When my first-born was about 3 years-old his toys began to overflow into all parts of our home and he began to develop a bad habit of leaving them wherever he had last played with them. I was so tired of asking him to pick them up and then picking them up myself after about the millionth time.
I happened upon an article in a parenting magazine of a fellow mom who brilliantly created the Pick-up Fairy. The Pick-up Fairy is sorta like a twist on the Tooth Fairy. She comes when the children are sleeping and she takes something. However, the only thing she leaves behind is a clean floor and a distraught child.
Before I even tried it, I wanted to kiss the woman who came up with this idea. I just knew it was going to work wonderfully on my little rule-abiding, C-personality child. The next evening as bedtime was approaching, I informed my little angel that there was something that I needed to warn him about so that he could make sure that his toys were all in safe-keeping. I told him about the Pick-up Fairy and suggested that tonight he should be sure to pick everything up so that he wouldn’t lose his toys to her. He did a great job! He did a great job for about 2 weeks.
On one particular evening as I was asking him to clean up, he asked me, “Why? Is that truck guy gonna get my toys?”. I was a little confused. I asked him what he was talking about and he answered, “You know. That truck guy that takes kid’s toys if they don’t put them away at night.” Then it dawned on me that he was talking about the “Pick-up Fairy”. In his little mind, the Pick-up Fairy was a male and since we always call John’s truck a pick-up, he interchanged the words. I love to hear the things he comes up with-it makes me smile!
And, two years later, he still believes in the Pick-up Fairy. Last night he was playing with some hot wheels and I told him to just leave them on the bar because it was late and I knew he would play with them the next morning. He turned and asked me, “Will the Pick-up Fairy get them?” I told him no and that I would ask her not to this time. He looked at me with such gratitude in his eyes and said, “Thank you, Mommy. That is so nice of you.” Yep. So nice of me.