Fish Tales

Sometimes life throws you an unexpected chain of events. Like 2 goldfish from the street fair morph in to 2 adult mollies with 5 babies living on your kitchen counter. Yes, this story escalated quickly. 
A little town by us has an annual street fair every fall. It’s a big deal. Emma’s dance school performs there. We hadn’t made it to the fair during the week so after the performance my mom and I lugged the kids around to see the sights. 

After pony rides, they scampered off to the fish game. We’ve never actually played the fish game in fear of being the unfortunate souls who won a fish. Today was their day. Between the the 3 of them they split 2 baskets of balls. 

The first ball Emma threw landed right in a jar. If you’re unfamiliar with this game, when you successfully chuck a ping pong ball that lands in a fish bowl, you win a small gold fish. Life expectancy 3 hours-200 years. Before it was all over with we scored 2 gold fish. 

Rudolph and Diamond on their way home.

We had no fish accommodations. This meant a quick pit stop at Dollar General for some temporary housing. Thankfully our fish appreciated budget housing. 

Apartment life

Realizing these were not ideal living arangments for our fish we headed out to the pet store the following morning. With some minimal help from the aquarium guy we returned home with some snazzy new living quarters, as well as a 3rd fish because 3 kids and 2 fish just doesn’t work. 

New tank complete with LED lights and fish #3 Nemo.

It’s all sunshine and roses for a week. Then we walked down stairs to tragedy the next Saturday morning. Rudolph and Nemo went belly up over night. After a few touching words we sent them off with a proper goldfish burial. 

Being married to the guy I am, he thought he would be super nice and bring home 2 new fish when he was in town later that day. Sweet right? This is where it starts to go down hill.

Tom picked 2 fish the aquarium helper said were compatible with goldfish. He brings them home. Kids excited and squealing, I head to google. Everything I read says mollies and goldfish are in fact not BFF’s. Mollies need warm water. Some varieties require salt water. I have read goldfish don’t appreciate these things.

I reluctantly head to a different pet store to buy another tank. At this point in time those $6 spent on 2 baskets of balls is getting pricey. Half way one of the girls who milks for us calls. She had a spare tank, heater and supplies we needed. Thank you baby Jesus.

We return and grab the new fish quarters. Head home. Walk thru the door to another goldfish who has passed on to the great fish tank in the sky. The realization that we had failed not 1, 2 but all 3 goldfish hit the kids kind of hard. 

After a few moments of silence we began to set up the new tank. If you have never sat up an aquarium with 3 kids, let me tell you this is as great of lesson in patience as you will ever find. After 45 minutes, who knows how much spilled water and tears shed by all parties the tank was compatible to Mollie fish life. 

Speckles and Toliet Face in their new home. Dont ask .

We made it thru the weekend. Monday was a breeze with the fish. Then comes Tuesday morning….
I’m standing at the kitchen table barking orders to children so we make it to the bus and barn on time. All of a sudden Emma yells “there’s a baby fish!!!” Whoa. I’m like no way. There’s no way we have a baby. 

I stop and turn on the tank light. Lo and behold there’s a baby fish. Then another. And another. And another… Did you know mollies can, in fact, birth 100’s of babies at a time? Neither did I!

Aren’t they cute…

Ironically I was already planning on going to town to go grocery shopping Tuesday morning. So I stopped at the pet store. The kind women working assured me mollies eat their babies as fast as they have them. No worries, nature would take its course and we’d have cute babies for a few hours then poof, free fish food. 

I’m not entirely cold hearted. I picked up some fake grass and leaves they could hide in. Give the little guys a chance. All in all we counted 7 babies. I’m not sure how many were cannibalized prior to counting. 

Here’s more great news, it’s several days later and we still have several baby fish. Many lessons were learned from this. 

  1. Don’t break out of your box. Don’t play the fish game now? Don’t start.
  2. People at pet stores are shady. 
  3. Toilet Face is sadly an exceptional Mollie mother. 
  4. My children learned that some mothers do in fact eat their young.

I Know I’m Tired

If I had a dollar for every time someone commented that I looked tired, it would make this whole low milk price thing a lot easier. I, like every other mom, am aware of my sleep lacking state. It’s not something easy to ignore. 

I’ve heard it any where from family functions to church to the grocery store to the park. Sleep is a rare commodity at this house. You cherish every minute you get. 

In my opinion, it’s not the nicest nor politest thing to say. The following is a short list of things you could say instead. 

  • Would you like me to get you a coffee? 

I know many mothers who appreciate a good ol’ cup of joe. Not only is coffee cheap, it’s everywhere! For a mere $1.25 you may just make a woman’s day. 

  • Can I watch your kids for a while?

Now obviously use some common sense with this one. If you don’t know the mom, this is creepy. Save this for moms in your circle of acquaintances. Just giving her some quiet time to nap or few moments to regain her sanity again would be amazing. 

This. We all need a break from the crazy.

  • Offer to help with a small task. 

See a mom wrangling kids and trying to groceries in her car? Offer to lend a hand. Randomly take a small meal. She has to feed those wild troops every day. Even a pizza can go a long way. The point is when you’re dragging your booty 3 feet behind you, no small of kindness act goes unnoticed.

Take out, gift card, homemade? Food is always a hit.

  • Re-Assure her that her kids are doing great. 

See a rag tag bunch driving a cart around the grocery store? Mom pushing a stroller aimlessly around the park? Kids tumbling all over each other at the bus stop? The point is every mom approaching the point of breaking would like to know that her efforts aren’t futile. That despite the fact little Johnny decides to show everyone in a 3 mile radius he can lick his arm pit, it will all turn for the better. 

They look cute, that armpit reference didnt come from thin air.

  • Tell her she looks great. 

If she looks like a million bucks or a hot mess, it doesn’t matter. All moms, anyone for that matter, can use a confidence boost from time to time. I would much rather here I look great, even just presentable, then hearing I have bags under my eyes and jelly on my leggings. 

I rock dark, baggy eyes.

The fact is motherhood is simply a state with varying degrees of tiredness. We know we’re tired. A small act of kindness goes a very long way when you try to successfully wrangle tiny humans.