Crisis Averted

I grew up in a family that celebrates St. Nicholas Day.  Very few things are as exciting as waking up to find a shoe filled with candy, usually chocolate candy.  (Ok, anything filled with chocolate candy is exciting.  Maybe.  I’m sure we can sit around thinking of places we don’t wish to find chocolate candy.  Like a working toilet.  But I digress.)  When I became a parent, I followed the tradition, adding my own of shopping for Toys for Tots on St. Nick’s Day to encourage giving and empathy.

This year I forgot to buy the candy, but never fear.  My mom bought Hershey Kisses for the Christmas tree ornaments my great aunts made us as kids where Santa fills them with candy when he comes.  (Yeah, thank you to my unmarried, nearly nuns great aunts.  It’s like that damned elf.)  She gave me the rest of the bag.  And she even told me her plan before I went shopping, so really I didn’t forget to buy the candy.  I just forgot I didn’t have to.

But you know what I did forget.  To have the boys put out their shoes.

Until the next morning.

When Tornado E said.

“MOM!  St. Nick didn’t come!”

He held out his shoe to show me.


“OH NO!  I mean.  (Sigh)  I mean.  Did you leave it outside your door?”


“Well, maybe he couldn’t find your shoe.  Maybe he’ll come tomorrow night.”

God, I sound so lame.

Great.  I destroyed my children’s belief in magic before the age of 10.  I really wanted them to believe in magic.  Somewhere a fairy is dying.

“Well, get to your teeth brushed.  (Check the clock.) NOW!  We’re running LATE (again!)!”

I ran upstairs before them to check their rooms for-  Wait!  Their Crocs.  (I know.  Not my idea.  Not my money.  But at least, they’re easy to get on.)  Their Crocs are in their rooms.  Under their bed.  And they – they are in the bathroom.   Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!  I can save St. Nick’s Day.

I ran out of their room and down the stairs, passing them half way down.


I ran into the garage and grabbed the candy out of the diaper bag.  (Is it any wonder I forgot?)  I wrapped the candy in a Mama Shirt and ran upstairs, where I found the boys barely entering the bathroom.

“Are you kidding me?  GET IN THERE AND BRUSH YOUR TEETH!”

I turned and walked into their room, tossing the Mama Shirt onto Tornado A’s bed as I passed the nursery.  No time to carefully measure out the same amount-

I heard footsteps.



Really, I’m embarrassed by all the yelling.  God, I sound like my mother.



Tornado S stomped back to the bathroom.  My poor kids have no chance on NOT being loud.

I finished filling  a Croc each and moved into the nursery like a ninja.


No shoes.  Tornado A was wearing his shoes.  His Crocs.  Well, that’s another sad story.  I made a pile of Kisses on the floor at the corner of his bed.  That will have to do.  I snuck into my room.  Like a ninja.  And hid the rest of the bag among the Christmas presents.

Done and done.  (Enter the typical Fae hand gesture that is done with that phrase.)

I checked the mirror.


Tornado E ran into my room with his Croc in his hand.

“LOOK!  LOOK!  He did come!  He did!  And look at all the candy!”

He ran out the room, calling “TORNADO S!  Look in your Croc!”

St. Nick’s Day is saved.  And magic lives.  And I had nothing to do with it.

“No eating the candy!  Get your shoes on!  Jesus, look at the time!”

Could it be the Binkie Fairy?

Last week something miraculous, magical, momentous happened at our household last week.  With all the hurrah with Sean’s birthday, I just forgot to write about it.  Or maybe I was just holding my breath because it didn’t seem real.

Last week Evan told us the Binkie Fairy was coming in three days to take his binkies to another baby boy who needed them.

We stared at him like he had grown a third head.  Then we jumped and said yes, you’re right.  The Binkie Fairy is coming!

