- Early December Lauren Scanlan, of Pennsylvania, got an unexpected call from her child's school.
- Her daughter Peyton, 3, had packed her betta fish in a sip cup.
- Scanlan says the story resonates with parents everywhere.
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Last week, Lauren Scanlan's phone rang. It was the director of her daughter's preschool, calling with some unexpected news.
"She said, 'Mrs Scanlan do you happen to know that Peyton brought her pet fish to school in her sippy cup?'" Scanlan told Insider. "All I could say was 'no. No, I was not aware.'"
Scanlan's mind immediately jumped to the next question: Did she have to go pick up the fish? No, the director assured her with a laugh. The fish was alive and well and could spend the rest of the day on the director's desk.
"Well, her name is Mermaid," Scanlan replied.
The fish who went to school
Scanlan's house — like most family homes — is chaotic during the morning. Scanlan makes sure that Peyton, 3, and her brother Johnny, 6, both do their chores and pack their school bags before leaving.
One of Peyton's chores is feeding Mermaid, the family's betta fish. On the morning in question, Scanlan noticed Peyton acting a bit suspicious.
"She told me 'don't come over here,'" Scanlan says.
That's when Scanlan saw spilled fish food on the floor. She assured Peyton that it was OK, and thought that the mess explained her daughter's behaviour. She told Peyton to finish packing her schoolbag — including her sippy cup — and then the two set out for school.
At snack time, Peyton's teacher noticed that her sippy cup was holding more than water. Not only was Mermaid in there, but Peyton had also sprinkled fish food on top.
"She was smart about this," Scanlan said.
Peyton explained that she just wanted to bring Mermaid to school because she loved her fish so much.
A feel-good story
The story of Peyton and Mermaid began to take off when Scanlan's cousin posted about it on Twitter. Scanlan thinks it has gone viral because it resonates with so many parents.
"They understand the morning shuffle and the scramble," she said.
The Scanlan's morning routine has a few new steps, including making sure all fish and hermit crabs are accounted for before Peyton leaves the house. She even has to display her cup when she gets to school.
"We're that family now," Scanlan said.
Mermaid survived the ordeal. She was even upgraded to a bigger tank, one with a more secure lid. As for Peyton, she's still on the nice list this Christmas.
"You can't get mad," Scanlan said. "It's going to be a great wedding story.