finding Nemo and was following horrible advice to keep swimming down:
Elmo managed to swim down the tube and under the support tray, trapping himself. So to rescue him, I had to scoop out Alvin and Sheldon and place them in a bag. I scooped out the rocks and foliage from the 3 gallon tank, then I put the stopper in the kitchen sink and poured out the whole fish tank until Elmo fell out from under the tray and into the sink. I replaced the rocks and faux sea foliage then filled the tank back up with fresh water. Finally I put Elmo, Alvin and Sheldon back in their home and mumbled how lucky they were. Lucky I tell you!
About 10 minutes later Elmo started acting crazy. He was swimming erratically and flipping around (not in the thankful to be alive sort of way) and before I knew it he was upside down. I figured the stressful circumstances were his demise, until another 10 minutes went by and Alvin started doing the same dance...And then there were none. The lone survivor was Sheldon...the bottom feeding snail who seems to have a strong will to live.
The kiddos did surprisingly well considering the circumstances. The little Mr. just patted my shoulder and said, "It's okay mama. I know you did your best. You didn't mean to kill Alvin and Elmo." Such a bummer. Poor little guy.
I kept trying to piece together where things went wrong, when I realized I had forgotten to add the all important tank conditioner drops to remove the harsh chlorine from the tap water. Sheesh.
So, a big fat parenting fail this week. We're taking ourselves back down to Petsmart to pick out a new Alvin and Elmo. I will give this two more rounds before I throw in the towel and declare Sheldon the winner and let him have the tank all to himself.