A Fish Called Mater

My family were always dog people. So much so, that I can’t remember a time from my childhood where there wasn’t a dog running around the house. Before we had kids, my wife and I had a Husky named Bacardi (keep in mind that my wife won that battle,  I wanted to call him Crown Royal). He was a great dog but the amount of hair he left around the house coupled with his hyperactivity and a new baby meant one of the two had to go.

We chose to keep the baby but found an amazing family with a huge yard for Bacardi to play in. It was a tough day for both of us but we know we did the right thing by letting the dog go, he wouldn’t have got the attention he deserved with a baby around. We’ve kept in touch with the family that took him and all is well.

My dear wife, thinking the kids were ready for pets, decided they should each get a pet fish (Daisy and Mater) for their birthdays (which are 2 days apart). I didn’t fight it too hard, after all, how hard can fish be to maintain? The answer to that question came about 2 weeks in, when the first fish, Daisy, suddenly died of natural causes…

As I was starting to panic about how I unprepared I was to have the “death” discussion with the kids, I realized that not only had they not noticed the fish had died, they had forgotten about the fish altogether. Somewhat relieved, I sent Daisy off on a swirly journey to fishy heaven and went about my business.

Later that day, we (read:my wife) decided that we should replace the fish with another one, just in case the kids noticed we were one fish down. Off Daddy went to the pet store to get a replacement fish, to be named Daisy 2. What happened next at the Pet Store was probably one of the most unexpected and humiliating things that’s ever happened to me.

There I was in the fish aisle, looking for Daisy 2, when the small fish “expert” came to see if I needed any help. I explained the situation as delicately as a man could, “stupid fish died, need another stupid fish before the kids notice the last stupid fish is missing”. Apparently my story didn’t jive with the clerk, who laced into a tirade that would have made Ace Ventura proud. It was clear to me why this clerk had been hired by the pet store and it also made me think about how many fish posters this person had plastered throughout their home.

After feigning regret for a few minutes I had found my Daisy 2 and proceeded to the check out, where my fish story had obviously been told and a lecture from the cashier ensued. I wanted to scream, “It’s Just A Fish, Get Over It!!!”, but held my tongue and made my way home to sneak Daisy 2 into her new tank as Daddy the Hero would do.

Just as the kids hadn’t noticed a fish was gone, they also didn’t notice that Daisy had completely changed colours. This turned into a good thing, as Daisy 2′s health didn’t last nearly as long as the year we were told it would. In fact, it lasted about 3 weeks before she too met her fate. It was embarrassing really, to not be able to keep a fish alive for longer than a month! We did everything we were told to but it still didn’t work out for poor Daisy 2.

I decided there was no way I was going back to the pet store for another round of booing and hissing, so we were down to 1 fish and the kids were none the wiser. Eventually my son began to pay attention to the remaining fish and surprisingly never asked what had happened to Daisy 1. He decided the fish’s new name would be Lanny, the lovable elf from Disney’s Prep & Landing movies. About once a month he decides to show the fish some love and asks if he can feed it and he talks to it for awhile.

My daughter still doesn’t bother paying any attention to it, there’s plenty more important things like Barbie and Hide and Seek for her to be bothered by something that just floats in a box and does nothing entertaining. Maybe someday she’ll be interested but I imagine she’ll go straight to wanting a dog judging by the way she reacts around them. But that’s a story for another day.

As for the fish, he must feel completely lost up there on his lonely perch. Not knowing what your name is can be very confusing when you’re trying to meet the lady fish and hes had a lot of them. Here’s a detailed list of all the names I’ve heard called to date: Mater, Lanny, Wayne, Zerby (??? I know), Mater again, Nemo, Flounder, Mater once again and just this morning when I asked my son what my next post should be about, he said it should be about Doc. Based on the post, I imagine you could guess who Doc is…

Do your kids have funny names for their pets? Let me know in the comments section and thanks for reading!!

Don’t forget you can catch me on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/#!/CanadianDadBlog and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CanadianDad

Cheers!!

11 replies
  1. Amber
    Amber says:

    My kids want fish. But I know I’ll be stuck cleaning out the tank.

    Natalie basically just wants to call everything Princess these days..

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      LOL Amber, Julia’s saying Princess a lot too, she’s very into that right now. Cleaning the tank was brutal and in fact, I think that’s what was killing the fish. The change of water was too much for the Beta’s.

      Reply
  2. Katie
    Katie says:

    Too funny chris we did the same thing. We got Cayden a fish thinking he would loved it. He named him fry fry after his favorite food French fries. The novelty of fry fry lasted about 2 days and added another job to my to-do list feeding him and cleaning his tank. Fry fry lasted about 6mth and Cayden never even noticed he was gone!

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      That’s funny Katie, there was one day where Julia was infatuated with the fish but that was it. Since then she hasn’t showed any interest at all. My guess is she knows the other fish died and is mad at us for not replacing it again. lol.

      Reply
  3. Georgia Read
    Georgia Read says:

    As a grownup this is too funny..you had a fish as a pet as well.LOL I had enough of dogs and cats. That didn’t last long…we named them after my cousins Pat and Mike…replaced more times then I care to admit..lol A goldfish is a goldfish..lol Did I ever tell you what Lucas said to me..lol You have a picture of Bicardi on the tree at Christmas..he said someday he would have a dog…but not that big..LOL

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      I’m pretty sure the dog talk is coming from my wife…I can’t be home all the time to offset the “we need a dog” talk:))

      Reply
  4. Natasha
    Natasha says:

    We got a fish for the kids and in compramise the fish was named Princess Rainbow Cookie..She meet her fate when the 10 year old washed her bowl and filled it with hot water..Fish went from Blue to White!

    Reply
  5. Tanya H.
    Tanya H. says:

    Just yesterday, my five year old declared himself ready for a fish. Two, actually. One to live unsupervised in his bedroom, plus a ‘family fish’ for everyone else to share. My husband thinks it’s a good idea, but I’m unconvinced. May have to leave this post on my screen for hubby to see….ha!

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      He can message me if he needs to be talked off the ledge. It’s great if they are into it but we bought the fish on a whim and the kids could’ve cared less. The only benefit was that when the fish died, I didn’t have to explain what happened…not ready for that yet.

      Reply
  6. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    We found that it was cleaning the tank weekly like we were told was what kept killing Austins fish. For his 6th birthday we got him 6 and one by one they would go. I just kept my receipts and went to the pet store with my story and they kept replacing them. When I stopped cleaning it as much and just bought a cleaning solution that you put right into the water they stopped dieing. The fish are now two and a half years old and still doing great.

    Reply
    • Chris
      Chris says:

      That’s exactly what happened to us! It got to the point where I was going to ask the pet store to come and show me how to do it. They’d say, you let out too much water, so I’d do less and the fish died anyway. I can’t believe Luke’s fish is still alive right now, we figure he’s gotta go sooner or later…

      Reply

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