Monday, September 28, 2009

The Fairy Finale

So, as I confessed in the post before last, I use fairies as a parenting crutch. And no sooner so we kill off the Sleep Fairy and her sister the Nap Fairy but the Potty Fairy was born.

There was just no avoiding her creation. Primo was entrenched in the Poop Strike of ’07, where he insisted he was too scared to poop for 6-7 days at a time, and the discomfort this caused him made it impossible to continue with our daily living. Upon the pediatrician’s advice, we blasted his system with MiraLax, the go-to laxative for ths kiddie crowd. But, the doc emphasized, we needed to address the emotional aspect of the problem as well, and make the potty a friendlier place. It seemed friendly enough to me, as cozy as a toilet could be, but, I figured, a little fairy dust couldn’t hurt. To grease the wheels, so to speak. I suppose it could have been Mommy and Daddy giving him an M and M in reward for doing the deed but why make something simple and uncomplicated when you can invent a fairy persona, one who you’ll later have to find an exit strategy for?

And that is how I found myself on a plane to Tennessee, dragging my son down the aisle from the bathroom as he shouted, “I AM NOT GOING ANYWHERE UNTIL THE POTTY FAIRY SHOWS UP!”

But the paci fairy is different, The Paci Fairy is a one-time and one-time only deal. So we started dropping hints about her when Sec turned two, and continued to reference her until my child knew the deal backwards and forwards:

“When I’m a big girl the Paci Fairy’s gonna come when I go to sleep and she’s gonna take allllll the pacis and give them to the little babies and she’s gonna give me a present!:

I kept postponing the fairy touch-down because I didn’t know how I would possibly make it through the night without the magic soothing device. Plus, I was sentimental about it. It kept my baby a baby.

But then a month or so ago, we came to grips with the fact that the paci no longer worked magic to get the kid to sleep. She’d get into her crib, throw the paci out a dozen times, have us come back to root around for it in the dark, and scream nonetheless for long periods of time after we gave it back to her. Sure, it put her to sleep when she finally exhausted herself screaming for a half hour but it wasn’t like the paci was eliminating the bedtime battle or anything. Around the same time, she began skipping her nap, no matter how much I pushed the paci on her.

We figured it was time for the Paci Fairy to strike.

So about a month ago, David and decided suddenly, to do it, that night. No further ado, Screw our courage to the sticking place.

The Paci Fairy left a note. A scroll, I should say, rolled tight and tied with a golden ribbon. Here is what it said:

“I am coming!!!!! Please bundle together ALL your pacis and leave them outside your door and tomorrow you will find a big surprise! You are a big girl!”

I was planning on something more eloquent and laudatory but I didn’t have much time. So to compensate, I wrote in along the margins, “You’re big! I love you! You can do it! Hooray! Hurrah!”

Seconda was very excited. We bundled the pacis in an attractive little bag I found left over from a party favor and put it by the door. With a minimal amount of crying the big girl went to sleep.

I considered for a long time what might be the right present to give a child in exchange for the greatest love of her life. I thought we should get her something warm and cuddly that would help her to go to sleep instead of the paci, like a blankie or something. But at the end of the day, I didn’t think she’d dig that. So I opted for what would put the biggest smile on her face, because I don’t mind a heavy dose of gratification and that’s when when Seconda woke up after her first paci-free night ever, she found Tasha, the yellow hippo of Backyardigans fame by her bed. She was tickled pink.

Of course, when we got in the car a few hours later, she immediately asked for a paci.

David and I exchanged panicked glances, and then David said, “What, honey? What did you say?”

She laughed her crazy little laugh and said, “I’m just JOKING you Daddy!”

We laughed loudly, too loudly, and made a big fuss over how funny a joke that was.

“Good one!” I said.

To which she replied, rather pathetically, “But I want my paci.”

Cue laughter.

We continue to do this raucous routine every time we take the car anywhere.

“I want a paci . . . just joking.” Hardy har har. “Good one, Sec!”

Of course the poor creature’s not really joking. She really does want the paci and I want to give it to her, want to so much, I would give it to her for sure, had I not invented a fairy with more self-control than I have. And that’s why a mom needs a fairy or two around. Oversight.