The Soother Fairy. He (sometimes she) sneaks into the rooms of unsuspecting toddlers while they’re at preschool, daycare, or maybe Grandma’s house, total unbeknownst the tragedy about to befall them. The tragedy of course being the theft of every soother in the house in exchange for a pile of extravagant, guilt-driven gifts and sugary treats. It’s sad yes. But the Soother Fairy isn’t without good reason.
He/She must distribute the soothers collected from big boys and girls to all the little babies who are in desperate need of their fix. If not from the Soother Fairy, than from who? And if not at the exact moment that mom and dad were starting to get worried about the onset of early addiction… when?
You’ve not heard of the Soother Fairy? That’s because I made him up. The concept occurred to me as the only possible way out of a screaming match that I was sure to lose. Our daughter has been something of a “delicate” sleeper (that’s putting it lightly) since the minute she escaped the womb, so despite our best convictions (after hours and hours… and hours of crying) that baby got plugged. It sort of worked sometimes, and then she got older and it sort of worked a little more often.
Before long, she was asking for her “soo soo” when sleeping, when napping, while sitting in the car and then eventually while watching TV and lying on the couch. If she wasn’t eating, she was sucking, chomping, and gnawing at her soother every minute of every day. Eventually we got her down to taking the crack-o-pop in the car and at bed time, but after her bacteria laden morning breath made me want to gag, I decided it was time to go.
Hello Fairy! Goodbye Soother
I didn’t jump straight to mythical creatures before considering the rest of my options. My first thought was “cold turkey”, but when I considered the ramifications – which would be night after night of ear-piercing screaming – I re-considered rather quickly. My second go-to was to cut the soothers, ergo (in theory) rendering them useless. The problem with this approach was the fact that my daughter had been chomping on damaged soothers for months. And I kept replacing them because I was the sucker (pun intended) who couldn’t handle the thought of another sleepless night.
The challenge was coming up with something that would circumvent the wise-beyond-her-years 2 year old I was trying to con. I knew she could out-scream me, but I thought maybe I could use the logic she inherited from her father to my advantage. Enter, the Soother Fairy.
I explained to my toddler that the Soother Fairy takes away soothers from big girls and boys and redistributes them to babies who really need them. Makes sense, right? I got a couple questions and a grunt here and there but it wasn’t until the day before it was scheduled to happen that my daughter really started paying attention. When she went to bed that night, I reminded her that the Soother Fairy was coming the next day and that he was going to leave her presents while she was at school, and take her soothers to give to all the crying babies. She seemed to get it. She repeated it, acknowledged it, and went to bed looking forward to all the gifts she was about to receive. In the morning, she took off to school with a bounce in her step, exclaiming “The Soother Fairy is coming! The Soother Fairy is coming!”.
I picked her up from school the next day and the moment she entered the house, she burst upstairs to see what the Soother Fairy had left for her. She struck gold. She got a couple of books, a new teapot for the bathtub, a barrel of monkeys, a chocolate egg and a birthday cake flavoured cupcake sitting on her pillow. She was thrilled, until she realized that the bounty was making up for something she coveted even more – her soother.
The ecstasy of finding presents and sugary goodness waiting for her after school was soon overshadowed by the fact that the Soother Fairy had broken into her room and stolen her most precious possession. Make that plural. There were 3 – and then there were none. When bed time rolled around, she started asking the Soother Fairy to bring back her soothers. When we told her that the Soother Fairy was at her friends’ houses, currently taking their soothers to add to the pile. She insisted we go and search for the Soother Fairy. So, we ran around calling its name. She got out of bed and searched the entire upper floor for said Robin Hood of newborn babes. When that didn’t work, she suggested that the monster, and not the Soother Fairy, had burgled her and started talking over my shoulder to the monster in the corner of the room (creepy as hell) telling him (her?) to hand over the soother.
Finally we agreed that mommy would go look for the Soother Fairy while my daughter went to sleep, but not until she stared me directly in the eyes and said: “GIVE. ME. MY. SOOTHER BACK!” It took everything in me not to die laughing as this poor child negotiated for the return of her drool covered comforter. As funny as it was, when she went to bed obviously upset, I felt pretty crumby, pretty fast.
We looked for the Soother Fairy every night that week, but he/she never returned. Two weeks later, she finally accepted that all hope was lost. Months later we’re still soother free and she’s decided to torment us instead with bedtime shenanigans in the form of pleas for milk, trips to the potty, blanket coverage and stuffed animal positioning. We also endure never-ending hugs and kisses, the singing of songs and two minutes spent snuggling in the tiniest bed known to man. Sigh… it’s tough, cuddling with the cutest being on earth, but it’s all part of the job.