As I briefly mentioned here, we got Ayden a fish tank for his birthday this year. Ayden ADORES his fish. They get a good morning immediately when we go downstairs and he will sit and watch them and wave at them multiple times during the day. He blows them kisses at night even. I'm fairly certain those fish loved him just as much...one of them let him touch it and the other swam to the side of the tank when Ayden approached. It was a weird and special relationship, I've never seen fish act like they did.
Through a series of crazy events, 2 of our 3 fish died Saturday. We waited until the kids were in bed to clean them from the tank, Ayden didn't seem to notice when he went to bed they were both laying on the bottom.
The next morning, Ayden came downstairs to a mostly empty fish tank. (The catfish was there, just laying on the bottom of the tank like always). I was hoping he wouldn't notice too much, but I quickly realized that was not the case. I saw him run to the tank and stop mid-wave. Then look around the tank, running to both sides. He then pointed at the tank, and looked at me, then pointed again. I think my heart broke a little with the look on his face. It was very clear he knew his fish were missing and was not happy about it. I quickly distracted him with food and then followed with the iPad hoping he would forget. However, the scenario repeated itself multiple times throughout the morning. Mr Awesome and I decided we needed to get some more fish that day. I think we were both surprised at just how sad Ayden seemed that his fish were missing.
We did get more fish (the non-aggressive type this time), and while Ayden was happy he was still looking around for his other fish. We explained that we sent Bully Fish to the hospital (I know we said some other things, but can't remember exactly), I'm not sure he understood really but he seemed to accept the new fish and by this morning has stopped looking for his other fish and waving like normal to the new fish.
While I'm not surprised Ayden noticed his fish missing, I was taken back at how sad he actually seemed as well as how he grasped that his other fish weren't coming back. It's extremely difficult to teach a child about death anyhow, but when he can't talk to me and ask questions I just wonder what exactly he is thinking when he obviously realizes his fish are gone. I think we handled it the best we could, and yet I still wonder what is inside his head. For now though, I am content that he is happy with his new fish.