Mum's the Word

Swimming with the fishes

Posted: Feb. 10, 2017 9:33 am Updated: Feb. 10, 2017 4:53 pm

Today I killed three out of four of our fish. Apparently the bigger bottle of water softener doesn't have the squeezie feature and it poured into the bowl a bit heavy. Instead of pouring it all out, I split it between bowls and heavily diluted it thinking that it would probably be fine.

I was wrong.

Speedy had been with us two years and survived many actual pettings. I once pulled him from someone's mouth and another time just found him chilling on the counter top. He was one tough fish. I guess he just couldn't handle my drink ... I've always been a little heavy on the pour.

Yikes - a bit early to joke.

I'm actually sad! I mean I'm not going to write a eulogy, or wait maybe I just did, but as far as fishes go, Speedy was a good fish.

The kids, although sad, took it in stride as I flushed Speedy and his mates down the toilet. We've lost fish before. It's a miracle anything survives around here. I've been known to kill succulents. Succulents! You have to be pretty bad to kill a cactus!

So here we are dealing with death again. Today, it's four fish. Yeah, the other one just died now. Two months ago, it was birds. Two out of four of our birds kicked the bucket.

Now we are faced with replacing the pets, or just dealing with their absence. I think there is something to be said for waiting and dealing. It's a teachable moment about death and reality - super fun. I think maybe there should be an equation for mourning time that correlates with how sad you are with the death. I made the kids wait on the birds because that's a bit more of a commitment on my part. But fish - I mean those are like two bucks and if they even look at me wrong they're bird food. Also we have all the "stuff" and it's not like it's going to add that much to my already gargantuan chore list.

However, we did get a dog for Christmas (anticipate another blog), so we really don't need these other pets now ... right? I thought the dog may fill any pet-sized holes in their little hearts.

I was, once again, wrong.

I mean they love the dog, but they also enjoy the other little things that make our house sound and feel like the bird sanctuary at the zoo. As someone with four kids, I too, enjoy this circus. I find the white noise drowns out some of the other noises. Now all I need is a construction crew and an pipe band.

While I must admit not everything can be truly replaced, each pet has its own uniqueness and we enjoy the distraction of them all. When one is lost and not replaced, you notice its absence more. This isn't meant to be deep or relatable to the humans in your life, I'm just talking about pets here. One thing at a time.

Some might question my sanity at times. I'm one of those people as I walk into Petco and the bird lady sees me coming and is like, "You doing this?" In my mind we are walking in slow-mo to Ozzy Osborne's "Crazy Train" andI turn and give the bird lady a nod. The kids point to the birds they want and grab the fish ... I should have a tab.

I hope these pets hold on for a bit because it's just going to look bad if I come back next week.


Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.

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