Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rocking mittens and a fishy miracle

First, the knitting: I am over the moon giddy in love with my new Herringbone Mittens. The pattern is from the delightful Elliphantom and these puppies are pure genius! I've never encountered this thumb construction before, but I have to tell you that these are the comfiest and most natural fitting mittens I've ever made. And I la-la-la-la-love them ;0)

I wasn't sure about the poms at first and wasn't going to make them until I came across the instruction to "respect the Pom" on the second page of the pattern. So I did! I used Kate Gilbert's pompom instructions (the pattern links to them) which were really straight forward and resulted in nice'n'easy fluffy pompoms.

Aren't they glorious? They're just so fun and retro and I know anyone who sees these will want me to knit them a pair so I'll have to be very careful about showing them to non-knitters. Who could resist? I sure couldn't ;0)

And now for the sad part of this post, Julian's beloved pet goldfish, Nanapopo died yesterday. She really fought it to the end though. After being dead dead on Sunday morning, she came back to life Saturday night and lived through until yesterday! No kidding!

Stephen was the first to notice that she was belly up and totally still in her aquarium on Saturday morning. It was really sad actually because we had just proclaimed that it was upside down day since we were going to give the kids a bath first thing in the morning and then would go for a drive to the city to have breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa and cousin Kristen who was in town visiting colleges.

Nana and Popo in their new digs on Julian's first birthday.
Popo died a few days later and Nana became Nanapopo ;0)

So when Julian saw Nanapopo in this state, he thought she was playing upside down day too. Heart-breaking, isn't it? Well Stephen and I didn't have they heart to explain what this meant to Julian so we went along with the upside-down day thing too, got ready and left for the day.

When we returned to Julian's room, at bedtime, Nanapopo was still floating belly up, but then I noticed that she was moving. We thought it must be the filter pushing her around, but it really looked like she was swimming upside down. We went to get a closer look and not only was she swimming, but her gills were moving as were her eyes and mouth! Freaky, eh?

We gave her some fresh water and food and she was feeding! Though still upside down. She lived through the night and all day Sunday though she couldn't seem to get herself right side up again. And then yesterday, she couldn't hold on anymore. And died. Again. We think.

Isn't that the most amazing thing you've ever heard? Now we need to figure out whether we should just replace her or tell Julian that she died? He's not quite 2 and a half. What do you think?

I'd love to get your advice ...


  1. Anonymous4:33 p.m.

    LOVE them! They *are* glorious. Gloriously fun. Sure to scare away the chilly blues of Winter!

  2. Anonymous4:43 p.m.

    Super cute mittens! I just finished up a pair of these myself. I totally agree that the pattern is awesome :)

  3. Can I tell a sad story ?
    Then you can decide.. When we were young my brother received a red fish for his 4th birthday. One morning, he went to feed it - and the fish is no longer there.. He cries and we are trying to find the fish. The bowl was actually on the countertop. My mom and I are looking everywhere.. then my mom saw it, squashed on the floor near her foot - my guess is that as we were looking for it she had walk on it without knowing.. We hide the fish, invented a story for my brother and bought a new one... along with a pierced cover to put on top of the bowl.. Sad but true, they jump...

  4. Love the mittens!

    That young I'd just replace the fish. I think that Amanda was 5 or 6 when we had our first fish flushing, she was quite upset that day but she was quite over it the next day.

  5. Anonymous8:12 p.m.

    I have a two-and-a-half-year-old, too. Right before she was born, my husband and I installed a small aquarium in her room, and from very early on she loved watching "her" fish. A terrible onslaught of ick (brought in by a new acquisition) wiped out the entire tank (which included a few fish we'd had for over six years) last fall; we cleaned and restarted the tank and filled it with eight bright guppies two months ago. Well, this evening we just lost the last of the guppies (not sure what happened there--the water tests fine, so we think it's a random bacteria thing).

    In both cases we told her what had happened: the fish got very very sick and died. Does she understand what death really means? I'm not sure. But she does understand that she fish are gone and that she's not going to see them again. She's sad about that, but not traumatized. (Within the last year, two friends' dogs also died, and we explained those deaths to her in similar terms.)

    Toddlers are different, of course, and your mileage may vary with this practice. But for us, telling her the truth--and gently introducing her to the idea of death--seems to have worked.

    Good luck with your own little one!

  6. Anonymous8:22 p.m.

    Same thing happened to my daughter's fish. We explained that his body wasn't strong enough to stay alive. We buried him in our flower bed and my grandmother told her that the fish would send his pretty colours into the flowers. We bought a daylily in his colours and darned if the thing didn't bloom right away.

  7. Candycane mittens! I love them! I love the squirrels from the previous post, too.

    i'm so sorry about Nanapopo. And what a freaky story! But I think Julian would be better off knowing the truth and being able to get another fishie.

  8. I gotta vote with the tell him crowd...I don't think we serve kids well by doing things like replacing their fish. I think he'll be sad, and I don't think he'll understand, but I think in the end he'll be better off knowing that you told him the truth.

