A month or so ago, we got a coupon booklet in the mail from a local shopping plaza. They have a fish and aquarium store and had a coupon for a free Beta fish. I had been thinking about it for a while as something my son might like. He has really liked seeing fish in the past and Tuesday morning he was in a classroom that had a fish and got really excited about it. We ran some errands Tuesday and unfortunately he fell asleep in the car during lunchtime, before he had eaten lunch. Recipe for a grumpy kid. After we got home, and I tried to get him to go asleep again, it was about 45 minutes of grumpiness, tantrums, hitting and wrestling and did I say tantrums? He was hungry and sleepy and I don't think he knew which was more important to him. When he was past reaching the end of the rope and I was on my way, I asked him if he wanted to have a picnic outside. This slowed down his tears (not a full stop) and he became curious as to what this might mean. I grabbed the lunch I had been trying to get him to eat and took it to the back porch. We went to the porch and he slowly calmed down a little, because this was a new experience for him. I also remembered hearing someone say a great recipe for tantrums (kids and adults) is to blow bubbles. I blew some bubbles and he tried to blow bubbles and it slowed both of our respiratory rates down and got oxygen flowing. He then ate a TON of his food calmly. Crisis averted.
I now had a kid though that had only had a 30 minute nap when the previous day he had had a 3 hour nap. He was sleep deprived. As he was about to go into more tantrums, I told him we would go get a "fishy". He was curious. What did this mean? He threw a little tantrum, but was trying to figure out why I was putting him in the car, so he didn't give it his all. We went to the aquarium store (which also had a fountain he was mesmerized by) and went up and down the aisles looking at all the fish. He was almost as happy as when we had gone to the Baltimore aquarium. Mental note- in the future when there are winter days and we have to get out of the house, a trip to the fish store is not a bad idea...
We went over to the beta fish and I picked out a beautiful, bold blue fish and asked him if he would like it. He said blue fish. I decided to truly give him a decision I needed to give him two different options. I saw a very active orange fish (looked more like a goldfish than a beta fish to me, and my husband agreed). He said "orange fish". I asked him did he want the orange fish or blue fish, assuming he, like me would be more attracted to the bright bold blue. Nope. He was insistent on the orange fish.
When we got home he was fascinated by his fishy and repeatedly tried to "pet" it. I had suggested that we might name his new pet "Pete" after a character in his favorite book series. If you haven't read them it's a pretty cute series by Eric Litwin, "Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes". My son then began calling his fish, "Pete the Cat". My mom asked how Duchess the (real) Cat likes Pete the Cat. So far, so good, but when they can't be supervised, Pete the Cat comes up to mommy and daddy's bedroom (out of the cat and dog zone).