YaYa, who went to play with her cousin after school, then called and started pleading with me to take her for a haircut. She's wanted a bob for over a year, but we refused to do it before the Commmunion. Now she called in her markers, and I agreed if a) I called her Mom and she gave the ok b) she got my sister to babysit and c) if she got home at a reasonable time.
With all three criteria met, we went for the haircut. The stylist had a great personality and YaYa kept up a steady stream of chatter, mainly about the communion. The cut turned out longer than she wanted, but YaYa was so ecstatic afterwards it was nuts. She was grinning, jumping, skipping, you name it. "Are you happy?" I asked. "What does it look like?" she said.
The whole way home all she could talk about was her hair and the two goldfish she'd bought with her First Communion money. Nicknamed Betsy "Bess" (the big one) and Anne (the small one), she was instantly fascinated with them. She even wrote a note to herself on her dresser, identifying each one by size and warning herself to "feed them only when I go to bed."
We were home maybe thirty seconds before YaYa screamed and chaos broke loose, with one kid after another flying down the stairs. "He killed him!" YaYa yelled, "Smiley got into my room and killed Betsy!"
"Smiley is that true?!" I said.
He gave me a panicked deer-in-the-headlights look and shook his head no. I went up to her room and found Betsy upside down in the bowl, surrounded by a heapin' helpin' of fish food.
"SMILEY!!!" I yelled.
We'll skip ahead a few minutes to keep this civil. YaYa was in tears, LuLu was putting her arms around her and trying to comfort her, Smiley was in his room crying, the baby had no clue what was going on and was wailing, and my sister hurried to put on her coat.
"See ya," she said and walked out the door. Lucky devil.
I scooped the fish out and told YaYa we'd have a funeral for her in our backyard, right there in the moonlight. We went outside and picked a spot and were all set to bury the fish when YaYa decided she wanted to write a farewell letter to her. So she went back to her room and I was left holding a dead fish.
The text, which was followed by a drawing of Betsy, read:
Dear Betsy. I loved you. I loved you more than Anne, even thow [sic] I had you for a day. [Smiley] got into my room and killed you. We love you and I love you. [YaYa} + the [Slapinions]
Change of plan: instead of the backyard I'd bury her in the planter on the front porch, then plant our normal summer flowers in it as a 'memorial' to Betsy. Imagine the scene: YaYa, bawling, falling to her knees on the porch in prayer. LuLu, trying to comfort her, asking me if we could "maybe, like, buy one of those round stones with her name on it" to put over the grave; Smiley, no longer crying but staying inside watching through the door; and an endless parade of items to be donated to the grave, from the letter to a cloth tulip to a tiny rabbit statue and a piece of a Mr. Clean Eraser.
"Enough already," I said. "It's a goldfish. Let's keep this in perspective." And with that, surrounded only by the letter and the paper tulip, Betsy was laid to rest.
It turns out Smiley was at fault. Earlier in the day, while I was at work, a visitor (Faith) happened to walk by the bowl and notice Betsy on the floor. Smiley had taken her out to pet her, and then left her on the floor. She survived, but apparently was greatly weakened by the ordeal.
What a day.