While Iâ€™m on vacation until Aug. 9, Iâ€™m featuring several guest bloggers. Today’s post is from Stacy of Mama-Om.
Saved by the Fire Fairy
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.
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 -â€“ letâ€™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. Weâ€™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.