I thought, "Why not get them a fish?" We aren't allowed dogs or cats in our current home (and don't want one until we're not renting—it's hard enough at times finding places that are child-friendly, much less pet-friendly) but a fish should be okay. We could just get a little one in a little bowl, so it wouldn't be too much work, and they could find out what's its like to have a pet.
As soon as I voiced this idea to my husband, we were off to the pet store. The first store had a great sale on fish tanks, but hardly any fish. Sunshine bawled as we left the store without a fish, despite our assurances that we'd get one tomorrow. The next day, my husband spent some time researching online before we went to another store. This store had tanks full of fish, but as I read the care notes, my heart began to sink. Goldfish need 10+ gallons. Other fish needed 20+ gallons. None of the fish, in fact, seemed suited for the simple little "goldfish starter kit" that promised "Just add fish and water!"
I steered us toward the betta bowls again. One fish. One little decorative bowl. My husband didn't like that idea. It can't be used for anything else. What if, in a few years, the girls wanted more fish? And didn't betta fish just sit there? Couldn't we find a fish that would swim around? Or get them three little fish in a little tank?
No, said the fish expert. She gestured to all of the nice small tanks we'd been looking at and said they were betta bowls. If we wanted anything else—even guppies—we'd need a bigger tank. So we looked at the betta fish again and at their tanks. Lily jumped up and down. Sunshine agreed that she wanted a "Sushi fish" (the name given to our friends' betta fish). We picked out a tank, the prettiest betta fish in the bunch, an extra plant, and headed for the checkout.
On the way home, we talked about names for our new fish. Sunshine was adamant that the fish should be called Sushi (just like our friends') or Nemo (we just watched the movie). We suggested Captain Nemo or Moby Dick or Queequag, but Sunshine refused all those. Then we suggested Anchovy or Sardine or C-O-D (spell it out and say it fast—it sounds neat). Again, Sunshine vetoed those suggestions. My husband suggested The King, after Anna and the King of Siam, since betta fish come from Thailand. I suggested Siam-I-Am, a play on Siam and Green Eggs and Ham. Sunshine agreed. My husband laughed. The name stuck.
We spent the evening setting up Siam-I-Am's new fish tank, watching him swim around, and then finding a spot in the house for him (on the girls' dresser, where they can sit on their bed and watch him). They fed Siam-I-Am before they went to bed (though I think he was still a bit shell-shocked over all the changes) and when they woke up this morning (he ate three pellets). Lily has been climbing onto a box beside the dresser to watch him. So far, so good with having a pet.
|Siam-I-Am, our new betta fish|