Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Additions

Back before we had kids, we had fish.

Yes ... this was our true test of parental responsibilities.  Could we keep a tank full of guppies alive?  Would we be able to adequately care for other living creatures that were utterly dependent on us?  Could we remember to feed them?  Could we keep their tank (relatively) clean?  Would we notice if we ended up with a floater?  An essential assessment prior to becoming parents.

We passed.  Or, at least, I guess we did because ... well ... we have kids and they are alive, cared for, fed, (relatively) clean and we haven't had a floater yet!

After we added kids to life's equation, the fish tank got boxed up and set into exile.  We knew our limits in the realm of responsibility and felt that it was important to have our priorities right.  Kids:  first.  Fish:  later.

Now we are "later".

About a month ago, Aaron started talking about wanting to get a fish.  My immediate reaction to Brett's suggestion to let him have one was, "Uhhhmmmm ... really?"  Super enthusiastic, huh?  In my mind, we (or I should say "I") had plenty to take care of already.  Why add one more thing?  But as the days went by and Aaron's interest persisted, I warmed up to the idea.  Truly, fish are by far one of the easiest pets to care for.  And the most contained.  Okay ... why not?

For Christmas, we dusted off the aquarium box, made sure all the parts still worked and got Aaron a gift card to our pet store.  We decided we would cover the rocks, food and filters and he would be responsible for the plants, tunnels and fish.  We felt a little cheap for not getting him something new, but that feeling disappeared as soon as he opened the box.

Christmas morning ... note the chaos behind him.

He was so excited to have his very own fish that he never even commented on the used appearance of his gift.  Within just a few minutes of unwrapping his package, he and Daddy were upstairs, clearing off the shelf we had designated for it, rinsing gravel and hooking up hoses.  We poured in the water, turned on the bubbles and heater and ... waited 24 hours to get fish.  That boy is developing the patience of a saint!

When the tank had been running for an entire day, we headed out to shop for fish.  It was such fun to see his excitement and the enthusiasm of his sisters.  They ran from tank to tank, reading labels, comparing sizes and making the tough decision of who to take home.  Aaron eventually decided on an orange tailed guppy and a sucker-fish.  He wanted to get more, but the fish-worker-person recommended that we start with just two and add on once the tank is established.  (A saint, I tell you!)

We took the fish home in their little bags to let them float in the tank and let them acclimate.  (Absolutely saintly!)  About an hour later, Aaron dumped his first little buddies into the tank.  Swim, little fellas!

Such concentration ... and concern.

The excitement the kids shared in seeing the little guys darting around the tank for the first time is a snapshot I want to take with me!

Saying, "Hi!" to our new fish friend.

The funniest part of having fish has been the lengthy and ever-changing process of naming them.  On almost a daily basis, Aaron comes up with a different name for one of his friends.  It got to be so confusing for me that he finally wrote up a list and taped it to the tank.  Now I'll know who is who:

The Red Tail Tuxedo Guppy is Captain Orange Tail. (Like the pirate Black Beard ... only a fish.)
The Sucker is Deadline.
The Black Neon is Spotlite.
And the Tetra is Sonic.

The final two we got yesterday ... and they are adjusting just fine.

And not a floater yet. :)

My saintly boy and his aquatic buddies.

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