Ryan Thomason

Geek Dad Report – First Family Pet

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So, we broke down and decided to honor the request of our three year old and get a family pet. He wanted a puppy, that was way out of the equation. Kitty Cat, watch Simba and The Lion King, son. Frog? He asked, only if you kiss it to see if it turns into something. We went with the simplest, easiest pet on the planet. Or so we thought.

I don’t think anything could have built up the excitement that was leading up to the day we wandered to the pet store to purchase our first family pet. A fish. You buy a glass bowl, some food, and toss in some water and a .25 cent gold fish and you’re a parental hero right? Wrong! See, we made the mistake of taking the advice of the “Fish Lady” at the store. On everything.

We went from thinking we could get a bowl and gold fish to getting TWO smaller and slightly more expensive at a dollar more apiece from your standard gold fish. Why two? Because apparently these little cash cows don’t like to BE ALONE. She’s the Fish Lady at the pet store, we took her for her word. The cheap little bowl was now just that, a cheap little bowl, we needed to upgrade to at least the medium glass bowl to accommodate the fish. Oh, and they need rocks too, see! So many colors to choose from! What three year old could resist saying, “I like those rocks Mom and Dad!” another couple of bucks to the total. Don’t want your fish to be “stressed” out when you integrate them to the new bowl and water (her words) put a couple of drops of this bottle of probably tap water and you’re fish will be stress fee. No therapy bills. Why don’t you get this bottle of “I still don’t know what it does but the Fish Lady said it’s best for the fish”. What ever happened to putting a goldfish into a bowl and not caring? This was becoming a nice bill, and all my wife and I could do was stare at each other dumbfounding looks on our faces as this insane woman kept piling on more things for us to put into these apparently angst ridden fish. We were played for fools as she pointed to plants to put in the fishbowl and my son ate it up picking one out. What do these fish need a big plant that now half hangs out of the bowl because it’s too big? Fish food, that’s cheap right? Oh no, you have to buy the one that packs the highest nutritional value, because we’re going to be sending these fish to college one day and heaven forbid if they look emaciated.

So, almost $30 later, we have two fish, a medium bowl, rocks, a plant, two bottles of fish anti-depressant, and fish food fit for a little aquatic king. We do all the steps the now godly fish lady told us, putting in their drops in the bowl of water before saying loving words to them as we poured them out of the bag (I may have made up that part). Yay, a pet that sits on the countertop, and our three year old can look at it for five minutes and then forget they even existed. At least he named the orange one Goapidy, and the yellow one Mopidy. He talked to them, and did general staring until bedtime of his new fishy friends.

The next morning Goapidy was dead.

I think we didn’t give them enough anti-depressants because Goapidy was floating belly up the first glance my wife took at the bowl in the morning. I think we ruled it a suicide, but I’m still a little suspect of Mopidy. Now came the big decision that I think every new parent deals with at some point, how to explain death.

Naturally, we avoided the issue.

“Where is Goapidy?” He asked when he finally looked in the bowl.



It was too easy. Goapidy hid so well from my son that we were able to pull the charade for two weeks. Then our savior in the form of his Uncle Kyle entered the stage. See, he took our son to a birthday party, and as a party gift at the end, everyone got a gold fish, Lincoln (my son) was of course ecstatic to have a new friend in his fish bowl. When his Uncle asked if I wanted him to “Get Rid of it.” before he brought my son home, I in one sentence spared the gold fish from a mafia like hit and welcomed it into the family. This is where the amazing part happened. We put the gold fish in to the bowl and the next morning, my son ran up to me screaming nonsense until I could get him to slow down and just his words better.

“Goapidy got HUGE!” Yes, he thought that Goapidy had been hiding out behind the plant for two weeks, eating food, and nearly tripling in size. The goldfish was now Goapidy reincarnate. I don’t know how, but he completely forgot that the gold fish was from the party the day before. So, like so many times my wife and I just looked at each other and did the look were we both agreed through silence to never correct him on this fact.

Goapidy just had a growth spurt, that’s all. Parents, no matter what remember this one thing. Kids wil believe anything you tell them.

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