I think it's pretty funny that a nice person commented after the carnival fish death heartbreak that whatever we do we should NOT go buy a big fish tank for Jackson and fill it full of new fish.
Because that's exactly what we did!
Because when the second carnival fish shed its mortal coil and was found sideways at the bottom of its plastic carnival fish carrier Jackson was undone by grief.
"That. Was. My. (buh-buh-buh) FAVORITE ONE!" he sobbed into my shoulder. He wouldn't let me flush Sarah (he'd named it Sarah) down the toilet, either. I had to let her (Sarah) lay all morning in the green fish net, handle balanced actoss the toilet seat, until we came back from his parent-teacher conference, during which I fielded a call from Jack, who had run home for something and was now requesting information on the flushability status of the dead fish in the green net with the handle balanced across the toilet seat.
Flushability status: negative.
When Jackson and I returned home, though, Jackson had no choice but to accept the situation. I had given him the day off of school in order to create adequate space and time for him to accept the situation. I thought it was really brave of him to take charge of Sarah's burial at sea. It was really hard for him, so I said a few words.
"Sarah was a beautiful fish and we'll miss her a lot," I said. Then, perhaps stupidly, I stumbled on. "Remember in Nemo how Gill told Nemo that all drains lead to the sea?" And I explained how the toilet is also a drain, and that after the poo and pee get separated out (through a miracle of fecal engineering not seen since Roman times!) Sarah's body would eventually go back to the ocean.
"And then will another fish eat her?" he asked, lip trembling.
"No," I said, "they'll just be sad for her and bury her in some sand." Nice winging it, mom! Nice leading your innocent son to believe that fish have respect for death and wouldn't dare prey on each other's lifeless, nutrient-rich flesh.
But because we're eternally optimistic, the next day Jackson came home from school and found this in his room:
Along with seven (7) new fish.
We no long include Jackson in the experience of fishy demise. After we "disappear" one we tell him that it was looking a little ill so we took it back to the pet store for them to put in a special tank until it gets better. Right now PetCo is "nursing"
five (5) six (6) fish back to "health."
We are LIARS.