  9. Love the mittens.

    That is very sad about the upside down thing! We have Waldo the Third at our house. We went through quite a few fish for a while. Our three year old at the time took it fine. Very pragmatic about the whole thing, actually.

    Just FYI - your fish probably had problems with its swim bladder. Goldfish, believe it or not, are high maintenance fish requiring around 10 gallons per fish. Bettas are excellent fish for kiddos. Very lively and much lower maintenance. Just a thought.

  10. Anonymous8:20 a.m.

    I love the mittens! My mom asked for a pair of mittens for XMas, I think I may make these for her!

    I'm sorry about your fishie. I'm not sure what I would do. I think that I'd give a vague explination. I don't think I'd say that he died, but I like the idea of saying "just wasn't strong enough to anymore" or something along those lines. I agree with the beta idea. They are much less maintance than a goldfish :)

  11. I think that you should tell him. He might not completely understand but death is a part of life. He'll probably be sad but kids are very resilient he will bounce back.
    I agree with getting a beta. I had a beta for 3 years. I think that is a long time to have a fish.

    Love the mittens by the way. My mom requested gloves and a scarf for christmas this year....I wonder what they would look like as gloves.

  12. I think I would tell Julian and then offer to get another fish. I also would go with a Beta fish. (Only one, they are called fighting fish for a reason!) As they are VERY hardy fish if not over fed. We've had our current guy in the bathroom for about 2 years.

    Love the mittens.

  13. I wish I didn't have to say I know exactly how you feel, but unfortunately the last of my son's birthday fish, Nemo, died a few months ago. When the first 2 died he was sad, but with the tank empty, he completely broke down crying. At 2 1/2 we told him that Nemo went to visit somewhere else. Not the truth, but I thought it was a step towards it. I blogged about it, and my husband's sad attempt to help a fish with fin rot.

  14. Anonymous11:53 a.m.

    Yay! I'm so happy that you like them. Yours turned out just perfect...I love the colors you picked!

  15. aawwww poor little Julian! I don't really have any advice, but I'm sure whatever you choose will be what you think is best for your little one.

    Love the mittens too - and I'm glad you added the pompoms :D

    good luck!!

    (oh btw - LOVE the new jujube & lolo site!!! EXCELLENT job!)

  16. I love the candycane mittens. That feels so festive!

    I am with the tell him crowd. Kids are resilient and he doesn't fully understand so he's even more able to bounce back.

  17. I just looked at your new site and it is fabulous! I am looking forward to your patterns this spring!!!

  18. My experience when my son was almost 4 years old:

    We had a beagle, Casey, that was hit by a car and died. I had no choice but to tell him what happened. He was very sad and cried, but was ok. Shortly thereafter (about 2 weeks) his Grandmother died. He was very happy that Casey was there to greet "Nana". I think telling him about the dog actually helped him understand and deal with the loss of Nana.

    Oh, and by the way, I loved the "Respect the Pom" statement also.

  19. 1. I just printed that mitten pattern- so cute, thanks for sharing the link!
    2. I totally don't know what the proper thing to do is re: kids and death. But I would probably tell him the fish died so he has some exposure to it, then if (hopefully not) someone were to pass away in the next year or so, or another pet, or something, he'll relate it to the fish and understand they're not coming back.

    Or you can just replace with a lookalike and not tell him anything.

  20. Anonymous3:39 p.m.

    I would explain it to him in simple terms, unfortunately Death is a part of Life and for a child losing a pet can be almost as traumatic as losing a loved one. If you cant tell, I'm married to a Funeral Director :-)Because of my husbands profession we elected not to hide death from the time our Child was young and it seems to have helped as he has handled the deaths (2yrs ago) of his grandpa, and 4 yrs ago of his beloved great grandpa (they were best of buddies) very well. He is 13 and did much better than his cousin of the same age who refused to believe that "Papa"(g grandpa) wasnt gonna come back.
    On to happier subjects, Love the mittens!!

  21. Anonymous5:39 p.m.

    My four boys are all in (or almost) in their teens now. Just lost a beloved bearded dragon (lizard) and the two lizard lovers cried and are still upset. Tell your little one about the death, in whatever terms your faith guides you. Let him learn to deal with loss and develop his strength to cope with it in the little ways. It will help him deal with the hard parts of life a little at a time. And be thankful that your son has a tender enough heart to grieve the loss of a fish (or lizard) rather than not care about it at all!

  22. Anonymous5:13 a.m.

    I would tell him the truth... fish died, very sad.
    I agree with the Fish Bladder assessment. Goldfish have trouble with their Fish Bladder when they are overfed - easy to do, especially with an enthusiastic toddler. It causes problems with their bouyancy and hence you get the upsidedown fish, or on it's side. Usually not feeding for a few days will allow the fish to recover. Many are flushed at this stage however as they do look dead. But all drains go the sea right?

  23. Anonymous10:14 p.m.

    I know it's kind of late for this, but if this happens again try feeding the fish a smooshed pea. Goldfish will get... I suppose "constipated" would be the best word, and they float stomach-up. The pea helps their intestines get back on track.