Now let me admit my big mommy secret, my mommy mistake.  Evan turns four in July and up to last week he was still using his pacifier.  We had thought about taking it away time and again throughout his young life.  When he started to talk, we played dumb, not understanding what he was saying until he took out the pacifier to speak.  When he was two and half, I wouldn’t let him have it until he was going to sleep.  I had read somewhere that as long as the child only used it at sleeping times, the pacifier could be left to the last habit to break, after the bottle weaning, after potty training, and after we got the little sneak to sleep in his bed all night. 

Seeing that Evan had only recently started sleeping in his bed all night for the last week and half, I wasn’t going to push the pacifier issue for another month or two.  But then last week, he told us the Binkie Fairy was coming.  We jumped on it, encouraging it every day.

Who is the Binkie Fairy?  Why, she’s the cousin to the Tooth Fairy.  The Binkie Fairy comes and takes binkies from big girls and boys, who don’t need them any more, and gives them to little babies who need them.

I settled on this myth months ago, mentioning it every now and again to Evan.  I almost did it in December, but I reread that article about pacifier usage in older toddlers.  I didn’t like the idea of tying a pacifier to a balloon because I worried about the trash laying somewhere or some animal choking on the dead balloon.  The thought of letting Evan hand his spit-covered pacifier to someone at the toy store made me cringe for that unlucky cashier.  One friend told me she just cut the ends of the pacifiers and her daughter tossed the broken ones, but we have another little guy with pacifiers that Evan would just gravitate to.  Yup, it had to be partially Evan’s idea.

For three nights, we reminded Evan of the Binkie Fairy.  Evan was convinced was getting another robot to go with the one he got for sleeping all night in his bed.  He told us all about this robot and how he was a big boy now.

So on the big day, I rushed over to Toys ‘R’ Us and got him another robot.  I reminded him at naptime that it was the last time he would have his binkie.  That night I had Evan decorate a bag with stickers to put outside his room with his binkie.  When he was asleep, I threw out the binkies in the big trashcan and stuffed the bag with the robot toy and lots of shredded tissue paper.

The next morning, Evan woke up groggy and came out to watch cartoons with Sean and me.  I reminded Evan of the Binkie Fairy.  I grabbed my camera and hopped over the stumbling Evan.  I snapped pictures as Evan pulled out gobs and gobs of tissue paper.  Sean started to throw it around, but who cares when there’s magic in the air.  Then Evan found the robot and was overjoyed showing his equally groggy Daddy.  Hurray!

Then naptime came. And Evan did not sleep. Instead, he called for me every fifteen minute. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy! Mama! Moooommmmm-mmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyy! Until I came to find out why he was calling me. I need some water. I need some books. I need more books. I have too many books. Can I get out now? Can I be done now? Is naptime over? Where are my toys? SSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhh! For two hours! Until Sean was awoken by the commotion. Until I was ready to pull my hair out!

Because Evan still needed the nap, around six o’clock, he became grumpy, difficult, a pain in the rear.  That night it took an hour to get him to sleep with much the same procedures as naptime, only he added hunger pains because he decided to go on a hunger strike.  Awesome.  If you would only eat!

Then the naptime and next bedtime were much the same.  By Saturday night, I was ready to kill something, anything.  I never knew how important their naptime was to my sanity.  I was at my wits end.  I think I even had a tick.

Sunday was the day of Sean’s birthday party, which was being thrown at my parents’ house because it is so much larger than the tiny hut we have now.  Since the party was in the afternoon and that I felt bad for throwing it at someone else’s house, I went early to help clean.  Because we were there early, the boys napped at my parents’ house.  Since the beloved Papi was there, Evan demanded story time from Papi.  Being that Papi has twenty-five more years of parenting experience than I do, he put Evan in a different room from Sean, placing a fan to blow into Evan’s face, forcing Evan’s eyes to close as Papi read him a story.  The Papi kissed him and told Evan that he needed to get some rest before the party.

“Ok, Papi.  I think I’ll dream about noodles,” Evan said before he slipped into sleep.

Since then peace has been restored.  And Evan does not talk about the binkie.  Now he talks about the Tooth Fairy coming next week.

Nothing like the smell of magic in the morning

Nothing like the smell of magic in the morning

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