Monday, December 15, 2014

One Fish, Two Fish!

Andy's been asking for a pet, and we all know how Chris and I feel about dogs.  Cats are even worse, because you basically spend a whole bunch of money on an animal whose feelings about you straddle the line between disdain and outright loathing.  I did at one time contemplate adopting a kitten, but then I saw this cat food commercial where an uppity-looking white cat ate a blend of brown rice, salmon, and spring vegetables off of a gleaming white porcelain plate.  "Forget this whole cat thing!" I howled aloud to no one as a little mustard from my hot dog dripped onto my sweater.  "Ain't no snotty cat eating better than I am!"

No dogs, no cats, and certainly nothing that resembles a mouse (i.e., actual mouse, gerbil, or the like). I'd get the kid a pony if only we had a stable.  Snakes are super creepy, turtles are ridiculous looking and require no further comment.  But when Andy asked if he could have a goldfish....

"Yes!"  I proclaimed, smiling beatifically down at my eager-faced four year old.  "Yes, I see nothing wrong with a fish!  A fish sounds like a perfect pet!"

I told Chris to go out and get the boys a fish while I was at work.  "Okay, if you're sure about this," Chris replied doubtfully.  At this point, I should have read the tone in my husband's voice a little better, or at least clarified that we were on the same page as to what getting a goldfish meant.

Here's what I had pictured.  A little bowl fulled with tap water containing a single orange fish that would hopefully die in about a month or so.  Total cost:  $7. 

Eight hours later, here's what I came home to.  Two goldfish swimming around in a mansion of a fish tank, an entire fish tank system, complete with those little colored rocks and some expensive looking fake foliage and a jar of fish food that contained BROWN RICE, SALMON, AND SPRING VEGETABLES!  It was the cat situation all over again.  Except we'd actually gone through with it, and now Chris' wallet was $65 lighter and I'd basically worked all day not to add to our savings or pay a pitiful portion of our ridiculous cable bill but to get fish.

"Look at our new fish!"  Andy squealed when I got home as he and Alex clambered up onto the chair that is now permanently pushed in front of the fish tank.  "I named my fish Goldie and Alex named his iPad!"

"iPad the fish?"  I repeated.

"Alex named it after the thing he loves most in the world," Chris helpfully explained.  "And just so you know, goldfish can live up to thirty years and this gigantic fish tank is actually a little too small so we'll have to invest in a bigger one soon."

"I was picturing a little glass bowl," I said slowly, a small nugget of anger and regret starting to form in my chest as I had a vision of myself still buying fish food for these creatures when I'm in my sixties. "And the kind of fish that we'd just flush down the toilet in a couple weeks or so, after the boys got sick of it.  Can I look at that receipt again?  You spent how much on rocks???"

So that was a couple weeks ago.  Andy and Alex are excited to feed Goldie and iPad every morning and evening, oftentimes spilling fish flakes all over the carpet, and Andy has a fishy way of saying hello to them, his own lips puckered up fish style.  Alex is proud of his pet, too, and they know which fish belongs to who.  Since getting the fish, despite how desperately boring they are, Andy and Alex have spent time watching them and have ceased asking for a puppy or any other much more interesting animal.  You may ask, was this alone worth the start up costs of $65?  I really don't think so.  But now we have fish and every once in a while when I peek in on them in their tank, I get the impression that the one called iPad is giving me the stink eye.

You think you're better than me, fish?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Where Babies Come From!

My mom and my aunt were giggling like maniacs, and my mother waved me over.  "You have to hear what Andy just told us," my aunt said through a guffaw.  "Nancy, you tell her."

My mother related the story.  They were asking Andy about how he was going to get a new baby, and apparently Andy had replied, matter-of-factly, "Yep.  There's a baby in my mommy's tummy.  My daddy put it in there with his special tool."

Special tool?  Hilarious!  Of course, Andy was just repeating what he had been told by Chris, who should know better than to refer to his wedding tackle as a "special tool."  Obviously, this was going to be repeated.  And some people, like my mother and aunt, were going to be greatly amused by this. Yet other people, like my father for instance, were going to wince and just walk away.

Andy's been asking a lot of questions about the mechanics of conceiving and delivering a child.  I have told him the basics without actually lying or providing any sort of detail.  The daddy gives the mommy a seed that grows in her tummy.  The doctor takes the baby out at the hospital.  If you want to know more about the latter, don't ask me because I'm not a doctor. Andy has somehow guessed through which part of the human body the baby actually enters the world, but he is very foggy on how mommies get the seed in the first place, and his questions are nonstop and pretty direct.

"How does the daddy give the mommy the seed?"  he's asked.

"I'm not sure," I've replied.  "It just happens."

"When does it happen?"

"Um, when we're sleeping."

"Okay, I have a plan.  You pretend like you're sleeping and I'll watch how Daddy gives you the seed."

"Not the best plan, Andy.  Terrible idea.  Who wants a milk shake?"


And then, dissatisfied with my answers, he's badgered Chris.  "How do you give Mommy the seed?" he's asked.  "How does the seed get into her tummy?"  This four year old of mine will one day make an excellent attorney as his cross-examining skills are virtually unmatched.  As long as none of the jury members smell like they've recently had chocolate, he'll be unstoppable.

"I have a tool," Chris replied after coming up empty.  Clearly, here in the present tense, this wasn't the best of answers.  I can only imagine the announcements Andy is making at preschool about his father's tool. "Who wants cake?"

Andy getting ready to high-five.  But Alex will
kiss you if you get close enough.
Both Andy and Alex are very clear that there's a baby coming eventually, and now that I'm showing a little, they've accepted this phantom member of the family as one of their own.  "Love baby so much!"  Alex cries out randomly.  Alex, though, is the more loving of the two brothers, at least when it comes to people outside our immediate family.  I don't think any child could demonstrate as much love for a mother as Andy does, but as far as being generous with love and loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, it's Alex's little heart that overflows with emotion.  He is not stingy with his hugs and kisses like Andy, who reserves them only for me and sometimes Daddy as if there's a finite quality and someone's keeping track.  Andy is adamant on not loving anyone besides the three of us (and the tummy baby only slightly), and while Alex will walk around at a party and give mouth kisses to all the adults, Andy bursts into tears if I senselessly tell him to give his uncle a hug.  "I only give high fives," he'll wail.  "I don't give hugs or kisses.  I don't love these people!  Let's go home. Did I miss quiet time?"

"Love everyone so much," Alex will intone in response.  "Love grandma so much.  Love uncle so much.  Love that lady over there so much."

This whole experience will be pretty interesting.  Andy's reaction to Alex being born was almost non-existent.  Acceptance mixed with two parts mild curiosity, a pinch of affection, and only a dash of disdain.  But that was twenty three month old Andy.  How will five year old Andy react to a new baby?  With the same love that gushes strong for Mommy, Daddy, and Alex?  Or will he be high-fiving the newborn like some great-aunt he sees three times a year?

And Alex, at three years old?  This should be good.  Alex, the baby, very aware of getting bumped out of position by a newer model. I truly think all of this could go either way.

We'll find out late May.  And that's, like, eons away, right?