Have just got back from expedition to garden centre. This is what my life has become - taking the children out to the garden centre. It was not as if I wanted to buy plants, it was more a case of somewhere to go in the bucketting rain. The weather on the way down was appalling; sleet, snow and rain so bad I thought there was a chance of an accident which might kill us all. Dieing en route to the garden centre would be a particularly rubbish way to go. We had looked round the kitchenware, glanced at the tomato plants, felt guilty about the state of the vegetable patch and had ambled into the pet section when I was ambushed. I did not even see it coming. My seven-year-old took my hand in his: "Can we have a fish? Can we? Can we? I'm not allergic to fish so it's only fair." My five-year-old saw the opening: "Yes can we have a fish? Or a hamster? I want a hamster. Can I have a hamster?" Just as I opened my mouth to say what I normally say which sounds like "We'll see" but means "Over my dead body," one of the assistants opened up the pen right next to us and scooped up two guinea pigs and placed them carefully into a cardboard box with holes at the top. They scampered round nervously. A proud and incredibly happy little girl stood to one side of him, her beaming, doting mother on the other. My boys watched the whole thing, I saw the older one glance at the girl, the younger one look soulfully at the empty guinea pig cage. I lost the pet argument right at that moment and I blame the guinea-pigs.
Courtesy of my seven-year-old's allergy to anything with hair, furry pets are out. We traipsed round the tanks watched by glittering tiny fish. Sanity suddenly prevailed and I said: "We can't possibly do this. Have you seen how much these tanks cost? The bowl is £400 and the goldfish is £1." Both boys looked like I had hit them over the head with a sandbag. I tried reason. I said: "Let's wait till Daddy's back at the weekend and come back then." Eventually I accepted the inevitable but I did not go down without a fight. Like the psycho-mother I am, I said: "If you do not feed it and look after it I will flush it down the toilet - right?" They virtually promised to pay its tuition fees through university. I have ended up £118 poorer than I was when I parked the car - I am now the proud possessor of an aquarium kit, two bags of black gravel, a fake tree stump and a small, ruined temple from the Lost City of Atlantis. Funny thing is they would not sell us the fish. Apparently we have to set it all up, leave it for 48 hours and then go back for the fish. I am hoping the children will have forgotten what it is all for by then.
I feel your pain on this particular subject. We are on fish#2. I've spent $2.98 on fish. At least 30 times that on accoutrements. Sigh. And then there was the loss of fish #1....
I've been reading your blog for about 6 months now and I absolutely adore it! Can't wait to buy the book this summer!
Hope they last longer than mine did - 3 weeks I think was the longest!
Cave! Your boys may become like my daughter's friend who came home for tea: I knew this little guest was vegetarian so I tentatively asked if she liked fish. Her response was refreshingly enthusiastic and so, my vegan repertoire being limited, I cooked sea bass for supper.
When I served it up, her face fell:
"But I said I *liked* fish." she whimpered. "Like I like my friends. I don't want to *eat* them".
So don't let your children make the connection! And when they ask where meat comes from, tell them the meat factory ;-)
Buy twice as many fish as you want, as half will die.
We bought a goldfish for 99p. It contracted white spot disease (very common in goldfish). The RSPCA book to help us diagnose this cost #4.99, and the white spot remedy cost #3.99. My only comfort was that it did work (although only for a few weeks).
I think it could have been worse. They could have asked for an iguana or snake instead.
But when you don't want it, I guess that's still bad enough
Bless that allergy. We went through a full range of small furry things (including rat, jirds (like gerbils) degus and no I hadn't heard of them either but they do exist and pet shops can't reliably sex them so we ended up with extras, etc etc)and I just wish we'd given in to the dog straight off.... and we had one fish that lasted, poor thing, for years and years and years.
You can always hope, I suppose...
While dispossessed of my mind, I bought our youngest a betta. He was blue and red. We named him Nemo. He died. I promptly ran out and bought another just like him and was pleased when my little guy was fooled. We are now on Nemo number five. I quit counting the golden snails at seven.
Wife you should have bought them a dog !
How many goldfish are there down our toilets ?
Perhaps a snake would, at least, ensure the rats and moles would keep a low profile!
Or there is always dolphin sponsorship?
Perhaps you should go native, and keep something the family can eat, or wear, at a later date?
I'm with Girl with the mask!
Oh Noooo - you didn't fall for that one?
There are so many stories to tell. Our neighbour was married to a fish health academic (there is such a thing). They looked after our fish. One died, they put it in their freezer - just in case(?)
We had to dig a pond to put the fish in before we left the country (just one more thing in a too long list) - the children wanted to bring them with us.
Put them in a pond - quickly!
So many fishy tales of doom! Who'd have thought they were so hard to keep alive?
Have you thought about African land snails? They could use the tank when the fish have gone. Quite cool as pets.
Whatever happened to the small round goldfish bowls like the sort you get from fairgrouunds? The kids only want to watch the fish, and probably don't give a toss about the expensive tank. I think you were seduced into buying stuff you didn't really need.
In my experience the dodgier the circumstances in which you get the fish, the hardier they are. A friend of mine got a fish from a fair 12 years ago and it is still going strong despite an apparent suicide bid when it threw itself on the kitchen floor ...
When he was 8 we bought our son 2 guinea pigs for £12 each.
One of them got mites and we had to go to the vet 3 times, at £10 a time, to get them injected.
And now our daughter wants a pony "because Ben had a pet when he was 8."
How does that add up?
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