Guest post: Saved by the Fire Fairy

While I’m on vacation until Aug. 9, I’m featuring several guest bloggers. Today’s post is from Stacy of Mama-Om.

Saved by the Fire Fairy
by Stacy
Originally published on Mama-Om.

The other day I was talking to a friend about her young daughter’s Waldorf-inspired daycare. Each day for their lunch, they light a candle and eat together. The candle flame is a “fire fairy.”

For the last month or so, our family has been having a candle at our evening meal. My son Orlando (four and a half) always wants to blow out the candle, often before we are finished eating.

I have struggled, almost daily, since the birth of my second child, to remain patient and compassionate with my kids; to parent in the way I believe.

And here I am, being impatient, uncompassionate, and definitely not peaceful.


“I wanna blow it out!”

“No! We’re still eating.”

All the while he is trying to lean closer and I am moving the candle away. I am saying NO. NO. NO.

Everything about me is saying NO, and not in that firm no-nonsense way of a mother that usually, as a result of its own clarity, gets an immediate response.

It is NO in a desperate attempt to revert to the past or some ideal time when no child of mine would try to blow out a candle before dinner is done.

Really smart.

And so not effective.

The more I say NO in this clenching rather than clear way, the more crazy he gets to blow it out. We are literally fighting over fire.

Then I start feeling sorry for myself: Why is everything such a struggle? An immediate battle?


Because I make it that way?

Suddenly, inspiration strikes.

“But if we blow out the candle now, the fire fairy won’t have time to get back home!”

“The fire fairy?”

“Yes,” I say, and I look my child in the eye. “The fire fairy is in the flame -– let’s have her stay with us a bit longer.”

His eyes are wide. His face is solemn. “The fire fairy is inside the flame?”

“Yes,” I say. “Yes.” Then I pause. “Will you wait and blow out the candle when we are done eating?”


And just like that, we are no longer fighting. We’ve gone from No to Yes.

Orlando sits back down. We continue eating, and stay at the table for a long time.

I feed him bite after bite. He leans against me (he scoots his chair as close as possible to my chair during meals, which I have lately been responding to with stress, yet tonight I am grateful for this mellow closeness). We are as relaxed as if we were sitting in front of a roaring fireplace.

Finally, it is time for the fire fairy to fly away home. Orlando and I blow out the flame.

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Stacy is the mama behind Mama-Om, where she writes quirky, vibrant, honest and insightful posts about (trying to) parent peacefully.

6 thoughts on “Guest post: Saved by the Fire Fairy”

  1. I have felt the same way (saying NO all the time) and my daughter’s only one! Finding a bit of patience has never been harder than when I am trying to parent my child–even though I want so badly to be that perfect patient mother!

    I’m hoping that reasoning with her will work soon, because she’s a little young for that now.

  2. Hi Jenny,
    I enjoyed your guest post this week about no shampoo! (I went shampoo-less for about a year last year and it was great for me.)

    When my kids were one, I tried to create as much of a “yes” environment as possible, physically showing him what I meant (so, if I were to say, “Oh, let’s not hit Mama,” I would gently hold his arm from hitting), and demonstrate what behavior I wanted instead (high five!).

    Kids are all about learning about their world, which is why they repeat experiences. So, sure thing, he would keep trying to hit (this was not hitting in anger at this age). I didn’t think of this as testing me as much as he was simply testing the world…

    A totally life-saving resource for me at the time was the Positive Parenting-Positive Discipline Yahoo Group:

    I also began reading a ton of positive parenting books… Some good ones to start with (imo) are:

    How to Talk So Kids Will and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Faber and Mazlish

    Kids Are Worth It, Barbara Coloroso

    Playful Parenting, Lawrence J. Cohen

    Your One-Year-Old, Ames and Ilg (not nec. for discipline advice but to better understand baby’s development phases and tendencies)

    Also, I think the AP website now has forums for gentle discipline.

    Phew…. hope that helps! You will find your way, I know.

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