Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ask the Experts

We got home Saturday from our Thanksgiving trip away to find a broken furnace and a dead pet. Apparently betta fish enjoy warm water. Who knew?

I wasn't sure how my five-year-old was going to take the news. My only experience with this as a parent had been five years earlier when my daughter's fish mercifully died the morning we were leaving for a summer vacation trip, and she clapped her hands with glee (still not sure how to read that, but I'm hoping she just had some knowledge of a higher plane of existence to which Dorothy the goldfish was happily swishing her way --Ok, who am I kidding? She was just holding out for the guinea pig.)

My point is, I didn't know how my son would react to Sportsy's unexpected death by hypothermia.

So I made my husband do it. The look on my son's face was heartbreaking. You would have thought one of us had died. We replaced him the next day (the fish, not my son or husband), and all seemed well.

My question for the experts is: How do you deal with moments like this? Should I have just replaced Sportsy without telling him and spared him the heartbreak? Or was it good to get him used to the whole "when things die they never come back" idea? How young is too young?

Hamlet: Well, since my mother never let me have a pet because of my "allergies" and because "boys are supposed to sleep with their mommies, not their dogs," I can't speak from experience. But you should definitely tell him about the death thing. It's never too early. Save him the heartbreak later on when he'll realize life is a crock and we're all ending up as worm turds.

Gertrude: Now, Hammy, why do you always have to be so morbid? It isn't good for your acne. Now come here and give mommy a big hug.

Richard III: My mother once gave me a bunch backed toad. But I didn't like the way it was looking at me so I ate it.

Weird Sister: Jeez. And people think I'm sick. My cats never die by the way. Unless I need an eyeball or something.

Lear: The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart—see, they bark at me.

Weird Sister: Make way. Crazy King in the house. Man, that guy just doesn't get any better, does he?

Theseus: Little dogs are for little men. I have some very large and powerful hounds of Sparta. They are large and they are powerful. Like me. I am large and powerful.

Cleopatra: Look--an asp!

Theseus: Eep! Where?

Weird Sister: Ha, ha , ha. Nice one, Cleo.

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