Ishy ishy

Meet Mooch, Noodles and Earl. They are the newest members of our household. We finally refilled the aquarium that’s been sitting empty — no, sitting with manky water — in our living room for over four years. We noticed that Bear was pretty infatuated with the fish tank at my parents place, in the waiting room at the Doctor’s office and the lobby of my sister’s workplace. We knew it would be easy enough to have the same at home, since we had all the equipment after all. It was one of those things on the To-Do list that we never got around to and we finally had the motivation to do it.

Matt and Bear were in charge. He cleaned out the tank and the two of them paid a visit to the pet store. Rocks, fish, food, filters and water treatment, ta-da! We have a working aquarium. It is an excellent source of entertainment. Several times a day, I’m lead by the hand to see the ishys. Bear will stand and kiss the glass, calling out to her ishys, and beg to feed them. To avoid overdose, Bear and Matt are also in charge of feeding time, and so far it’s the first thing she leads him to do when Matt walks in the door from work.

About a week after the new additions joined our household, we were at my parents place for my dad’s famous homemade fish & chips. It’s not the first time she’s had fish, but it was the first time since she acquired fish as her own pets. As I cut hers up on her tray, it hit me. I’m handing her fish to eat. Ishy. I wonder how that connection works in her brain, if there even is a connection. I don’t hand her beef and say “here’s your cow.” And she doesn’t have a pet chicken, so… no connection to make there.

Does she get that she’s eating ishy – like the ones in her aquarium? Of course she doesn’t have the capacity to grasp the concept but is it confusing? Clearly she doesn’t make the connection between beef and the cow on Old MacDonald’s farm, or the chicken in her curry as the bird who says cluck cluck but maybe she grasps the concept that there are different kids of fish. Some you look at in a tank of water, some are in the form of little orange crackers and some are breaded and served hot. It’s interesting to me that young children aren’t horrified at the concept of eating their animal friends. I guess that proves they don’t really understand — yet.

***I wrote this back in December and didn’t get it posted. We’ve since lost two of the three fish. Earl’s the last one standing. Bear hasn’t reacted to the missing fish. Good thing we didn’t practice keeping things alive with fish before we had a baby because apparently we suck at raising fish, probably the easiest possible pet to keep alive. And don’t even look at Lucas, our poor little house plant who has been struggling for years. He sure is hardy, comes back from the brink every time!