Well, it’s one step forward and three steps back for lamemom, as I just continue to exhibit how effing stupid I really am. The other evening, I decided to mention to Jake that Jacksonfish, his blue beta fish (irresponsibly given to him for his 4th birthday by a friend who should have known better) had died. Between you and me, the dumb fish had died about a year ago but we all kind of pretended that Jacksonfish, (not to be confused with Jackson, the best dog in the world), was on a stay-cation in Queens with their babysitter (the mother they should have had) and her family.
The husband and I were going away for the weekend and the kids were off to Queens to stay with the babysitter so I had to tell Jake about the fish before he got there and expected to have a reunion. Predictably, his face squinched up within seconds and he started sobbing so hard that he got red dots all over his forehead. Of course, I think I have raised them to love their animals that much so I’m a little puzzled that I expected him to take it cavalierly. But I did. I was absolutely surprised that he was so upset, I think because I couldn’t imagine he had believed our story about why the fish hadn’t been at home in almost a year. He cried and cried and we cuddled and he pleaded for his fish back.
Fortunately my stupid had stopped, for I knew not to tell him that Jacksonfish had gone the way of many pet fish — an accidental bowl-cleaning-swim down the drain. I said that fish don’t generally live for very long as pets and that Jacksonfish had enjoyed a happy life full of love and family, and so on. Then Jake asked for a new fish and I kind of ignored him because there is no way we are getting another fish, even when my son is crying so hard he has dots all over his face. (Curious that I prefer picking up dog poop two or three times a day to a weekly fish bowl cleaning.)
But I will definitely keep this episode with me: he is five and a half years old and he totally believes me. I know at some point, this will change, but now, I am his authority. Whether it is about his fish on a holiday to learn Spanish in Queens or the sugar bugs that will eat his teeth if they’re not brushed well or that being kind to our animals and little sisters is the most important thing we do each day, my son believes me. As always, I am astounded and terrified by the responsibility.