I'm So Over Making My Kid's Childhood 'Magical'

little girl butterfly wings
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My wife bought our daughter a fairy door for her seventh birthday, and I was all right with the gift. I really was. I want my daughter to have a magical childhood. I even want it to be filled with wonder and amazement. The problem is that I don't want to have much to do with the process.

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I'm a stay-at-home dad, and I do quite a bit on a day-to-day basis to make my daughter's life magical. I magically clean her clothes. I magically clean the toilet. I even magically cook meals she doesn't want to eat. I'm a fucking domestic magician, and the last thing I need is another project to make my daughter's life more magical -- which brings me to fairies.

My daughter already has a tooth fairy and an Elf on the Shelf, which isn't technically a fairy but from a parent's standpoint is pretty much the same thing. Whether you call them elves or fairies isn't the point; the point is that we have enough of them. It's also a point I didn't consider before my wife bought our daughter a fairy door, but I'm not a bright man. Many of my daughter's friends have fairy doors, and ever since she discovered them, she's been asking for one, and well, I agreed. After all, I figured, what's the worst that could happen?

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The answer to that question became apparent a few minutes after my daughter opened her gift. The fairy door is not a turn-key sort of gift. It's not something your child opens and can immediately play with, like a bottle of bourbon or a puppy. In addition to the door itself, there are three little bottles of glitter, a lengthy agreement with fairy "house rules" for all family members to sign, and a deceptively small book with many, many pages that details the story of the fairy. There's also another bottle -- though not the kind I hoped for -- and within it is a very, very tiny key for the fairy to use to open the door (or for the child's parents to lose as soon as it comes out of the bottle).

The glitter was quickly used to decorate the door as well as half of our living room. The key was promptly lost. The agreement was signed by my daughter, myself, and my wife. To be honest, I'm still not sure what the terms were. I have a history of signing documents without reading them but I'm pretty certain the fairy "rules" weren't legally binding.

The book was dutifully read by my wife as I went shopping for an industrial strength adhesive to weld the fairy door to a wall or mirror or maybe even a limb. And while I was shopping, it occurred to me that I'd made a huge mistake.

I can handle the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy is easy. I just give her a few bucks, and she goes home in the morning. I can even handle the Elf on the Shelf, though it's a different animal altogether. Up until a few years ago I'd never had an Elf on the Shelf, but they're a lot of work. For 25 straight days my wife and I struggle every year to place the damn thing in new locations with a small present or a touching message for our daughter.

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Sometimes I have fun with it. Our daughter's Elf crapped Tootsie Rolls into a toilet and passed out amidst a six-pack and a bottle of pills. That, however, was about as much inspiration as I could muster. My creative decline coincided nicely with my wife's decision that I shouldn't have anything to do with the Elf on the Shelf ever again.

Now we have a fairy door. More importantly, we have a fairy named Diamond on the other side of the door -- essentially an Elf on the Shelf in perpetuity for 365 days a year. My wife went out and bought some crafts and small gifts to have Diamond give to our daughter. For my part, I've already come up with excuses as to why the newest addition to our fairy family won't be answering my daughter's letters on a regular basis:

"Sorry, honey, your fairy had too much pixie dust and she's not allowed to fly right now."

"I just read in the paper that there were massive layoffs at fairy headquarters. Let's just pray and hope for the best that your fairy survived the first round of cuts."

"Honey, I'm sorry. Your fairy must have stepped out for cigarettes. I'm sure she'll be back when you've made something of yourself."

I could go on, but I won't. I don't have the time. Instead, I'll be thinking of a few hundred ways to make my daughter's life magical for the next few years -- at least until she loses her belief in fairies or elves and learns to live a life of tedium like the rest of us.

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