Every morning the girls would rush to the fish tank to feed them and to look for Shrimpy. He (I am assuming it is a he, I don’t know how to tell the gender of a shrimp) liked to hide in the pink princess castle in the tank. Since he was transparent all you could really find were his creepy little eyes or his antenna-thingies; I am pretty sure that is the scientific name for them. At the pet store he was pretty cool, swimming around all over the place, but in our tank he was ridiculously boring and almost never moved into the open.
One morning my husband was looking at the tank with the girls and there, floating in the tank, was what appeared to be Shrimpy. It was his husk floating in the tank and Hubs showed it to the girls. T thought it was cool but Chloe started to scream and cry as typical and ran away to wallow in agony. He explained it was just Shrimpy’s old shell and that it meant he was growing which is a good thing. He then pointed out the actual Shrimpy cowering in a corner just like always which pacified the beast, I mean Chloe.
Later that day they told me about the incident and Hubs let me know Chloe was crying over the shrimp. These shrimp are literally $0.50 at the pet store so I declared when he actually does die I am going to buy a new one and no one will know the difference to save myself the drama. Hubs disagreed and made the point that we don’t need to lie to the girls, that we will tell them the truth like we did when Mr. D (my cat) died. Seeing as how they still cry over that cat and we let them eat breakfast with his ashes I am not sure that is the best approach but I agreed (see “Nothing a dead can’t fix” for the details on that one).
Last weekend it was time to clean the tank, the filter was nasty and there was a ton of stuff floating around the bottom of the tank. The girls were really excited to help me and caught the fish and snail and put them in the holding tank. T was worried about Shrimpy and I told her not to worry, he was most likely in the princess castle like he had been the last 2 weeks. He doesn’t move much so I wasn’t concerned.
When I picked the castle up no shrimp came scurrying out. He wasn’t in the rock or around the plant. Crap, where is he? I pulled the filter out; nope, not stuck to it or inside.
The girls started to cry.
“Don’t worry, I am sure he is in here. He is see-through, he probably is just among the fuzzy stuff on the rocks.”
He wasn’t. Super crap. That damn shrimp was nowhere to be found. Not an antenna, a husk, nothing. The girls REALLY started to cry.
“Momma!!! He’s dead! You killed Shrimpy!!!” yep, blame me. It’s always the mothers fault.
“Maybe Shrimpy is tricking us and wanted to go down the drain because he wanted to go to the ocean” Ah-ha! This will make them happy, they’ve watched Finding Nemo a hundred times and love when the fish escape!
“NOOOOOOOO!! HE’S A FRESHWATER SHRIMP!! THE OCEAN WILL KILL HIM!!!”
Damn-it! These kids are too smart.
I couldn’t pull anything else out of my rear. I admitted I thought he was dead.
Oh the wails! Tears, sobs, snot, and misery all erupted out of them like lava from a volcano. They were howling and hugging each other and declaring how much they were going to miss their favorite pet shrimp.
“T, didn’t you just tell me a few days ago that he was boring and you wanted to return him to the pet store?”
That was adding salt to the wound.
“BUT *sob* I LOVED *hiccup* HIM!” snot, tears, more snot (kids are gross).
I had to leave the room, I didn’t want them to see how much their pain was entertaining me. I went in the living room and heard them start to sing songs about how much they loved Shrimpy – “I am going to miss Shwimpy, he was the best pet evew!” this continued for quite a while.
They went over to the craft table, still singing, pulled out the crayons and paper and drew several pictures of shrimpy, some with hearts all over the paper. T came up to me with her picture, tears glistening in her eyes, Chloe beside her with tear stained cheeks.