Thursday, May 15, 2008

Big Fat Liar

The neighborhood I live in really, really dense with kids. There’s a chicken in every pot and at least one child in every house.

Not long ago, I was outside and one of the kids—a little girl who just turned three, whom I adore—made good on her promises to come over for “a little visit.” We went inside under the idea that we’d see what kind of toys we have at my house. Once in the dining room, though, she noticed right away that the fish we had (whose name was Blue or Gold or Puce or some color that inexplicably was not on its body) was missing. We didn’t have the fish for long, and I sort of forgot that she even knew we had it.

“Where’s the fish?” she asked.

“Uh, we don’t have it anymore,” I said. “Hey, do you like puzzles?”

“Where’s the fish go?”

I took a breath. “Well, you know, sweetie, fish don’t live very long. Ooh, I think you’ll like this puzzle.”

She looked at the puzzle and asked for a tissue, which I got for her. “I know what happened,” she said. “You took the fish back to the store so it could live with someone else!”

I paused. “Yes,” I said slowly. “That’s what happened.”


Tiffany said...

See, that's the kind of thinking that makes for a carefree life. I need me a 3 year old.

Hairline Fracture said...

Once your kid gets older, I bet you do forget that you have to whitewash the harsh realities of life for the littler ones.

Last year my husband let my daughter watch an episode of Meerkat Manor in which the mama meerkat attacked a snake in order to save her babies. Though her death wasn't shown, Miss Pink is no dummy. She cried for two hours. I said to him, "You couldn't have changed the channel?" She shouldn't have to grieve (over a meerkat on TV, no less) at this age!

Jody said...

I think you should have told her the truth. That your 3yo son put his hand in the fishbowl and caught the fish. He then carried the fish around the house and, upon realizing that the fish, for some reason, died, hid it somewhere. But then he forgot where he hid it, so you spent weeks, months, worrying about moving a piece of furniture and finding little fish bones behind it.

Oh, wait, sorry. That's my life.

jamie said...

Oh God, this takes me back.

Deadfishgate happened in our family when my daughter was three. I was too busy at the time to cover the topic of mortality, so I opted to surreptitiously replace the deceased with a similar-but-not-quite-identical fish.

Naturally my daughter noticed, and the lie snowballed into a complicated "fish often change their markings as they get older" sort of prevarication.

Good times.