When Ruby was two and addicted to pacifiers, or “Binkies” as she called them, we informed her that the Binky Fairy was going to be coming to take all of them away one night, but that the Binky Fairy would be leaving her an exciting present. “Now Tenor Dad,” I can hear you saying, “are you not the boss of your child? Can you not just take away the things you do not want them to have?” Ah. I see that you have never lived with a two-year-old. Yes, I could just take things away from my children and allow them to experience, at a young age, the cold hard realities of life. Or, I could provide happiness, security, and magic. And what you really want, of course, with a little luck, is to provide a little of both worlds along the way.
On that day, however, we chose magic and joy, so we had Ruby gather up all of her binkies and place them where the Binky Fairy would find them, and when she woke up the next morning, all of her pacifiers were gone forever and in their place sat Rocket. Rocket is the ship that the Little Einsteins (her favorite show at the time) fly around in, and he came with all four Little Einsteins figures, and he sang songs, and you could put each figure into the ship and it would recognize them, and they would talk and it was loud and it had flashing lights anditwasawesomeandamazingandshelovedit.
Rocket is still one of the favorite toys in our house, and Ruby fondly recalls the day the Binky Fairy came, so we decided to try it again. Edward has never used a pacifier ever. Even when he was in a fancy restaurant, movie theater, library, golf tournament, or operating room, we would try desperately to make him be quiet by shoving binky after binky into his face to keep him quiet, but it was no use. He didn’t want a binky. He wanted a bubba. Bubbas are baby bottles filled with warm milk, and no matter how many times we explain to him that only little babies drink out of bubbas and big boys drink out of big boy cups, he refuses to believe us. This kid was on a 3-6 bubba a day habit and we knew that it was bad for his teeth and future social development (unless he was going to a rave), and none of our tricks, tries, or treats were working on him. It was time to rip off the band-aid.
Enter the Bubba Fairy. The Bubba Fairy comes in the night to bring super awesome presents to people who place all of their bubbas in a circle on their bedroom floors. Yes, the baby bottles are taken away forever (to other babies who need them), but you get a super awesome present. Doesn’t that sound nice Edward? “No.” *sigh*
It took a few days of planting the seed, but eventually Edward was intrigued enough by the Bubba Fairy to agree to a trial run. On Friday night we put him to bed with no bubba. He lasted almost an hour before coming down and requesting one. Oh well. But the next morning, when he would normally have had another bubba (white, no sugar or coffee), he instead passed on it, and we cleaned all of the random dirty bubbas that he hides all over the house, in preparation for presenting them to the Bubba Fairy that evening.
The excitement level was very high in our house as we arranged the bubbas on the car mat that sat on his bedroom floor. Ruby was especially excited, although it was unclear whether she thought she was going to get another present or something. She didn’t, but she was still happy for her brother. Edward went to sleep without a bubba for the first time in forever, and when he woke up he saw the most super awesome present that he could have ever imagined.
Okay, that’s not true. I suppose in his mind he might have imagined a similar present, but with loud noises coming out of it. That’s beside the point though, because he loved his new whatever the heck that thing was. It was big. It had wheels. You could ride on it. That was all he needed to know. He spent the rest of the day riding around on his new Plasma Car. Yes, the Bubba Fairy had left him a kid-powered plastic vehicle that drove around whenever you moved the steering wheel back and forth a bit. He even insisted on taking it to church and he rode it around the church basement while I got music ready for the service. In fact, except for sleeping and going to school he hasn’t really gotten off of it much.
He did ask for a bubba the next night. And the next. But he seemed satisfied (somewhat) with the reminder that the Bubba Fairy had taken them all away. And he did ask if he could trade back the car for the bubbas once, but when I asked him if he didn’t want his car any more, he looked at it for a moment and quickly took back his request. Yesterday when we went to the store, he told me we had to go find new bubbas to buy, since the Bubba Fairy has taken all of his, but I did not give in to his clever trickery. And last night he didn’t even ask. We had zero nights of screaming and crying and begging and whining, and all of the bubbas are gone. So yes, I could have just taken them all away and then been miserable along with the rest of the house for a week or two. But the Bubba Fairy and I agree that this way is better for everyone.