The thing is, was I planning on buying Belle a fish? Uh ... no. Two big, friendly (and much loved) dogs more than fulfill the pet thing.
Was it a serious financial/lifestyle hardship for me to go buy fish miscellany for a creature that's probably only going to live a matter of days? No.
But my very wise Facebook friends got me thinking about the concept of giving out fish as external rewards to kids, and I realized that it's really kind of a crappy idea.
For one, imagine that a kid was thrilled to win a fish only to be devastated when his or her parents say no. Although a freaking minnow is about as low-maintenance a pet as probably exists, I'm sure that it would be an inconvenience to some people.
Also, think about the poor fish. Now, I ran straight to the pet store as fast as I could, but the little minnow was chillaxing in a plastic bag for at least forty minutes. And, not to sound cynical, but what if a little kid less mesmerized with love than my Belle decided it would be fun to torture a fish or something.
Cans of worms, I'm telling you ...
And, perhaps most importantly, the death talk is inevitable when you're dealing with a minnow. I actually had an abbreviated version of said talk with Belle on the playground of her camp, reminding her that the fish might well not even live a day.
Her response, which totally melted my heart?
"Well, we'd better make sure it's the best day of her life, then, right, Mommy?"
So here is the newest member of our family, Elizabeth the fish.