One night not too long ago, Annika and I were lying in bed. I was waiting for her to drift off when I noticed that the metal chain on the ceiling fan was catching a tiny bit of light from the outside every few seconds as it twirled.
I immediately had a GREAT idea.
(You should probably keep in mind here that I had, at this point, Annika had not been introduced to fairies in any stories.)
“Annika look,” I whispered conspiratorially.
Surprised, she opened her eyes.
“What mama?” she whispered, sounding a bit worried.
“It’s a fairy,” I murmured.
Swish. Swish. Swish. Around and around the tiny dot of light glanced at us every few seconds. I thought it seemed magical.
And at first, it seemed, so did she. She squeaked in delight as we watched out little dot of magic hovering over our bed.
The next day we set up a fairy house on the floor in the bottom of the closet.
We made twig and leaf soup for the fairies, gathering items from our “garden” near the front door.
We set up some doll furniture and Annika made the fairies a bed out of two of her baby blankets.
When she wasn’t looking, I’d remove some of the “soup” and wait for her to notice that the fairies had eaten it.
The fun lasted for a few weeks.
Then one night, the light showed up again.
“Mama, I’m scared,” she whispered upon noticing that our fairy was back again.
“Why?” I asked. “Fairies are magical. They will keep us safe.”
“I’m afraid the fairies will bite me while I’m sleeping.”
Ah, fuck, I thought. There’s no coming back from this. I mean, fairies are magic. They can do whatever the hell they want to. I can’t stop them from turning on us in our sleep.
It got worse when I tried to make a comeback.
“The fairies are good. They sprinkle fairy dust on us to help us become sleepy.”
This was during high allergy season.
“Mama, I’m ALLERGIC to fairy dust!” In between sneezes.
Damn, my timing was off on that one.
The fears of being bitten went on for a while. One night, I was annoyed by the continued insistence that she would be bitten in her sleep.
“Annika, I’m going to level with you. Fairies aren’t real.”
“Yes they are mama. I can SEE them on the ceiling.”
She had me there.
“Okay, I’m going to tell them to leave. ‘Fairies, we don’t want you here anymore,'” I proclaimed.
The next day.
“Mama, they’re still here! The fairy house door is opened!”
Part of me was starting to think she was just screwing with me.
To be honest, I still haven’t come up with a solution. The fairy house is still in the closet, but the real estate is getting squeezed out by some stored items. Annika still mentions the fairies occasionally, but she’s no longer worried they will bite her in her sleep. Now, she just blames missing items on the fairies. When can’t find something her solution is, “Maybe the fairies stole it!”