Bob died last Thursday.
In case you’re wondering, Bob was C2’s pet goldfish.
Santa gifted the kids a pair of goldfish three Christmases ago. C1 got Twinkle; C2 got Bob (the kids named their fish). I high-fived Santa for his super smart thinking. Pets instead of toys for Christmas? Santa was a genius! But I changed my mind a month later. Yes, I was left to feed the frickin’ fish – and clean the filthy tank.
Getting back to Bob. There was just one word for him: BULLY. Notice the all caps. He ate all of Twinkle’s food and chased her around the tank. After about a year, she gave up and died.
When we moved house, we tried offloading Bob onto a neighbour who had a tankful of goldfish. She returned him after a couple of days; Bob was head butting her fish.
We decided against getting Bob new companions – solitary confinement for him. Bob thrived being the king of his underwater castle.
But for the last couple of weeks, Bob was not his usual blustery self. We tried changing his fish flakes. We tried changing his water. We tried talking to him. He deteriorated.
On Thursday afternoon, we found his limp body at the bottom of the tank.
C1 got on the phone to grandma and broke down sobbing, “Bob-b-b-b’s dead.” I was upset that she was so upset. It took me a long time to calm her down. Mind you, Bob was not even her fish.
C2 went along on his merry way, unperturbed. He watched me consoling his sister and decided that he wanted some of the mummy cuddles, too.
His voice mirrored his grave face when he said to me, “I’m feeling really sad about Bob’s death.”
A split second later…
“You want to know what will cheer me up about Bob? Playing on the iPad.”
In that instant, I saw the difference between my two kids.
As different as chalk and cheese.
As different as night and day.
As different as… well, C1 and C2.
Nice try, C2. Now try that with somebody other than your mother.
Are your children very different from each other? Were you polar opposites to your own siblings? Did you have a childhood pet?