"Jack and Jessie"
Let me introduce you to Jack and Jessie, Billie's Fire belly toads she got for Christmas. She was so excited to have them. That was really all she wanted, or at least what she wanted the most. She comes in from school and the first thing she does is go to the aquarium and she always says "Hi, babies. Jack, Jessie? How are you? Did you have a good day? I love you! I missed you so much!" and in that ooey-gooey voice we use to talk to babies and puppies. It is the cutest thing in the world. I am going to let you in on a secret, but PLEASE don't tell Billie. It will crush her. Jack and Jessie bonded with each other right away. Billie caught them "snuggling" on more than one occasion. We were pretty surprised we hadn't had any tadpoles, actually. So Jack and Jessie were in love and Billie was in love with both of them, and it was a beautiful and wonderful thing. Then one night Matt was feeding them and he walked away just for a second to get a rag to wipe down the glass, leaving the lid open. I was standing right there, and I let Bob in and then closed the lid, never looking down. You know what is coming, right? The next morning at 5 am when Bob got up to eat, I found something in the floor right in front of the front door. I didn't have my glasses on, so I really didn't know what it was. I got some tissue, thinking to myself "Bob didn't even make it out the door!" and got down real real close to the dark blob on the floor. I got within inches of it before I realized what it was---JESSIE! I immediately picked her up and took her to the sink. Somehow I thought I could revive her with water. Thinking back now it is so funny, but at the time I was crying and shaking! I could just only think of how devastated my little Billie was going to be, I had to try to save her. But I quickly realized it was just too late for Jessie. I wrapped her in paper towels and laid her gently in the trash can. I could see later in the afternoon having a funeral for a frog. I tried to turn to studying, but could not keep focused so after about an hour I woke Matt up. He immediately knew something was wrong. He was as shocked and felt just as bad as I did. We decided not to tell Billie before school but to wait until that evening. After he went to work and talked to his friends there, we both decided we would just try to find a good Jessie 2 and sneak her into the aquarium. We both felt responsible; he shouldn't have left it open, and I should have checked the ground knowing it had been left open. We just didn't see why we should put her through the heartache, especially since she has lost so much in her short life. She really loves these frogs, and it would really be terrible on her. Matt went to the pet store after work and got the closest thing to Jessie he could find. Later that night when it was time to feed them, Billie got very upset and ran to get Matt. She said "Matt, I don't know if I just can't tell them apart anymore or what is going on but something is wrong. Jack is hiding in Jessie's spot and Jessie is out here in Jack's spot, and Jack won't eat! He is going to die if he doesn't eat!" She started crying. Jack would not eat for about 3 more days. It was terrifying for Matt and I. Here we were trying to spare her pain, and now for Jack to be in shock and not eating, it was awful. We really think Jack was in shock, after talking to the pet store. We think he was love sick for his Jessie. Looking back to the night she had jumped out, he was acting weird then and wouldn't eat. We couldn't find Jessie, but just thought she was hiding under the log. We figured Jack would eat later, and just didn't think that much about it. Poor thing, he was probably wondering what we had done with Jessie! He has since gotten better, although he is not his normal self and probably never will be. He and the new Jessie have finally decided to get along with each other, but you can tell they are not in love the way Jack and the first Jessie were. I know this all seems so silly, but if you could have witnessed it you would understand. We told Billie we thought he was in shock because we had moved the aquarium to her room from the living room. She bought that. I know I have just admitted to lying to my child. And I almost always think that honesty is the best policy, but I am OK with this decision. I still think we spared her the pain of the loss, and there just was no harm done. I hope when she is older and finds out the truth, she will understand and not hold it against us. I do feel guilty for not being honest with her, but I am still glad to have spared her this pain - she has just gone through so much and it isn't fair. This was my way of making up for some of that unfairness.
2 weeks ago