A few months ago I took our two older kids to the movie, Marley and Me and left our two year old boy home with his Dad. For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, it’s basically a comedy about the life of an extremely rambunctious dog living with his human family. As I sat in that theater watching Marley the dog get into trouble time and time again, I realized that, oh my gosh! I had a human version of Marley waiting for me at home!
I am constantly sweeping up piles of cheerios, and I now know where to look for my cell phone if it is lost. I also know that if the washing machine didn’t eat the missing socks, to look for them in the window valances. They will most likely be there. I wasn’t prepared for Marley’s latest though…Who would be??
It all started with a guppy fish. Our oldest earned a fish for reading a certain amount of books, gathering points. With the points, prizes could be bought. Fish were among the prize choices. Despite my pleading not to bring a fish home until we got back from our two day trip, and until we got the fish tank ready, the fish still came home. Luckily, Dad had to stay home to work, so he was able to watch the fish.
The fish came home in a water bottle. Since the fish tank wasn’t going to be ready until we got back, and after visiting the pet store, all that could be done was to set out a bowl of water and let it sit for a good 24 hours before it was ready for the fish to be in it. The lid was taken off of the bottle to let oxygen in.
When we got home from our trip, the bowl of water was ready for the fish but the fish was still in the water bottle. As “Marley’s” dad and I stood in the kitchen talking, Marley snacked away from a box of cereal. After a while of talking, we realized that the fish and it’s water were no longer in the bottle. Panic time! All I visioned at that point was our oldest child’s monster tears running down her face because her beloved, hard earned fish went missing, and was possibly dead.
We had a few crazy moments with rushing around the kitchen yelling, “where’s the fish?” “WHERE’S THE FISH!!!” Marley stood there, calmly eating from his box of cereal saying, “dish, dish”. I don’t know what I was thinking, grilling a child with very limited language about where the fish was, as if he was going to miraculously break into complete descriptive speech and tell me where it was.
You would think that if the bottle was poured out, there would be a telltale puddle of water with a poor fish flopping around somewhere. We had no such luck. I then had a horrible moment when I felt something roll beneath my sandal. I thought for sure that the fish was a goner. Thankfully it was just a piece of gravel that made it’s way into the house. Then my brightest idea of the moment… Maybe if I took my sandals off, the chances of that fish surviving as it squished between my toes, if I happened to step on it, would be better. Smart!
Still, at this time, there was no sign of a fish, or it’s water. We stood there utterly bewildered. How could the fish and the water vanish completely without a trace? That’s when Marley’s Dad grabbed the cereal box from the boy’s hands and proceeded to dump the mushy contents onto the counter. There was the poor fish, clinging to life.
My final bright moment of the event was to quickly fill a bowl full of water from the filtered water pitcher. The chlorinated tap water would surly finish the fish off. I didn’t expect the pitcher to be empty except for maybe a 1/4 cup of water. As we stood and watched the fish struggle in very little water (really smart), we remembered that there was a nice big bowl of water all ready for it.
As I write this, the fish is still alive and is in the now prepared fish tank. It looks as if it is still struggling, and we are in complete amazement that it survived this far. I am also in complete amazement with how much trouble our little guy gets into. The things that he thinks of doing! I thought that I had seen it all after the VCR incident, but now I’m in the defensive mode, constantly waiting, and wondering… What’s next, Marley?