You know what I’m talking about, right? Those things that you do or say in the spur of the moment… without thinking them through? Or, worse yet, the ideas you do think through before saying them… and despite all of that thought, you still don’t see the disaster coming your way.
The LEGO Fairy was one of my more recent failures. We were having daily arguments with my three-year-old, Ike, about picking up his LEGOs. It always ended in a giant tantrum… and often with daddy putting away the LEGOs for Ike.
One day, without thinking, I told Ike about the LEGO Fairy. I said that the LEGO Fairy has a very important job – she is in charge of making sure all of the LEGOs in the world are loved and taken care of by “their” kids.
I went on to explain that if you don’t take good care of your LEGOs and put them away when you are done with them, then the LEGO Fairy may take them and give them to a different kid who will appreciate and take care of them.
Yes, I realize now that I unthinkingly created a Department of Family and Child Service (DFACS) for toys. A social worker for LEGOs. Not only that, but I did so by perpetuating the worst stereotypes about what DFACS and social workers do in our society (for that, I apologize)!
It actually worked at first – for days, Ike didn’t even have to be asked to put away his LEGOs – he happily did it on his own. But as time passed, Ike became more and more concerned about the LEGO Fairy… always asking where she was, what she was doing.
He would ask, “What happens if I miss putting away a LEGO that got knocked under the sofa? Will the LEGO Fairy take them all away?”
He got so distressed that he just decided to put his LEGOs in a cabinet and stop playing with them altogether.
I started getting the LEGOs out for him and telling him that I would have to put them away since I was the one who got them out… but he didn’t trust me with his precious toys.
I would try to get him to play with them, but he would always reference the LEGO Fairy as a reason not to. Finally, I sent the LEGO Fairy on vacation. That worked for a week – but Ike knew she would have to come back from vacation… we always come back from our vacations, he reasoned. So, he continued to worry.
I tried to figure out a way to kill off the LEGO Fairy, but I was dealing with a 3-year-old, not writing for CSI. Her vacation just kept getting longer and longer… but Ike, well, he is just too smart for his own good. He just wasn’t buying it. He wanted to know where she was… scratch that… he wanted me to show him on the map where she was.
I continue to struggle with the results of this mommy oops. Oh, and in case you are wondering, the LEGO Fairy went to Denmark to visit her family at LEGOLAND. Due to some passport issues, it may be years before she is able to make it back to Georgia.