You Can’t Shoot the Toy Fairy

David de Rothschild, eco-adventurer and heir to banking fortune, has not shown up.

The toy fairy came to our house for the very first time this week. Her arrival has been threatened before, but she had never alighted on our doorstep. I invoke her name when I have asked several times for the floor to be cleared of dinosaurs, books, trains, stuffies, colanders, whisks, and everything else that collects on the living room and kitchen floors until I feel like I am living in the Pacific Trash Vortex except David de Rothschild is not going to come save me in a boat made of plastic bottles.

It’s the toy fairy’s job. To save me. But not in a bottle boat. She flies.

The toy fairy collects toys from the floors of children who do not care enough to put them away properly and redistributes them to children who will. This is the part that seems to motivate Mbot. Not that his Buzz Lightyear with the karate kick button will be taken away into the nebulous ether, but that it will be given to another little boy. This is something concrete, that he can imagine, and predates by thirteen or so years the heartbreak that will inevitably be caused by a girl who dumps him for another guy.

There are, of course, endless questions: Is the toy fairy little? (Yes.) Is she strong? (Yes.) Can she find toys hidden under sofa cushions? (Yes.) And she’s got connections. She’s on close terms, for example, with Santa Claus.

This week, the perfect storm of hormones and hurry and selective deafness and dawdling occurred, and I finally gathered up a small bag of Legos and blocks that would never be missed, and dropped it outside the front door for our winged visitor. It was a dreadful moment. I hated it. The toy fairy had always been imaginary. Hovering just beyond the rooftops, the bells on her wings not yet audible. Now, she was here: a creature invoked out of my own power was biting me on my clever Mommy ass.

“When I’m a big boy, I’ll shoot that toy fairy!” cried Mbot.

“You can’t shoot her,” I replied. “And besides, she’d tell Santa.”

But at that moment, I wanted to shoot her, too.

Have you been so clever, lately,  that it hurt?

*picture of David de Rothschild from

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