Published Date: June 26th, 2009
Category: Weekly Thought


I witnessed some pretty impressive parenting today.


G and I were at the beach with my friend T and her 3 lovely girls. T and I were already on our second glass of secret-not-allowed-beach-wine when we heard that shout of glee that all parents dread hearing at the beach:


“Mom! I found a fish! And it is still alive!”


As T and I both inwardly groaned, our collective 4 children busied themselves with somehow lifting the sad fish off the shore (with a stick), plopping it into G’s yellow sand pail, and then surreptitiously filling the pail with small buckets of water.


T and I, of course, pretended to ignore what they were doing.


After much oohing and aahing by all children, one of them dragged the pail over to where we were sitting to show us. As we admired the what-appeared-to-be dying fish, one of them mumbled the words NO parent wants to hear:


“I want to take it home.”


Take it home? In the mini-van? Sloshing around in a sandy pail? So it can die at home AND somehow infect the house with some sort of strange Great Lakes dying fish disease?


Not on your life.


Is what I would have said. Which I think still KIND OF works with a 4-year-old. But I have a feeling does not work with 7-year-old twins and a 9-year-old.


The amount of negotiating and bartering that went on between T and her 3 girls was worthy of a UN summit. Much talk was made about:


a) providing a proper habitat for the fish

b) if the fish wanted to BE in the water, he would have STAYED in the water and not come up on shore

c) the Wilmette pet shop would LOVE to see this fish

d) it’s not like they would need to buy a new fish tank, as they already had one at home


And I have to say, T really was at least two steps ahead of her girls and always had some reason why the above reasons were not valid enough for them to bring it home. And although this in itself was very good parenting, what really impressed me is when T pulled out a new mom move that I had not witnessed yet. She said to them:


“Well, I know in the end you will do not what is right for you, but for the fish.”




With one sentence, she ended the negotiations AND threw some nice mommy guilt into the mix.


The girls glumly walked off (for some reason at this point, G had whispered to me that he thought the fish should go back into the lake. Probably because he was either bored of it by now or had no desire to actually touch the thing) and what-do-you-know, by the time we were ready to leave, they all gave the fish a nice send-off back to its home.


Right after they figured out how to safely transport the spider egg they had found in the bucket, that is…


This entry was posted on Friday, June 26th, 2009 at 3:25 pm and is filed under Weekly Thought. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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