Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Kids, Pets and Death!

An old adage says, “When you buy life, you buy death, too.” Those of us with pets understand that they will not live forever. But, when the time comes, explaining it to your children it can be a difficult thing. One thing, I really try to convey to my children is a sense of compassion and charity for others, and all life matters… except for bees, wasps and moths, some spiders… well you get the idea!

At what age does a child learn that life has an end?

Nobody ever “dies” on Playhouse Disney.

You’ll remember, a few weekends ago, the Helper, his sister and I stopped off to buy some new fish. I had just re-set up our tank… clean and beautiful. It had sat for a week without any swimmers, letting the water and temperature adjust gradually. But then we were ready. To be honest, the Helper was getting a little antsy about not having any fish in the tank… sort of a “why bother” attitude. So we bought two big, beautiful, 29¢, goldfish. No more $6.99 tropical fish for me. The pressure of feeding the other six mouths is enough.

All was fine for a couple of weeks… then last night things started to head downhill. One of our new fish was dying. Not a big shock! I was surprised they had made it that long. Yes, I remembered to feed them. So here’s last night’s conversation on the passing of his new fish… my compassionate son:

“Daddy, the fish is tired, he’s laying on the bottom… I think he’s cryin’” [Compassion; Proud Dad]

“I know, Sweetie, he’s sick, I don’t think he’s going to be with us much longer.”

“You mean he’s gonna DIE!” [Shocked Daddy; Didn’t even know he knew that word.]

“Yeah, Honey… he’s probably going to die.” [Honest Dad]

“Okay… [Introspective 4 year old thinking] How do we get him out of there?”

“With a net, Honey.”

“Great, then we can go buy a new one! Tomorrow!”

So much for compassion for all living things. Hopefully, when the time comes for the pets of a furry nature to pass he’ll have a little more remorse. And, hopefully, that’s not for a very long time.

Now, my concern is, if I happen to get sick and lie around will he pester the Mommy to take him to the store to buy a new Daddy?

“Mommy… Daddy’s sick…He’s gonna die, can we go get a new one tomorrow?”

And when it started you thought this was going to be a serious discussion, didn’t you?

…Have you met the Helper?

Well, back to the "wars" folks, have a great day! I have to go scrounge up a quarter for a new fish!


Working Gal said...

They always know so much more than we think they do. He's pretty cute!

Angel said...

Awwww the helper reminds me of my son at that age. He was sad for a moment, reflective and then wanted to flush the fish. We said a few words and then he asked if we could flush the other one (that was still alive.) *chuckle*

Now he's almost 7 and has a 4 year old goldfish. I kid you NOT! The freakin thing is possessed (sorry working gal, not ghost talk. LOL) Now he cries at the mere thought that Shaggy will die. So this time I expect a different reaction.

They are perceptive little people. Thank you for sharing the helper stories with us. You help me remember my son at that age. *sigh*

Gina said...

What a sweet touching....but it made me laugh...right now...I'm dealing with the opposite situation...a pet that won't die! son got a particular type of lizard...when he was in 2nd grade....he's now a junior in high school...and that lizard keeps on going and going...I just looked it up last night on the web and it said they can live 20 years in captivity! Ugh Who Knew?....