Several friends have children younger than mine - grade schoolers, mostly - and are currently confronting, for the first time, the fact that their children no longer believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. This is a difficult time for parents, as it heralds the end of a period of magical innocence. They lament the loss of the fantasy that magical creatures live among us and make miraculous things happen, seemingly without effort.
Fear not. I have gone through this period and come out in one piece on the other side, and I have a solution for you. It is my pleasure to introduce your older offspring to a solution that works for them. It is a continuation, if you will, of the active fantasy life so essential to their healthy development.
Fairies, elves, and fictional creatures they can continue to believe in.
1. The Laundry Fairy
To prepare for her arrival, cover the floor of your bedroom with damp used towels, dirty underwear, mismatched socks, and other sundry items that need to be washed. If you have nothing dirty to offer her, that's okay; just throw clean clothing and bedding haphazardly on the floor. She'll be unable to distinguish it from things that genuinely need to be washed.
Then simply go to school, or work, or your sports practice, or whatever it is you do all day that requires you to take six showers, using a clean towel each time.
When you return - wonder of wonders - all the dirty stuff is washed, dried, folded, and placed neatly back in your room! And you barely lifted a finger!
2. The Toilet Paper Elf
This one is my favorite. He lives in the basement, wearing a cute little tissue paper hat, and waits for you to use the last of the toilet paper on the roll. Then, just in time for the family's return from the lunch rush at Chipotle, he dashes upstairs to the bathroom, bearing rolls of toilet paper to replace the ones you left empty. He installs them neatly on the dispensers for your use.
Sometimes he brings extra rolls from the storage closet and puts them in the bathroom cabinet, so they're handy if you run out and find yourself in an awkward situation. But don't feel obligated to replace the empty rolls, even if doing so would take minimal effort. Believe in the Elf, and he will continue to serve your needs!
3. The Dish Bunny
We've all been there. You have just finished making yourself a midnight snack of microwaved something-or-other that you found in the refrigerator while your mom was sleeping. Or maybe you have made a big bowl of popcorn in that popper with the hand-washable-only plastic lid. Or maybe you made yourself a healthy breakfast before dashing out the door to school in the morning.
You would have put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, but the dishwasher was full - of clean dishes. Who has time to deal with that? Or with the annoying reality that some things need to be washed by hand?
Never fear! The Dish Bunny will do it! After you leave the house, or before you rise in the morning, she hops on into the kitchen and cleans up the mess. She unloads the clean dishes and puts them away, reloads the dishwasher and turns it on, washes the popcorn popper, scrapes the melted cheese off the inside of the microwave, and wipes the splattered gunk from the counter. You don't even need to share your food or leave her a snack, the way you do for Santa or the Easter Bunny. That stuff makes her fat anyway. She'd much prefer to clean up after a meal she hasn't had the pleasure of eating - wouldn't you?
4. The Light Bulb Pixie
You flip the switch, and the light bulb gives a sad little buzz and a flash, and then it goes dark. You know where the illumination comes from: a box of replacement bulbs in a nearby cabinet. But don't waste your energy to fetch a bulb or climb up on a stepladder. That's the Light Bulb Pixie's job!
She comes along when no one else is home, usually late at night, equipped with magic sparkly dust that allows her to avoid tripping over the shoes, books, and sports equipment you left on the hallway floor. She works her miracles silently, installing environmentally-friendly CFL bulbs all over the house and disposing properly of the burned-out ones.
No one else in the house needs to risk breaking his neck in the darkness if he believes in the Light Bulb Pixie!
5. The Cash Leprechaun
This handy little guy comes up with money (presumably from an unlimited pot of gold stored somewhere near the horizon) whenever your earnest little teenaged heart desires it. School fundraiser? No problem! Feel free to order several hundred frozen cheesecakes - the Cash Leprechaun will just throw the money into an envelope on the date it's due! No questions asked!
What about all those iTunes songs you need to buy? The last-minute check needed for a school field trip, prom tickets, lunch or ice cream with the friends, gas for the car? No problem. The Cash Leprechaun has you covered. One hundred per cent. Face it, you deserve it because of your steadfast faith in miracles.
I have never actually seen the Cash Leprechaun. He seems to work his magic only for teenagers and college students. Just about everyone else has to work to support their material whims and fundraising goals. But if you happen to see an extra Leprechaun floating around your house, could you send him my way?
I believe, I swear. I really, truly do.