Adam and Eve ate the fruit. Consequence: Leaving the Garden of Eden and forcing all of mankind to be born into sin.
Jonah disobeyed God when he was told to go to Ninevah. Consequence: Being swallowed by a giant fish.
Ethnee and Hailee decided their fish should enjoy life OUT of the fishbowl. Consequence: well, let me tell you the whole story.
Upon arriving home from 4 glorious days of youth camp with our teens from church, we were greeted by 3 precious, smiling little girls full of hugs and kisses for their mommy and daddy whom they had missed so much! Only a couple hours into our joyous return, however, reality came dancing it’s way back into our lives. As I was on the phone with our youth pastor (who wasn’t able to attend camp because his wife is about to POP with baby #3) Hailee annoyingly interrupted and asked if she and her sisters could “go fishing” in her fish tank. After multiple “NO’s!” and an unnecessary explanation about why we can’t “play” with our fish, she went sulking upstairs to find something better to do (or so I thought).
Later that evening I was putting Rhylee in the bathtub and encouraging Hailee to join her. Hailee was quite persistent that she didn’t want to get in the bathtub…yet. I couldn’t understand her need for me to leave the bathroom before she would get in, and then I remembered a very short conversation we had had a bit earlier about why the fish couldn’t get in the bathtub either. I looked at her and said, “Hailee, you MAY NOT put your fish in the bathtub with you.” The look on her face went from shock (how did my mother figure that out?!?!) to incredible disappointment. I was in the middle of explaining how fish will die if they are put in the bath (it might have been slightly dramatic including something about frying their brains with the hot water, etc.) when she blurted out, “BUT THEY DIDN’T DIE WHEN WE PUT THEM IN THE SINK!” I’m not sure what expression I was making but she knew right away that she had said the wrong thing. Her concern was confirmed when Ethnee walked in the room and said, “HAILEE!!! You weren’t supposed to tell Mom about that!” Wow. Blatant disobedience AND lying. I was pretty upset, so I told them that there would be a consequence but that I would have to think about what it was. In the mean time they had all better get in the bathtub. I went into Hailee’s room, cleaned up her wet dresser and put two remaining fish (who were swimming in their vacation home, AKA a random plastic toy) back in the fish tank.
I then went downstairs and told Russ about our little mischief-makers. We were in the process of coming up with what we thought might be an appropriate punishment when I decided to go upstairs and wash their hair. We were going to have Family Movie Night (something that is greatly anticipated in this house) and I needed to make sure everyone was squeaky clean before it got too late. I rounded the corner into our bathroom and turned to grab the soap off of the counter when, low and behold, what did I find? A FISH! Swimming in our sink! WHAT!?!? If there had a been a scrolling screen on my forehead displaying what was going through my brain, it would have read something like this:
Those little boogers! Inhale! Walk away. No wait! Is that really a fish in my sink? Exhale. Inhale! Don’t spank them while you’re mad! Exhale! Don’t speak…it freaks them out more when they think their disobedience has made you speechless. Inhale! Get Russ…that will REALLY freak them out! Exhale.
As soon as I called Russ upstairs, the tears began. If Daddy was getting involved, they knew they were in BIG trouble! I still did all the talking, gave the sentencing and got them out of the bath. Russ barely said a word, but just having him there solidified the punishment. If Daddy heard it, Mommy couldn’t take it back! My favorite part was that Rhylee didn’t understand what was going on, but she was doing her best to muster up a good cry to join her sisters. Once I told her that she wasn’t in trouble, the waterworks stopped and she said, “Oh. Oh-Tay.” Ethnee and Hailee were a different story! The wailing that ensued as they walked the long hallway back to their rooms reminded me of a movie in which a prisoner is being walked to his execution. The inmate is asked what he wants for his last meal, all the other inmates are saying goodbye. It was a similar scenario in our house.
We explained that there would be three consequences for 3 crimes: disobeying (x 2) and lying. Sentencing included: spankings from daddy, going to bed instead of enjoying Family Movie Night, and no TV or movies the next day. The wailing got louder as the list grew. I then explained that if the fish ever left their tank again, they would be flushed down the toilet and the fish tank would be put away. Hailee was nearly inconsolable at this point. “But MOM! I don’t want my fish to go into the ocean! Then they will go in the fishing net and DIE!” Thanks, Nemo! You’re making it easier for our children to believe that there is life after the sewer. Awesome!
As for their last meal, they were allowed a snack before their early bedtime. Ethnee’s came after she laid in bed and cried her eyes out explaining to me that she would ” just die in the middle of the night” if she didn’t have something to eat. “I’M GOING TO DIE!!!” Wow…no drama here. Although, I wanted to tell her that we would have to wait and see what happened by morning, I am a slightly more compassionate mother and threw her a granola bar so she didn’t “starve!”
So there you have it.
Ethnee and Hailee decided their fish should enjoy life OUT of the fishbowl. Consequence: the end of the world and two children nearly dying of starvation!
Note: at 11:35 pm tonight, Goldie, Dora and Spotty the fish were flushed to rest. RIP fishies…you were a lesson worth learning.