As I may have mentioned before, G loves animals. she has a large collection of stuffed animals - all with names and backstories. Live animals send her into a frenzy. She adores and chases our friends dogs, tries to pet any cat she sees and our daytime activities include trips to a local petting zoo or even the pet store.
She has been asking for a dog or cat for about six months now, but we haven't been able to honour that request. Despite the fact that both Paul and I would love to own a dog or cat someday, our current living situation just does not make that possible. Our apartment is small and while it allows pets, we know that if we rent a different place in the future, they may not.
So, our compromise was to get G a fish. We chose to wait until her birthday so it would be her present from us.
So, late the night before her birthday, Paul drove off to the pet store and bought a red and blue Betta fish.
We wrapped a ribbon around the bowl and G was thrilled when she woke up.
Since he was red, she said "I'll name him Reddy!" then, noticing that he had some blue as well, she added "I'll name him Reddy Bluey!" We were a bit sad that our normally creative girl had chosen a fairly silly name, but we figured we could shift the name slowly over to "Freddy Louie" instead.
That was Wednesday. On Thursday, he didn't eat his food. Thursday night, Paul changed the water, not knowing that he was supposed to take out the chlorine and be cautious about temperature.
Friday morning, Reddy Louie (as he had come to be known) was hanging out exclusively at the bottom of the bowl. By Friday evening, he had passed onto that great fishbowl in the sky. Paul was pretty upset. He blamed himself and felt horrible for killing a living thing. I remain convinced that he was kinda sickly to begin with and annoyed that the pet store sent him home with no instructions whatsoever.
We were nervous. G would have to be told, but we knew we would soften the blow by getting her a new fish immediately.
Saturday morning dawned, and before she noticed that the bowl was empty, I gave her a big hug and said: "I have something to tell you. Reddy Louie died during the night. I'm really sorry. But Daddy will take you today to get a new fish from the store."
G, bless her 4 year old ignorance, was completely unphased. "We'll get a new fish! And when it dies, we'll get ANOTHER new fish! We'll just keep getting new fish!"
Later on, she asked if she could see the dead fish's bones. She's a very morbid child sometimes.
So, now we have a new fish.
His name is Bluey Louie.